Academy products shine in Sporting KC’s preseason triumph

For the second time in five days, a slew of Sporting Kansas City Academy products featured prominently in a convincing win for the first team.

Sporting KC rolled to a 7-0 victory over Phoenix Rising FC Trialists on Wednesday in Tempe, Arizona, taking another solid step forward during the 2019 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy.

The wire-to-wire performance saw 10 Academy players past and present take the field, equaling the total from last Friday’s 4-0 triumph against Sporting Arizona FC. The youthful Academy contingent—all 10 players are under 23—was especially prolific on Wednesday, accounting for four goals and two assists at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex.

The Academy members did their collective damage after Sporting KC took a 2-0 lead through 45 minutes, receiving goals from Krisztian Nemeth and Kelyn Rowe. Daniel Salloi, the club’s leading scorer from a year ago and the oldest of the Academy representatives at age 22, slotted home in the 57th minute to log his first preseason goal. Half an hour later, 16-year-old Academy alum Gianluca Busio assisted Seth Sinovic’s strike as Sporting’s advantage bulged to 4-0.

Wednesday’s scrimmage lasted 120 minutes, with two 45-minute periods followed by a 30-minute session. A fresh crop of Academy talent took the field at or near the 90-minute mark, including 16-year-old Tyler Freeman, Swope Park Rangers forward Wilson Harris (pictured top) and current Academy standouts Jake Davis and Brooks Thompson.

Harris made an instant and emphatic impact, scoring twice in two minutes to extend the lead to 6-0. With 94 minutes on the clock, and shortly after assisting Harris' first tally, Freeman found the back of the net to round out the goal fest.

With Rangers midfielder Felipe Hernandez scoring in last week’s win over Sporting Arizona FC, Academy products have now scored or assisted on seven of Sporting’s 11 preseason goals.

Below is a statistical breakdown for the 11 total Academy players past and present who have seen preseason playing time.

Sporting KC Academy products at 2019 Preseason

Player (age) Team Games Minutes Goals Assists
M Gianluca Busio (16) Sporting KC 2 75 0 1
F Tyler Freeman (16) Sporting KC 2 64 1 1
D Jaylin Lindsey (18) Sporting KC 2 75 0 0
F Daniel Salloi (22) Sporting KC 2 71 1 0
M Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (20) Sporting KC 2 75 0 0
M Felipe Hernandez (20) Rangers 2 60 1 0
F Wilson Harris (19) Rangers 2 90 2 0
D Will Little (20) Rangers 2 60 0 0
M Jake Davis (17) Academy 2 60 0 0
D Mo Abualnadi (17) Academy 1 30 0 0
GK Brooks Thompson (16) Academy 1 15 0 0

Sporting will conclude the first leg of their 2019 preseason next Wednesday, Jan. 30, with a friendly against FC Tucson Trialists. Kickoff is slated for noon CT at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex and live updates will be available via @SKCmatchday on Twitter.

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