Sporting Kansas City II's 2023 preseason presented by Central Bank continued with a 2-1 win over FC Tulsa at the University of Tulsa. Bakary Bagayoko netted a first half finish with Amadou Traore giving Sporting KC II the win in the final two minutes of the contest.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber trotted out a starting lineup featuring new signees Lucas Rosa and Sebastian Cruz. Ethan Bandre tended the net with Rosa, Jahon Rad, Nassim Mekediche and Diedie Traore holding down the backline. Enzo Mauriz played in the center of the midfield with Ethan Bryany and Josh Coan split out on either side of him. Cruz and Bagayoko were joined by Andrew Draper in the front three.
Tulsa jumped out onto the attack early and found the back of the net following a terrific save from Bandre. The goal was disallowed as the finisher of the rebound infringed upon Rad and was whistled for a foul. Bryant took SKC II into the attacking fold for the first time in the match in the sixth minute. His advancement saw him get into the area and rifle a shot on target, which was kept out by the keeper.
Sporting remained on the attack, providing consistent pressure to the Tulsa back four. That pressure yielded a golden opportunity after Bryant cracked another attempt destined for goal that got stuck in traffic. The loose ball fell to Bagayoko who was unable to get his shot on target after being swarmed by multiple defenders and the goalkeeper.
He would not wait long to make an impact on the match however as moments later Coan sped up the goalkeeper and turned Tulsa over in the box. Bagayoko got onto the ball, created an angle and burned the keeper on the near post to give SKC II the first half advantage. Nothing else came for either side and the break came with the 1-0 scoreline intact.
The fresh 45 presented some fresh faces for the visitors with Nati Clarke entering for Traore and Stephen Afrifa coming on for the goal-scoring Bagayoko. A little over 15 minutes later and a platoon came in for SKC II with nine changes being made including four Academy trialists in Jacob Bartlett, Matthew Fisher, Cielo Tschantret and Kai Auvray as well as first-team loanees Ozzie Cisneros and Danny Flores.
Tulsa would level the match at one and the intensity began to pick up. FC Tulsa launched attack after attack but was turned aside with a double save from Bandre, blocks from the defense and well-timed headers on corner kicks. Traore and Afrifa combined superbly along the left wing, continuously gaining access to the attacking third. Afrifa had his legs swept in the box near the byline but only a corner was given. Flores' ensuing service connected with Bartlett but his redirected header thundered inches wide of the target.
In the final moments of the match, following numerous close chances for SKC II, Traore received the ball on the outside. The Frenchman cut inside, generated space and dipped his shot over the keeper and under the bar to give SKC II the lead. A final chance for Tulsa came up empty and Sporting KC II earned their first win of the 2023 preseason.
SKC II's preseason road trip is now in full swing. The team will head to Dallas to train and participate in two preseason friendlies against Richland College and North Texas SC. Following the trip, one preseason match will remain against UMKC at Swope Soccer Village. The MLS NEXT Pro season is on the horizon as SKC II enters year two in the revolutionary league. For updates throughout preseason and the regular season, follow @SportingKCII on Twitter.
Sporting KC II Lineup
SKC: Ethan Bandre; Lucas Rosa (Mikey Lenis 60'), Jahon Rad (Jacob Bartlett 60'(Pau Vidal 75')), Nassim Mekediche (Matthew Fisher 60'), Diedie Traore (Nati Clarke 46'); Enzo Mauriz (Cielo Tschantret 60'), Josh Coan (Danny Flores 60'), Ethan Bryant (Ozzie Cisneros 60'); Sebastian Cruz (Amadou Traore 60'), Bakary Bagayoko (Stephen Afrifa 60'), Andrew Draper (Kai Auvray 60')