Dom Dwyer got Kansas City going by converting a penalty kick in the 31st minute. (Casey Sapio/USA Today/Sports)
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Red Bulls, well, actually Red Bulls II, lost to Sporting KC, 3-0, in their opening Desert Diamond Cup match Saturday night.
With the first team in New Jersey putting the finishing touches on its preparations for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Red Bull Arena Wednesday night, a team consisting mostly of trialists, NYRB II players and academy players is participating in the squad’s place in the preseason tournament.
Using their first side against New York City FC, the Red Bulls recorded a 2-0 victory Wednesday as newly named captain Sacha Kljestan bagged a brace.
Dom Dwyer opened the scoring with a first-half penalty kick before Cameron Porter and Daniel Salloi added late goals at on rainy night at Kino Sports Complex.
Wet and windy conditions did little to prevent from creating several chances in the opening half. Winger Latif Blessing and veteran Graham Zusi threatened with half-volleys within the opening 15 minutes before Dwyer’s low drive on the breakaway was kick-saved by goalkeeper Rafael Diaz in the 26th minute.
Dwyer wouldn’t be denied a second time, dispatching a penalty in the 31st minute after racing onto a Matt Besler long ball and clattering into Diaz, who had rushed off his line. The striker sent his spot kick off the right post and into the back of the net for his first goal of the preseason.
Zusi and Gerso Fernandes combined down the right side seven minutes later, but the former’s left-footed effort was blocked by Ethan Kutler in the penalty area. Just before halftime, Roger Espinoza raced into the box and dragged a shot across Diaz and narrowly wide of the far right post.
Blessing kept New York on its heels in the 50th minute, sizing up his defender and squaring centrally to Dwyer, whose 15-yard snapshot was saved by keeper Evan Louro, who came on at halftime.
Vermes made wholesale changes in the 60th minute as 11 new faces entered the fray. Sporting’s dominance became more pronounced and nearly resulted in a second goal on 79 minutes when Salloi ran onto the ball following an aggressive run from Soony Saad and smacked a left-footed strike off the crossbar.
The lead doubled in the 82nd minute. Medranda sprung Salloi down the left wing and allowed the return pass to run between his legs and across the face of goal. Porter was rewarded for his back-post run, hammering the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle on the right side of the box.
Salloi tallied KC’s third goal five minutes later, nodding home at the doorstep after Jimmy Medranda’s deflected corner kick was punched up in the air by Louro. Saad came close to finding the back of the net in the 90th minute, but his curling free kick rattled the post.
SKC – Dom Dwyer 1 (penalty kick) 31
SKC – Cameron Porter 1 (Daniel Salloi 1) 82
SKC – Daniel Salloi 1 (unassisted) 87
Red Bulls: Rafael Diaz (Evan Louro, 46’); Kevin O’Toole (Duane Muckette, 46’), Tim Schmoll, Hassan Ndam (David Abidor, 70’), Ethan Kutler (Lucas Batista, 82’); Vincent Bezecourt, Arun Basuljevic, David Najem (Kazu Shigenobu, 82’), Florian Valot (Bradley Nestor, 82’); Brandon Allen, Zeiko Lewis (Zach Ryan, 70’)
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia (Adrian Zendejas 61); Graham Zusi (Saad Abdul-Salaam 61), Ike Opara (Kevin Ellis 61), Matt Besler (Amer Didic 61), Seth Sinovic (Tyler Pasher 61); Benny Feilhaber (Benji Joya 61), Ilie Sanchez (Soni Mustivar 61), Roger Espinoza (Jimmy Medranda 61); Gerso Fernandes (Christian Volesky 61), Dom Dwyer (Soony Saad 61) Latif Blessing (Daniel Salloi 61)