Sebastian Cruz - Sporting KC U-19s vs. Colorado Rapids U-19s
Diane Scavuzzo

Sporting KC U-19s make winning start to Development Academy season

The Sporting Kansas City U-19s opened the 2018-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids U-19s on Sunday at Children's Mercy Victory Field inside Swope Soccer Village.

The U-19s were one of three academy sides to kick off the new campaign on Sunday in Kansas City, as the U-15s and U-17s took losses in the first two games of a tripleheader against the Rapids.

Guided by head coach Rumbani Munthali, the U-19s started brightly on Sunday as U.S. U-20 international Tyler Freeman and GyuWon Chong both went close to scoring within the first 20 minutes. The deserved breakthrough would come just shy of the half-hour mark when midfielder Sebastian Cruz raced onto a long ball from Freeman, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home to give his team its first goal of the new season.

Enzo Mauriz nearly doubled Sporting KC's lead shortly before halftime with an audacious chip shot from distance, but the hosts would have to wait until the 57th minute for their second goal. Johnny Hansen blazed down the left wing and swung in a low cross that forward Abdu Kikhia finished cooly from point-blank range to make the score 2-0. Cruz and Kikhia were denied in their bids for a brace, with the former skimming the crossbar and the latter having a thunderous shot saved in the late stages.

Earlier in the day, the Sporting KC U-17s fell 2-0 on a pair of first-half Colorado goals scored by Mario Ramirez and Jason Robles. The first match of the tripleheader saw the Sporting KC U-15s take a 3-1 loss, conceding three straight goals after Rokas Pukstas gave the hosts a halftime lead on an assist from U.S. youth international Osvaldo Cisneros.

Up Next: Tripleheader vs. FC Dallas at Swope

The Sporting KC Academy returns to Swope Soccer Village this Saturday for a tripleheader with FC Dallas, one of the best academy sides in the country. The U-15s will kick off at 10 a.m. CT, followed by the U-17s at noon and the U-19s at 2 p.m. All three matches are free and open to the public to attend. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates on Saturday and throughout the season.

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