Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids were welcomed by a crowd of 1,018 at Kino North on Saturday for the second Desert Showcase MLS preseason match.
The Western Conference foes put on a show for the Tucson fans, battling until the final seconds of stoppage time to a 0-0 draw.
Despite it being just a training match, both teams played to their fullest.
Two yellow cards were issued after two players ran into each other and a small skirmish broke out. Two more were handed out in the second half.
“They’re grown men and it’s a competition,” SKC coach Peter Vimes said. “They wanna win. They wanna play. It’s tough play but ( think you have to take into consideration that the players are maybe a little off right now.
“They over-commit sometimes and they end up running into a guy. Majority of the time, I don’t think that’s malicious.”
Colorado got looks at a couple different squads, rotating the two units.
“I thought we weren’t great with the ball, but defensively we did everything we wanted to,” Rapids coach Robin Fraser said. “Whether we were in our set defending, or later in the half we pushed up and really started to get pressure to them.”
Sporting Kansas City played their starters for the first 45 minutes, but also rotated to a different lineup at the start of the second half.
“I thought from a play perspective and also from a stamina point of view we’re in a pretty good place,” Vermes said. “We probably would’ve liked to clear a few more chances with that first group, but all-in-all our organization was really good and our possession was good.
“We recognized situations really well. so I nu think from that perspective it was really, really good.”
SKC regularly travels to Tucson to play preseason matches. They are training this year in Scottsdale.
“Its a great setup for us there,” Vermes said. “We’ve been here many, many times. The great thing is that we always have good competition playing these games. Colorado’s a really good team. It was good for us to play an MLS team. … The competition’s been great and we hope we can use that to build for the season.”
Colorado will play the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Kino North for the final match of the Desert Showcase.
The Rapids will then travel to Guatemala to play Comunicaciones FC in the CONCACAF Champions League on Feb. 17.
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Nathaniel Martinez is an aspiring sports journalist who is a Sahuaro High School graduate and Pima Community College student. He has written for the Aztec Press at Pima. While at Sahuaro, he played football for longtime coach Scott McKee and he wrestled for the Cougars.