Kansas City tops San Jose in preseason tune-up
Sporting impresses with 3-man front line; 'Street soccer' Downtown
Major League Soccer preseason continued in Tucson on Saturday, with the San Jose Earthquakes falling to Sporting Kansas City, 2-1.
The Quakes opened up the scoring in the third minute, with former FC Dallas midfielder Marvin Chávez delivering the ball to Chris Wondolowski. As he had done for his team sixteen times last season, "Wondo" found the back of the net.
Unfortunately for San Jose, Kansas City responded scant moments later when Kei Kamara evened up the score. Kamara is part of Kansas City's three-man attack that gave teams fits in the second half of last season.
The three-forward lineup was familiar, except for new Quake Bobby Convey on the left in the place of C. J. Sapong. Sapong played in the second half.
Kansas City took the lead in the second half after both teams had taken most of their regulars off the field. Konrad Warzycha scored off of a free kick in the 80th minute.
"We're okay, there are still a couple of things that need to be done," Kamara said after the match. "It's the first game, and when you start the preseason with a win, no matter how it comes, we'll take it."
The Earthquakes made their way back to San Jose to continue their preseason Saturday afternoon. Kansas City will be traveling to Casa Grande to face DC United on Feb. 11.
Downtown, there's a slab of asphalt just east of the Martin Luther King Jr. apartments that is empty and unused, but the folks at FC Tucson have found a temporary purpose for it: street soccer.
It will be converted to a "street soccer" court for the next 2nd Saturdays Downtown event. 2nd Saturdays will be extended this year for our state's centennial, taking up the entire weekend from Friday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 12. Street soccer will be part of Saturday's festivities, which run from noon until 10 p.m.
Street soccer was the brainchild of Greg Foster, managing partner for FC Tucson. Foster talked to downtown businessman Fletcher McCusker and Donovan Durband, then with Councilman Steve Kozachik's office. In conjunction with the Downtown Tucson Partnership, they found an appropriate spot for an asphalt pitch.
Details are still being worked out, but Foster is hoping to reserve daytime hours for younger players with adults playing in the evening. Players from Sporting Kansas City will be present, participating either as referees or coaches.
Teams will have three people each, and the plan is for a "king of the hill" format.
Foster's demands of players are simple.
"Bring two friends and your tennis or indoor soccer shoes."
The Downtown Tucson Partnership is responsible for leasing the place where the street soccer courts will be drawn.
Michael Keith, CEO of the Downtown business group, was interested in finding a way to integrate soccer into the larger Arizona centennial celebration, and he's happy with the result: the street soccer players will be in the shadow of a Ferris wheel in the Hotel Congress parking lot.
"We created a very dynamic corner for the centennial event," he said.
More importantly for downtown, Keith is hoping that a successful soccer related event can lead to bigger things.
"There's an enormous fan base in the Downtown community," he said. "This is a great way to test the market for soccer downtown and explore the possibilities that soccer can be integrated into plans for an arena in the future."
One can always hope.