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MLS Training Camp Preview: Sporting Kansas City



PHOENIX — No MLS team will spend more time in the desert than Sporting KC, around four weeks in all.

That's OK, because the newly-branded club (formerly the Kansas City Wizards) could use the "on the road" experience to prepare for the MLS regular season, when it will play its first nine or 10 games away from home before opening its new 18,500-seat soccer-specific stadium in June.  

SKC has plenty to be excited about with the new stadium and a talented striker combination in young Teal Bunbury and veteran Kei Kamara. A mix of returning players and the potential addition of some solid international talent, and things appear to be looking up in the heartland.

The team is talking like it believes this could be a special year. There's talk of trophies, but first, a two-year playoff drought must be ended.

Here's a closer look at the Sporting KC's preseason in Arizona:



Length of stay: Jan. 31-Feb. 15, Feb. 21-March 3 at Reach 11 complex (North Phoenix); March 4-6 in Tucson (preseason games).

Tentative training game/scrimmage schedule: Feb. 5 vs. Columbus, Feb. 12 vs. Colorado, Feb. 15 vs. Houston and U.S. MNT U-18, Feb. 26 vs. Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact, March 5 vs. New York Red Bulls in Tucson.

Key Arrivals: F Omar Bravo, M Luke Sassano, F C.J. Sapong.

Key Departures: D Jimmy Conrad, F Josh Wolff.

What to watch for: A lot of eyes will be on Kamara and Bunbury, but the Wizards also have to address some lost depth on defense after Jonathan Leathers was lost in the expansion draft. Sassano is coming off an ankle injury from last season. Bravo, a veteran of El Tri (Mexican national team), is another one to watch, as well as the interesting mix of rookie draft picks. Keep an eye on a guy who has impressed in camp prior to the team's departure to Arizona, wing Adda Djeziri.

Of note: Sporting KC, in addition to its games against MLS teams and USMNT U-18s, will play an intrasquad scrimmage on Feb. 9 and face local club Arizona Sahuaros in Tucson March 4…  The club's time at Reach 11 coincides with baseball's Kansas City Royals annual spring training in Surprise, Ariz., not more than a half-hour to the west on the freeway.


  1. If you can’t agree on the number of years of a contract it’s amount money! If for example you only want to give a one year contract at 50k but the player wants two at 50K you’ve got a 50K difference in the amount you want to commit to that player.

  2. Hey Ralph,

    Yeah he does have the facts right on. You see yes RSL is training in Casa Grande which is in the desert. But RSL will be taking time to play Columbus Crew for the CCL.

    So Jose is spot on. But don’t let that bother you. Keep being a jerk!!

  3. Wrong James, Hartman’s move wasn’t about money it was about length of contract. KC was offering him a raise but they couldn’t agree on years.

    (SBI-KC never wanted him back and pushed him out. Anything else that’s been spread around about that is misleading spin.)

  4. Hartman was traded because he wanted out and was asking for way too much money. Christman, was an injury prone forward who really showed nothing in his season here. So I really don’t think either one was let go because of Curt Onalfo.

  5. No team will spend more time in the desert than KC, except RSL, which arguably is already in the desert in Utah and own an academy at Casa Grande in Phoenix area. Oh and have already been there a week.

    But don’t let those facts bother you. Keep on reporting!

  6. Bravo’s a fine addition. But I have to question Vermes and his personnel choices. They gave up some guys who are decent “depth” players or even starters last year (Cristman? Hartmann?) simply b/c they seemed to be associated with Onalfo. I wonder if they’re going to give Bravo decent service.

  7. I consider SKC as a team on the rise, especially in the weaker East. They should be fun to watch and challenge for a top three finish in the East. Can’t wait to see them play in their new digs.


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