Sporting Kansas City II's 2023 preseason presented by Central Bank rolled on with a 2-1 win in an afternoon friendly against Richland College at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, TX. Much like Saturday's friendly, two goals on either side of halftime, including a go-ahead goal near the full-time whistle granted Sporting KC II a victory.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber trotted out a Sporting KC Academy-heavy starting XI featuring five Academy trialists and three Academy products. Carlito Saylon earned the start in goal with Mikey Lenis, Jacob Bartlett, Matthew Fisher and Coby Jones in front of him. Cielo Tschantret manned the six with Kai Auvray and Danny Flores split on either side of him. The front three was comprised of Ozzie Cisneros, Pau Vidal and goalscorer Amadou Traore.
The contest started with SKC II sustaining possession in Richland's third, but the visitors were unable to get any actions going toward the goal. It was the hosts who would pen their name on the scorer's sheet first when they converted an early penalty in the eighth minute.
Attacking from the outside in SKC II looked to equalize with services from Lenis and Jones on either wing of the attack. Richland was wise to this, keeping Vidal and the other forwards away from the net. The second close chance fell to Richland as a shot from beyond the box was whistled barely high and wide of Saylon's right-hand post.
In the 20th, SKC II drew level thanks to Traore's second goal in as many preseason matches. The winger skillfully brought down a brilliant switch from Flores, sized up his man and dashed for the net. After slicing and dicing his way through the defense, he tucked a shot around the keeper and into the near post to bring the scoreline even.
Just two minutes later, Traore gave Richland deja vu, completing a similar action up until his shot was blocked in traffic. Auvray collected the loose ball but was unable to get his shot on goal. The attacking pressure continued for Sporting KC II when Lenis whipped a cross from the endline at Vidal which was redirected just off target by the looming striker.
The halftime whistle blew relieving some stress for Richland after 20 minutes of continuous pressure from SKC II. At the start of the second, a trio of subs entered for Sporting as Jahon Rad, Josh Coan and Andrew Draper came on for Fisher, Auvray and Traore. The first platoon wrapped up their final 15 minutes on the pitch before seven subs entered in the 60th. Nati Clarke, Nassim Mekediche and Diedie Traore replaced the three remaining defenders. Enzo Mauriz and Ethan Bryant entered the midfield and Sebastian Cruz came on with Bakary Bagayoko to play out the final 30.
The first dangerous movement from the second squad came in the 70th when Clarke's cross connected with Bryant in the box. The midfielder had his shot hurried and could not find the frame. Draper, moments later, did find the frame from the left corner of the box, however, the keeper was positioned well enough to make the save.
Five minutes later SKC II put the ball in the back of the net when Bagayoko slipped a pass to Cruz who placed the ball into an empty net. The offside flag went up on the far side of the field and the goal was disallowed. Just 10 minutes after that, SKC II would score the match-winner. Again Cruz was played into the area, but this time he cut the ball back to the penalty spot. A poor clearance from Richland was picked up by Coan who slotted the ball past the keeper.
The group held onto the lead thanks to a defensive header from Mauriz and a blocked corner kick by Bryant. The final whistle came with SKC II completing the come-from-behind win and claiming their second straight 2-1 win of the 2023 preseason. The team will have one more preseason friendly on the road trip against North Texas SC on Thursday morning. Following the trip, one preseason match will remain against UMKC at Swope Soccer Village. For updates throughout preseason and the regular season, follow @SportingKCII on Twitter.
Sporting KC II Lineup
SKC: Carlito Saylon; Mikey Lenis (Nati Clarke 60'), Jacob Bartlett (Nassim Mekediche 60'), Matthew Fisher (Jahon Rad 46'), Coby Jones (Amadou Traore 60'); Cielo Tschantret (Enzo Mauriz 60'), Kai Auvray (Josh Coan 46'), Danny Flores (Ethan Bryany 60'); Ozzie Cisneros (Sebastian Cruz 60'), Pau Vidal (Bakary Bagayoko 60'), Amadou Traore (Andrew Draper 45')