Preview: Sporting opens Visit Tucson Sun Cup vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday

Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake
2020 Preseason presented by Children's Mercy
Saturday, Feb. 15 | 5 p.m. CT
Kino North Stadium | Tucson, Arizona
Live Stream: SportingKC.com (in KC area)

With three exhibition matches in the rearview mirror, Sporting Kansas City will now launch into the three-game Visit Tucson Sun Cup to close out the 2020 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy. The tournament will kick off Saturday at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona, featuring a Western Conference rivalry bout as Sporting meets Real Salt Lake at 5 p.m. CT.

For viewers in the Kansas City area, Saturday's contest will stream live on SportingKC.com with commentary from Sporting Kansas City play-by-play announcer Nate Bukaty and color analyst Jacob Peterson, who played for Sporting from 2012-2016 and enters 2020 as a fresh face on the FOX Sports Kansas City broadcast team. For supporters traveling to Tucson, match tickets are available to purchase at FCTucson.com.

Sporting opened the preseason with consecutive 4-0 wins over a team of Rising FC trialists and FC Cincinnati before falling to Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday. Sporting KC Academy products Harris, Daniel Salloi and Gianluca Busio all scored two preseason goals this winter, while veterans Roger Espinoza and Johnny Russell have also found the back of the net.

Sporting's current preseason squad consists of 31 players, with 24 members of the first team joined by five Sporting KC II players and two Sporting KC Academy standouts. The Sporting KC II contingent includes Harris, goalkeepers John Pulskamp and Brooks Thompson, and center backs Kaveh Rad and Camden Riley. Academy midfielders Jake Davis and Tucker Lepley have also made the trip after training with the first team last month.

Saturday's matchup will serve as a precursor to two regular season fixtures between Sporting and Real Salt Lake, longtime foes who famously met in the 2013 MLS Cup at Children's Mercy Park. Manager Peter Vermes' men prevailed on home soil in a game that set the stage for a rivalry that simmered for the rest of the decade. Sporting will host Real Salt Lake in their second home tilt of the season on March 28 before paying RSL a visit on July 1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Led by second-year manager Freddy Juarez, Real Salt Lake finished third in the West and defeated the Portland Timbers in the opening round of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs before losing to eventual champion Seattle Sounders FC. The club has seen several notable players leave during the offseason, including youngsters Jefferson Savarino, Sebastian Saucedo and Brooks Lennon as well as legendary goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who retired after 20 MLS seasons. In turn, RSL has acquired veteran midfielder Justin Meram and Young Designated Player Jeizon Ramirez, an 18-year-old Venezuelan slated to make his MLS debut in the coming weeks.

Sporting KC 2020 Preseason Schedule

Date Opponent Time (CT)
or Result
Location
Saturday, Jan. 25 Phoenix Rising FC Trialists W 4-0 Casino Arizona Field;
Tempe, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 1 FC Cincinnati W 4-0 Grande Sports World;
Casa Grande, Ariz.
Wednesday, Feb. 12 Columbus Crew SC L 0-2 Grande Sports World;
Casa Grande, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 15 Real Salt Lake
(Visit Tucson Sun Cup)
5pm Kino North Stadium;
Tucson, Ariz.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 Phoenix Rising FC
(Visit Tucson Sun Cup)
8pm Casino Arizona Field;
Tempe, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 22 New York Red Bulls
(Visit Tucson Sun Cup)
3pm Kino North Stadium;
Tucson, Ariz.

Sporting KC 2020 Preseason Roster

# Player Position Age
1 Richard Sanchez Goalkeeper 25
2 Botond Barath Defender 27
3 Andreu Fontas Defender 30
4 Roberto Puncec Defender 28
5 Matt Besler Defender 33
6 Ilie Sanchez Midfielder 29
7 Johnny Russell Forward 29
8 Graham Zusi Defender 33
9 Alan Pulido Forward 28
10 Felipe Gutierrez Midfielder 29
11 Khiry Shelton Forward 26
12 Gerso Fernandes Forward 28
13 Amadou Dia Defender 26
15 Roger Espinoza Midfielder 33
16 Graham Smith Defender 24
17 Gadi Kinda Midfielder 25
19 Erik Hurtado Forward 29
20 Daniel Salloi Forward 23
23 Tyler Freeman Forward 17
26 Jaylin Lindsey Defender 19
27 Gianluca Busio Midfielder 17
28 Cameron Duke Midfielder 19
29 Tim Melia Goalkeeper 33
36 Luis Martins Defender 27
  Wilson Harris * Forward 20
  John Pulskamp * Goalkeeper 18
  Kaveh Rad * Defender 18
  Camden Riley * Defender 23
  Brooks Thompson * Goalkeeper 17
  Jake Davis ** Midfielder 18
  Tucker Lepley ** Midfielder 18

* Under contract with Sporting KC II
** Member of Sporting KC Academy

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