Luis Martins - Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake - Feb. 15, 2020
Olivia Brestal

Recap: Sporting and Real Salt Lake scrap to scoreless draw in Visit Tucson Sun Cup opener

MLS rivals Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake scrapped to a scoreless draw on Saturday at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. Both sides opened their Visit Tucson Sun Cup campaign in a match characterized by strong defensive displays and few clearcut scoring chances, although Sporting enjoyed the lion's share of possession over the course of 90 minutes.

The first fleeting opportunity fell to Real Salt Lake when 21st-year MLS veteran Kyle Beckerman headed high off a corner kick within the first 10 minutes. At the opposite end, RSL center back Nedum Onuoha intervened twice before halftime to break up Sporting attacks involving Mexican striker Alan Pulido, fellow newcomer Gadi Kinda and Portuguese left back Luis Martins.

Sporting winger Johnny Russell entered as a halftime substitute for Khiry Shelton and had an instant impact, embarking on a marauding run and unleashing a shot that was blocked through traffic in the 49th minute. Martins ran onto the ensuing loose ball and struck low from the edge of the penalty area, forcing RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa into a sprawling save at the near post.

Russell caused RSL further concerns on the hour-mark, scooping up an errant pass and curling a shot destined for the left corner, but Ochoa did wonderfully to palm it aside and keep the game scoreless. Vermes made 10 additional substitutions a moment later as Sporting's remaining starters were relieved after a 62-minute shift.

With 71 minutes on the clock, Sporting KC Academy product Jaylin Lindsey defended heroically to deny RSL after Sporting KC II goalkeeper John Pulskamp had parried away a low cross. Five minutes later, Sporting center back Graham Smith nodded high off a right-wing service from Russell.

Neither team conjured a serious attacking threat in the dying embers of a game that serves as a precursor to MLS meetings between the longtime adversaries on March 28 in Kansas City and July 1 in Sandy, Utah.

The Visit Tucson Sun Cup will resume Wednesday when Sporting visits USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC at Casino Arizona Field in Tempe, Arizona. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. CT with a live stream on for viewers in the Kansas City region. Additional play-by-play updates will be available on Twitter at @SKCMatchday.

2020 Preseason presented by Children's Mercy
Visit Tucson Sun Cup | Match 1 of 3
Kino North Stadium | Tucson, Arizona
Weather: 69 degrees and sunny

Score 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0

Sporting Kansas City: Richard Sanchez (John Pulskamp* 62'); Graham Zusi (Jaylin Lindsey 62'), Roberto Puncec (Graham Smith 62'), Matt Besler (Botond Barath 62'), Luis Martins (Amadou Dia 62'); Ilie Sanchez (Camden Riley* 62'), Roger Espinoza (Gianluca Busio 62'), Gadi Kinda (Jake Davis** 62'); Khiry Shelton (Johnny Russell 46'), Alan Pulido (Tyler Freeman 62'), Daniel Salloi (Cameron Duke 62')

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

Real Salt Lake: Zac MacMath (David Ochoa 46’); Justen Glad, Nedum Onuoha, Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia; Kyle Beckerman, Justin Portillo; Aaron Herrera, Albert Rusnák, Justin Meram (Tate Schmitt 31’, [Chris Garcia 80']); Damir Kreilach (Milan Iloski 31’)

Scoring Summary:

Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referee: Noah Kenyawani
Assistant Referee: Mark Novosel
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Brooke Mayo

Sporting KC 2020 Preseason Schedule

Date Opponent Time (CT)
or Result
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 2-0 Grande Sports World;
Casa Grande, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 15 Real Salt Lake
(Visit Tucson Sun Cup)
T 0-0 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.