The 2023 Sporting Kansas City II preseason presented by Central Bank came to a close Sunday afternoon with a 3-0 victory in a 75-minute friendly against UMKC at Swope Soccer Village. Josh Coan netted a first half penalty before Bakary Bagayoko and Ethan Bryant found the back of the net in the second. Ethan Bandre made four saves on the day keeping the clean sheet.
In the preseason finale, head coach Benny Feilhaber trotted out a starting XI that would play the entirety of the contest. Bandre tended the goal with Lucas Rosa, Jahon Rad, Nassim Mekideche and Diedie Traore one line ahead of him. Manning the midfield was the trio of Bryant, Coan and Enzo Mauriz. The front three was comprised of Bagayoko, Sebastian Cruz and Amadou Traore.
The Traore duo was working early on along SKC II's left flank as the pair launched attack after attack for the home side. None of the early attempts yielded anything on the scoreboard but the consistent early pressure did wear down the UMKC Roos defense. The visitors would get the first shot on target of the match, an effort from the top of the box that forced Bandre into a comfortable save.
Bagayoko and Mauriz saw attempts go just off target on back-to-back attacks immediately after Bandre's save. Bagayoko's was a headed effort from close range and Mauriz's was a crack from beyond the 18. Bandre made his second save in a similar fashion to the first, securing a shot in the middle of his goal. On the other end of the pitch, Amadou Traore took over, gliding past defenders and entering the box. His cross was blocked by an outstretched Roos' arm leading to an SKC II penalty kick which Coan tucked neatly into the lower right corner of the goal.
SKC II continued to pressure throughout the first but was unable to add to the lead. The halftime whistle provided some relief for UMKC, however, it was shortlived as the hosts came out firing in the second. Bagayoko scored his third goal of the preseason campaign from close range and Bryant finished off a brilliant team goal that started from the backline.
Bandre made two more saves, the last of which was his best of the day. The keeper stretched out at full extension and parried the shot around his right post, sustaining the clean sheet for SKC II. The 75th minute brought the end of the friendly and both teams participated in a practice penalty shootout. SKC II took the win in that as well, capping off the 2023 preseason.
The club played in five matches, posting a 3-2 record, scoring nine goals. Bagayoko paced the team with three preseason scores while Amadou Traore added two finishes. Now the MLS NEXT Pro regular season begins. Sunday, SKC II will open their second year in the league with a trip to DICK'S Sporting Goods Park to face Rapids 2. Fans will be able to watch the match on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV App and can follow @SportingKCII on Twitter for updates throughout the contest.
Sporting KC II Lineup
SKC: Ethan Bandre; Lucas Rosa, Jahon Rad, Nassim Mekideche, Diedie Traore; Enzo Mauriz, Josh Coan, Ethan Bryant; Sebastian Cruz, Bakary Bagayoko, Amadou Traore