Today features the last of Arizona’s pre-season training games. In one of two scheduled matches, Sporting Kansas City will face our local squad FC Tucson over at Kino Sports Complex.
The game comes, by the way, after KC experienced two straight weeks of the mildest winter weather the Old Pueblo has to offer. Today is overcast and it’s raining in some parts of town even as I type.
I talked to both Jimmy Nielsen and Jon Kempin this weekend. I bring this up not to drop names, but as a way of telling you I know a little about who is starting in goal today. Nielsen will be training on his own today, while “homegrown” nineteen year old Kempin will be given the start. I don’t know if this means that starters are being rested: Kempin played the lions share of an earlier match against San Jose and shared the field with many starters. I don’t know if Eric Kronberg, who subbed in for Nielsen in the match against DC United, is expected to play.
Out for FC Tucson is Kareem Smith. Smith anchored the back line and deserves a lot of the credit for keeping los Tucsonenses competitive in pre-season tune-ups. After seeing Smith play, some folks in the Kansas City organization connected him to some teams in Asia and he flew out yesterday for some tryouts. One of the promises made to the players brought in from out of state for pre-season is that they’ll get looks, and the Trinidad and Tobago international got some.
The match is at 11:00. Kansas City flies out later today and we go into a lull before teams arrive next week for Desert Diamond Cup.