Preseason Preview: Sporting KC visits Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday

Sporting Kansas City at Phoenix Rising FC
2018 Preseason presented by Children's Mercy
Mobile Mini Sun Cup | Saturday, Feb. 17 | 4 p.m. CT
Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex | Tempe, Arizona
Live Stream: Phoenix Rising FC Facebook

Adventures in Arizona continue Saturday when Sporting Kansas City travels from Tucson to Tempe to face Phoenix Rising FC in the club's fifth game of the 2018 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy.

The Mobile Mini Sun Cup clash will kick off at 4 p.m. CT inside Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex, streaming live on the Phoenix Rising FC Facebook page with additional live updates available via Twitter at @SportingKC and @SKCMatchday.

Sporting Kansas City opened the Mobile Mini Sun Cup preseason tournament with a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, erasing an early deficit behind 19-year-old Felipe Hernandez's sweetly struck volley in the 77th minute at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson. The Swope Park Rangers midfielder became the eighth different player to score a preseason goal for Sporting KC, which boasts a 3-0-1 exhibition record this winter.

Founded in 2014 as Arizona United SC, Phoenix Rising FC is coming off a successful 2017 USL campaign that ended with a playoff loss to the Swope Park Rangers. In their first year as the rebranded Rising FC, head coach Patrice Carteron’s side posted a 17-7-8 regular-season record before falling to SPR in a penalty shootout at Children’s Mercy Victory Field last October. African soccer legend Didier Drogba is the centerpiece of an experienced roster that also includes ex-England international Shaun Wright-Phillips and former MLS veteran Jordan Stewart.

With the 2018 MLS curtain raiser at Children's Mercy Park just a fortnight away, Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes could give extended playing time to prospective starters on Saturday afternoon. The 10th-year head coach gave 45-minute run-outs to two separate squads of 11 players on Wednesday, and with the addition of newly signed Scottish winger Johnny Russell, another attacking player could be poised for his Sporting KC preseason debut.

Following this weekend's duel with Rising FC, Sporting KC will return to Kino Sports Complex for the team's last two Mobile Mini Sun Cup matches. Vermes' side will meet the New England Revolution at noon CT Wednesday before closing out the tournament with a placement game next Saturday, Feb. 24. Both of those matchups will stream live on and Sporting KC's Facebook page.

Sporting KC 2018 Preseason Schedule

Saturday, Jan. 27 Phoenix Rising FC trialists W 2-1 Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Scottsdale, AZ
Wednesday, Jan. 31 Sporting Arizona W 4-0 Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Scottsdale, AZ
Saturday, Feb. 3 Colorado Rapids W 2-0 Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Scottsdale, AZ
Wednesday, Feb. 14 New York Red Bulls T 1-1 Kino Sports Complex
Tucson, AZ
Saturday, Feb. 17 Phoenix Rising FC (tickets) 4pm Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Scottsdale, AZ
Wednesday, Feb. 21 New England Revolution 12pm Kino Sports Complex
Tucson, AZ
Saturday, Feb. 24 TBD (tickets) TBD Kino Sports Complex
Tucson, AZ