Sporting Kansas City came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup on Wednesday, remaining unbeaten through four games in the 2018 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy.
New York grabbed an early lead through Bradley Wright-Phillips’ deflected strike, but a superb volley from 19-year-old midfielder Felipe Hernandez gave Sporting KC a share of the spoils in a rain-soaked affair at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona.
Wednesday’s Mobile Mini Sun Cup opener saw freshly minted Designated Player Felipe Gutierrez and newly acquired defender Emiliano Amor make their Sporting KC preseason debuts in the first and second halves, respectively. Manager Peter Vermes gave 45-minute runouts to two separate squads of 11 players in a rematch of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.
The game’s first chance fell to Sporting KC Frenchman Yohan Croizet, whose left-footed curler was parried away by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles in the sixth minute. New York broke through less than 10 minutes later when Sporting KC was unable to repel an in-swinging corner kick. Wright-Phillips seized the loose ball, swiveled near the penalty spot and sent a low drive through traffic that took multiple deflections before nestling into the right corner of the net.
Khiry Shelton almost conjured a quick equalizer, only to be thwarted on a breakaway by the sprawling Robles. Croizet tried his luck on two more occasions before the break, but defender Kemar Lawrence slid to block one while Robles saved the other. At the opposite end, Wright-Phillips threatened once more with a volley that narrowly missed the mark.
Sporting KC’s wholesale halftime included the introduction of Gerso, who nearly pulled his side level in the 58th minute with a well-hit, 25-yard free kick that rattled Robles’ left-hand post.
A delicately poised match was restored to parity in the 77th minute when the Red Bulls failed to clear their lines off Gianluca Busio’s high-arching corner kick. Hernandez, a Sporting KC Academy product who featured regularly for the Swope Park Rangers in 2017, was stationed at the top of the box to send a blistering volley past Robles and just inside the near post. In doings so, he became the eighth different player to score a goal during Sporting KC’s preseason campaign.
Vermes’ men will continue Mobile Mini Sun Cup competition on Saturday, traveling north to face Phoenix Rising FC in Tempe, Arizona. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CT with live updates available via Twitter at @SportingKC and @SKCMatchday.
2018 Preseason presented by Children’s Mercy
Mobile Mini Sun Cup | Game 1 of 4
Kino Sports Complex | Tucson, Arizona
Weather: 55 degrees and rainy
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Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia (Adrian Zendejas 46); Jaylin Lindsey (Colton Storm 46), Ike Opara (Amer Didic 46), Matt Besler (Emiliano Amor 46), Cristian Lobato (Seth Sinovic 46); Roger Espinoza (Felipe Hernandez 46), Ilie (Kuzain 46), Felipe Gutierrez (Gianluca Busio 46); Yohan Croizet (Gerso 46), Khiry Shelton (Diego Rubio 46), Daniel Salloi (Kharlton Belmar 46)
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles; Michael Murillo, Aurelien Collin, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence; Tyler Adams, Marc Rzatkowski (Amando Moreno 77), Derrick Etienne Jr., Sean Davis, Daniel Royer; Bradley Wright-Phillips
NY – Bradley Wright-Phillips (Daniel Royer) 15
SKC – Felipe Hernandez (unassisted) 77