Connect with us

Sporting KC

Sporting KC Win 4-1 over FIU in Preseason Opener

All the goal highlights from Sporting Kansas City in their first action of 2024, including goals from Salloi, Russell, Agada and Afrifa.



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City returned to the soccer field for the first time since being eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs in the Conference semifinals. For their first preseason tune-up, they took on Florida International University in a 60-minute friendly.

The game was described as “closed doors,” but you can see limited fans in attendance in the background of the highlights provided by the team. There is very little information to be drawn from the first game of the preseason, especially against collegiate level competition. After the game, Peter Vermes praised both FIU as well as the fitness of his team in preseason.

“It’s probably the best we’ve ever had in regard to fitness level for a team that’s come in off an offseason,” said Vermes.

The Lineups

The team played two 30-minute halves with entirely different lineups in each half. You never want to read too much into the lineups as the ‘presumed starters‘ were spread across both lineups. However, tiny things can be picked up in terms of where guys line up.

For example, in the first lineup it appears Marinos Tzionis is lined up at right winger and Alenis Vargas is playing center forward. That doesn’t mean players didn’t rotate or switch sides, but the team is consistent about how they display the lineup. Additionally, Danny Flores picked up where he left off for SKC II, lining up at defensive midfielder.

Halfway through the first half, Willy Agada checked into the game at center forward for Alenis Vargas in the 16th minute.

The second lineup showed Nati Clarke, who often played left back with SKC II last year, lined up at right back. Additionally, Sporting KC II’s Ethan Bryant was playing the more attack minded #8 role (e.g. where Erik Thommy typically plays).

Up front, it was surprising to see Khiry Shelton back at center forward and Stephen Afrifa out wide. In the highlights below it does appear Afrifa scored from out wide too. Again, there is no saying they didn’t flip flop spots as sometimes naturally happens in a game or that the team is being coy with their lineup Tweets.

A “Way Too Early” Sporting KC Depth Chart for 2024

Missing Players

In addition to who is on the field, it’s sometimes of interest who is not out there. Alan Pulido, who had been dealing with the flu per his Instagram, was rested as he recovered from that illness.

Also missing were Kayden Pierre, Dany Rosero, Ozzie Cisneros and of course Logan Ndenbe, who didn’t travel with the team as he rehabs his ACL tear.

Update 1/21/24: Vermes did mention some guys are off getting green cards sorted. Rosero’s social media showed him out of the country it looked like. Cisneros and Pierre are American, so that should be a non-issue for them. 

The Goals

Sporting KC sent out highlights of the four goals scored to the media but didn’t show the corner kick goal the second lineup gave up.

  • 4′ – Daniell Salloi (assisted by Erik Thommy)
  • 23′ – Willy Agada (assisted by Salloi? — possible deflection)
  • 40′ – Johnny Russell (assisted by Remi Walter)
  • 52′ – Stephen Afrifa
  • 55′ – Eduardo Mustre (FIU)

Final score, 4-1 Sporting KC.

And the team shared a second angle on the first goal, if you are so inclined.

Update 1/22/24: Another angle on the Russell goal and added an assist for Walter who makes the pass to set it up.

Sporting Kansas City will play their second of five preseason games this coming Friday against Charlotte FC at 10:00 AM CST. It’ll be the first ever meetings between these clubs.

The KC Soccer Journal will have more on the postgame Zoom press conference that Vermes and players held with the media in the coming days.

Recent Comments

KC Soccer Journal in your Inbox!

Be the first to know when news breaks, sign up to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.


Follow us on Twitter