Posted On January 31, 2016 by PUSC
by Chad Smith, ReportingKC.com
Conner Hallisey (22) looking on before the game against FC Tucson. Photo Credit: Chad Smith, ReportingKC.com
February 1, 2016 — With just over a month until official Major League Soccer action is set to begin, Sporting Kansas City played their first preseason game, a 60-minute scrimmage against USL Premier Development League side FC Tucson. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance as I was earlier in the week during practice.
The Starting XI for Sporting KC were: Tim Melia, Amadou Dia, Ike Opara, Nuno Coelho, Chance Meyers, Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza, Jordi Quintilla, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, and Brad Davis. I wouldn’t read too much into the starters as Soni Mustivar and Benny Feilhaber are clearly day one starters and didn’t come out until the second team took the field.
The game got off to a bit of a slower start with everyone seeming like they were just trying to get their feet under them. Possession was a bit sloppy early, which is to be expected in the first scrimmage of preseason.
Finally, a little over half way through the first 30-minute half, Dom Dwyer made a steal and found Brad Davis in the box. Davis was able to put it away for the first goal of the preseason. Just moments later Davis was able to return the favor as he found a streaking Dwyer who notched the second goal of the game, putting Sporting KC up 2-0 before halftime.
The only real threat from FC Tucson came off of a set piece that led to a chance on goal. Tim Melia came through huge, as he did so many times in 2015, as he parried the ball over the bar with an excellent save.
At the half the entire roster substituted out. The 11 players on the field for Sporting KC in the second half were: Alec Kann, Seth Sinovic, Tommy Meyer, Kevin Ellis, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Soni Mustivar, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber, Connor Hallisey, Jacob Peterson, and Justin Mapp.
In the second half the team wasted little time adding to their lead. Conner Hallisey stole the ball and started to drive on goal. He sent a pass to Benny Feilhaber who immediately tapped it back to Hallisey on a quick one-two. Hallisey drove on goal and put it away to bring the score to 3-0.
The only bad thing that came out of the scrimmage was Jacob Peterson ended up leaving with an injury. As he left the field with a trainer I overheard them indicating it could be his ribs. Let’s hope the injury is minor and he was just removed as a precaution.
After the transfer of Krisztian Nemeth yesterday, the forward position is an injury or two away from being in a state of desperation. When Peterson was removed he was replaced by fourth round pick, Faik Hajderovic, from the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
Once Peterson was off the field and play resumed, Sporting would add a fourth goal. Justin Mapp made a steal deep in FC Tucson’s territory, worked through a series of defenders, and sent a pass to Hallisey as he made a run at goal. Hallisey tapped it home for his second.
The 4-0 lead would be all Sporting needed in this 60-minute long scrimmage. All around it looked like the players were getting their legs under them, and they did what they should have done in defeating a lower division team.
After the game, Connor Hallisey had what appeared to be his first post game interview. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with the microphone as he prepared. Let’s hope that he continues this trend of being in the right place at the right time.
“The first goal, I just did a one-two with Benny and finished far post,” Hallisey said following the game. “The second goal Justin did a lot of good work to win the ball back high up the field. He passed it to me and it was just a tap in. Last year I had a couple of chances I wanted to put away and it feels good to get out there and do it right in the first game. It kind of gets the monkey off my back.”
Sporting will have a another scrimmage before returning back to Kansas City. They will then return to Tucson, Arizona for the Desert Diamond Cup later in February. The first match of the tournament is February 17, 2016 against defending Eastern Conference Champions, the Columbus Crew.