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Sporting KC pick up a 3-3 draw against Charlotte FC

We’ve got a few highlights and notes from the KC vs. Charlotte preseason game. Updates on signings, injuries and more.



Felipe Hernandez scored a penalty kick on Friday | Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City returned to action for their second preseason game on Friday behind closed doors. It was the first ever meeting against 2021 MLS Expansion club, Charlotte FC. As of now, due to a technical issue, highlights haven’t been released by the team. We’ll have those soon, but Charlotte FC put out brief clips of their goals, which we have now.

Update 1/27/24 with the Sporting KC highlights.

The Lineups

You never want to read too much into who is playing with who in preseason, but the first lineup that took the field looked much more like a potential starting XI than the mixed lineups that defeated FIU in an abbreviated 60-minute game.

This was a full 90-minute match and the “starters” featured nine of the 11 presumed starters as the roster is currently constructed. The only missing players were Dany Rosero, who is in Colombia working on his green card and Daniel Salloi, who will sit out the rest of phase one of the preseason.

They were replaced in the starting lineup by Robert Castellanos and surprise left-winger Stephen Afrifa. This is Afrifa’s second straight game out wide, meaning he may have a more direct path to the field instead of being buried behind Alan Pulido and Willy Agada at center forward.

Everyone who started played 45 minutes with the exception of Alan Pulido, who was returning from an illness. He was replaced in the 31st minute by Willy Agada who was replaced 30 minutes later by Alenis Vargas.

The second half roster included two SKC Academy players in Jacob Bartlett (at RB) and Ian James (at CB). New trialist Memo Rodriguez also lined up just where he was expected as he took over for Erik Thommy. We’ve got more on Memo and his potential fit with the team.

The only other substitutions were Khiry Shelton coming off after just five minutes due to an injury and being replaced by Sporting KC II forward, Sebastian Cruz. That sub was followed by another SKC II player, Ethan Bryant, replacing Memo Rodriguez in the 78th minute.

Anything but Second: The Paradox and Potential of Ethan Bryant

Missing Players

As mentioned above, Dany Rosero is in Colombia and Daniel Salloi “has a little bit of a tweak,” but he’s sitting out the rest of this stretch of preseason.

Kayden Pierre is in training, but the team is being cautious. “He’s been training the whole time with us,” Vermes said. He went on to say it was “basically full” training. The only other rostered players to not appear on Friday were Ozzie Cisneros, Chris Rindov and of course Logan Ndenbe who is rehabbing his torn ACL.

As far as other guys in camp, Nati Clarke wasn’t in this game after getting 30 minutes last time out. Both draft picks, Jonathan Robinson (LB) and Ryan Schewe (GK) didn’t see the field either. SKC Academy member Cielo Tschantret has yet to play as well.

Finally, the other trialist, Jacori Hayes, has already departed camp with some sort of injury. Vermes said, “he physically had a problem, and he wouldn’t be able to get over it for quite some time.” I’d suspect he’s unlikely to be signed right now based on that with so few roster spots available.

The Goals

The game got off to a bad start for Sporting KC as they allowed two goals inside the first 12 minutes with mostly their ‘starters’ on the field. The first goal was assisted by former Sporting KC fullback, Jaylin Lindsay. While it’s only preseason, that won’t alleviate concerns for a defense that leaked 51 goals in 34 games in 2023.

SKC clawed back with a 44th minute Erik Thommy goal to only be down 2-1 at the half. Things looked like they could be getting out of hand when Charlotte took a 3-1 lead in the second half.

However, Felipe Hernandez converted a penalty in the 86th minute, that was earned by Alenis Vargas, and Cruz tied the game in the 90th minute knocking home an Ethan Bryant rebound. Bryant’s shot was setup by Zorhan Bassong and Marinos Tzionis.

Scoring Summary

  • 2′ CLT – Scott Arfield (*assisted by Jaylin Lindsay and Tyger Smalls)
  • 12′ CLT – Scott Arfield (Joao Pedro and Andrew Privett)
  • 44′ SKC – Erik Thommy (Jake Davis)
  • 63′ CLT – Patrick Agyemang
  • 86′ SKC – Felipe Hernandez
  • 90′ SKC – Seba Cruz
*The assists are probably wrong, but we’ve got so little to go off of. They were involved.

The game would end in a 3-3 draw. Sporting KC fell to 1-0-1 in the preseason.

Other Sporting KC Notes

  • SKC are looking to add a player before the season.
  • As far as the next Designated Player, it doesn’t look like it’ll be like for like for Gadi Kinda (does PV read KCSJ?). I feel like this makes a Memo Rodriguez signing likely. Vermes went on to say, “we’re not going to rush into something just for the sake of adding a guy.”

  • Vermes praised the young guys in the second group, including 15-year-old Ian James.
  • PV praised specifically James, Bartlett, Voloder, Rodriguez, Cruz, Vargas and Bassong.
  • Rosero “should have been in over a week ago,” but they are waiting on his green card. There are several MLS players in Bogota, Colombia waiting right now as well according to Peter.

Sporting KC play one more game on this leg of the preseason on Tuesday, January 30th against Nashville SC. They’ll then return to Kansas City briefly before coming back for the final two preseason games against Miami FC (USL) and Atlanta United.

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