UMKC can’t hold off Sporting KC in 3-0 exhibition loss

Dan Moreno

The UMKC Kangaroos fell 3-0 to Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at Swope Park, suffering the team’s first defeat of the spring, after defeating Minnesota United F.C. on March 8.

As requested by Sporting KC’s coaching staff, the game was divided in three 30-minute periods, instead of two forty-five minute halves.

Sporting KC started the match strong, having several opportunities to take the lead, but it wasn’t until the 29th minute when forward C.J. Sapong blasted a close-range shot to the far right corner of the goal, beating goalkeeper Kevin Corby.

The home team extended the lead in the second period after Mikey Lopez received a cross from Mechack Jerome and passed it back to Soony Saad, who scored. Seven minutes before the final whistle, Saad tallied his second goal of the match.

The Kangaroos were unable to find a way to beat Jimmy Nielsen’s goalkeeping.

The closest opportunity came in the 86th minute when freshman Broc Cramer was left alone against goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, but defender Lawrence Olum took the ball from him after a tough tackle.

SKC defender Matt Besler, who is also part of the U.S. National team, had a great performance and seemed pleased with the result.

“Overall it was a very competitive game,” he said. “They [UMKC] are very organized on the field, which made it hard for us to score earlier in the game.”

Besler also remembered his years as a college student athlete and seemed happy to have shared the pitch with Coach Rick Benben’s team.

“It all starts with hard work,” Besler said. “I have been in those guys’ shoes. I played in college, too, and I remember what those kinds of games were like, so I kind of try to pass on as much as I can to these guys and help them out.”

Corby had an outstanding performance as he registered 14 saves for the Roos.

“It is a good learning experience,” he said.  Everyone played well. Even though we lost, it is definitively a great way to prepare for this fall season as we change conferences.”

For Benben, the primary goal for spring exhibitions is to work on individual improvement, and since the team lost four players to exhausted eligibility, the game against a 2012 playoff team was a great opportunity for his players to prove themselves.

“It’s always great for us to play against one of the country’s best teams,” he said. “Playing against the best can only make you better.”

The Kangaroos will continue their spring exhibition schedule as they face Rockhurst University on April 27 after celebrating the KC College Soccer Day with an exhibition match on April 20 at Durwood Stadium.

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