Preview: Sporting continues preseason Wednesday at Phoenix Rising FC

Sporting Kansas City at Phoenix Rising FC
2020 Preseason presented by Children's Mercy
Wednesday, Feb. 19 | 8 p.m. CT
Casino Arizona Field | Tempe, Arizona
Live Stream: for viewers in KC region

Sporting Kansas City's penultimate tune-up for the MLS regular season is slated for 8 p.m. CT against USL Championship club Phoenix Rising FC at Casino Arizona Field in Tempe, Arizona. The contest will stream live on for viewers in the Kansas City region as Manager Peter Vermes' men continue their Visit Tucson Sun Cup campaign and 2020 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy. Additional in-game updates will be available via the @SportingKC and @SKCMatchday Twitter accounts.

Newly acquired goalkeeper Richard Sanchez and Sporting KC II goalkeeper John Pulskamp combined for a clean sheet in Saturday's Visit Tucson Sun Cup curtain raiser, a 0-0 draw against rivals Real Salt Lake in which Sporting stifled their MLS counterparts and dominated possession. Halftime substitute Johnny Russell nearly broke the deadlock in the early stages of the second half, only to be denied by RSL gloveman David Ochoa.

Sporting already has four exhibition matches in the books, including a pair of 4-0 victories during the first leg of preseason training versus a team of Phoenix Rising FC trialists and MLS outfit FC Cincinnati. Academy products Daniel Salloi and Gianluca Busio both have two goals to their name, while Russell and Roger Espinoza have also opened their preseason scoring accounts.

Vermes gave an hour of playing time to most of his starters on Saturday, with Sanchez shielded by a back four of Matt Besler, Luis Martins, Roberto Puncec and Graham Zusi. The midfield trio consisted of Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez and newcomer Gadi Kinda, and the three-pronged attack saw wingers Salloi and Khiry Shelton flank center forward Alan Pulido.

Led by 2019 USL Championship Coach of the Year Rich Schantz, Rising FC are fresh off a historic campaign that yielded league records for regular season wins, points, goals and goal difference. Among Phoenix's standouts last season was left back Amadou Dia, who has since rejoined Sporting after spending his first stint in Kansas City from 2015-2016.

After facing Phoenix, Sporting will conclude their preseason Saturday against the New York Red Bulls at 3 p.m. CT in Tucson. Vermes' side will then begin their 2020 regular season journey on Feb. 29 when they visit Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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 0-2 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.

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