Sporting KC Academy and Sporting KC II midfielder Edgar Bazan represented the club as one of 45 players selected for the first inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate. The match occurred Wednesday morning at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN as a part of the MLS All-Star festivities.
Bazan earned a spot in the starting XI, played 45 minutes and provided a spark on both sides of the pitch for the West as they took a 1-0 lead over the East All-Stars into the half. The East went on to defeat the West 2- 1 after scoring twice in the final moments of the match.
The West set the tone from the jump, pressing high right off the opening kick. Bazan forced a turnover at midfield and slotted a good ball inside that nearly led to a goal within the first minute. The goalkeeper made a terrific save for the East, coming off his line to keep the match scoreless early.
The West refused to let off the gas, continuing to ask questions of the back four of the East. In the seventh minute, they finally found the net on an attack Bazan jump-started. Sitting back in the midfield, the 16-year-old anticipated a pass and turned the East over before spreading the ball wide to Andre Gitau out of the Houston Dynamo Academy. The winger centered the ball to San Jose's Cruz Medina and the forward unloaded a shot goalward that took a deflection and bounced past the off-balanced goalkeeper.
The East settled in and the match did not produce any more high-octane scoring chances until the 18th minute. A fast-break for the West produced another one-v-one against the keeper that was saved at point-blank range, popped out of the box and recycled by Bazan. A long spell of possession by the West ultimately yielded nothing as the East held strong.
In the 31st Bazan, sliding back into a holding mid position, joined up in the attack. After a blocked cross, the Overland Park native found himself some space between the lines of the East and teed up a shot from long-range. The offering zipped through traffic but drifted inches outside of the far post. On the other side of the pitch, just a minute later, Bazan made a terrific defensive play to take the ball of his mark's foot in the box physically, but cleanly.
Both sides had their fair share of chances towards the end of the half as the contest turned into an end-to-end sprint. Gitau made a terrific cut-in but saw his shot go wanting, pulling it wide of the back post. With the final attack of the half, the East earned a corner after a blocked shot in the box. The corner found the head of an attacker and was headed over the goal bringing an end to the first half.
The halftime whistle brought a close to Bazan's time on the pitch at the MLS NEXT All-Star Game after he helped the West take a 1-0 lead into the break. The East scored two goals after the 80th minute to claim the match. Their first goal came on a cheeky penalty pass by the taker and finish by Benjamin Cremaschi with the winner coming in the 89th off the foot of Marcos Zambrano-Delgado.
Bazan will return to Kansas City and rejoin SKC II for the final five matches of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season. Head coach Benny Feilhaber and SKC II also return to Kansas City for a match against Timbers2 on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 5 p.m. CT. Swope Soccer Village will be the backdrop for the regular season showdown, tickets are on sale at SeatGeek.com and the match can be streamed for free at MLSNEXTPro.com.