KC Brass face Sporting KC XI

Luke Harman

John Bayron Sosa.
John Bayron Sosa.

The local Kansas City Brass (PDL) team here in Kansas City, faced off against an MLS Sporting KC XI earlier last week on Monday, March 28, in a 3:30pm kick-off. The game was played in the pro team’s Swope Park Training Center and had the Brass run out 3-2 winners in a game that was played in three 30-minute sessions.

On the day, the Brass included past members of the UMKC Men’s soccer team like defender Coady Andrews, deep-lying midfielder John Bayron Sosa and skillful forward Bryan Perez.

Current UMKC soccer star, Englishman Tom Black, also added an influential presence to the team on the day. An incoming UMKC player for the fall season of this year, Jordan Rideout, lined out for the Sporting KC squad as he has been part of the youth set-up there.

However, while these UMKC players were clearly more skillful and controlling than the key media presence of the day, NFL star Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson stole all the attention in his first game-scenario appearance in his trial period with Sporting KC.

The game itself was one which was hectic at the best of times with neither team having any real periods of penetrating possession as the cold ripped through the area around Swope Park.

The Brass took a surprise early lead after a corner kick was badly dealt with by KC ‘keeper Eric Kronberg, and former UMKC centerback Andrews was on hand to head the ball goal-bound before the ball took a deflection, or two, or three!

The one goal lead was enough for the Brass to hold onto a first session lead, but in the second period, Sporting equalized through a headed goal from Kevin Ellis after some sloppy work from the Brass net-minder.

In this tale of goalkeeping errors, Sporting’s Kronberg again made an error from a deep cross and failed to get hold of the ball at the back post before ex-Drake forward Garett Webb looped a shot into the far right hand corner, an excellent finish by any standards.

Two to one starting the final 30-minute session and Sporting pounced on a poorly cleared ball, and Sporting KC Junior Ray Lee steered the ball low into the net away from the outstretched keeper’s grasp.

For the game winner, UMKC’s midfield partners combined as Sosa sent a perfectly weighted through ball to Black who strode towards goal, drew Kronberg out of the goal, and then cleverly put the ball on a plate for Brass winger Justin Beck to finish with ease.

‘Ochocinco’ played two sessions out of three and looked tired, unaware of the technique involved with the game and at times even the rule of offside.

However, as he has previously stated to ESPN about his trial, he is fulfilling a childhood passion of playing “real football” and does not want to be seen as the next big MLS superstar. While his soccer ability may be limited at best, the grace and media attention he has brought to the game can only benefit the rise of soccer here in the States.

Any press is good press, and hopefully the Sporting number 85 has brought soccer to the attention of a public which may not have previously been aware of.

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