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Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City, preseason: Observations and recap

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Reading too much into any one preseason result is silly. That's especially true when a team is obviously trying things out.

So before you get all bent out of a shape about the Seattle Sounders' sloppy 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City in Saturday's Desert Diamond Cup match, consider a few things:

The three-back formation was totally new: Not only have the Sounders never started a match with a three-center back formation, but they apparently haven't even trained much this year that way. Sigi Schmid basically said he wanted to try it out. The weirdest part of it was using Leo Gonzalez as a wing back, a role he's not really well suited for at this point in his career. Somewhat predictably, Gonzalez struggled to get very involved.

Despite those obvious issues -- and giving up two goals in the first half -- the defense didn't look that bad. The midfield was a bit more of a mess, granted, but the only that could reasonably be chalked up to the formation was the second one and that was mostly due to a very good entry pass. The other two goals were the result of Zach Scott horribly misjudging a header and Jimmy Ockford giving the ball away on an awful pass into the middle of the field and then failing to make a clearance.

The struggles aside, the Sounders still created chances: In the first half, I had the Sounders and Sporting KC even 2-2 on good scoring chances. Clint Dempsey probably finishes that Tyrone Mears cross 9 of 10 times and Lamar Neagle made a nice move to open space, only to his his left-footed shot just wide.

In the second half, I had the Sounders with five good chances and KC with three. In addition to the Sounders' two goals, Chad Barrett had a great chance go wanting when he cut it back instead of firing a shot, Kenny Cooper had an open chance hit off the inside of the post and somehow stay out and Victor Mansaray had a wonderful look that he hit over the crossbar. Mansaray also scored a great goal when he fought through a defender to head in Aaron Kovar's corner and Cooper did a good job to pound home a close-range shot.

Kovar looked, really, really good: We didn't get to see a lot of Kovar last year, at least not on the first team, and it seemed like a safe assumption he'd get most of his playing time with S2 this year. But after his second-half performance on Saturday, I'm not so sure. Kovar had assists on both goals, had the pass that set up Cooper's shot off the post and generally looked dangerous almost every time he touched the ball. We knew he could strike a good ball with his left foot, but he also showed some good control on the dribble, has put on quite a bit of muscle and suddenly looks like he could be a significant contributor. If you want one real positive to take away from this game, look no farther than Kovar.

Mansarary looked pretty good, too: It wasn't just the goal the 17-year-old scored -- a header in traffic with a defender draped on his back off a corner kick -- but his overall play that was impressive. Mansaray's through ball to Chad Barrett showed great vision and a quality touch -- even though it was waved off for offside -- he showed good composure in setting up Cooper's shot off the post and he repeatedly put himself in dangerous positions. He may need to wait awhile before making his senior team debut -- Schmid said Mansaray was heading back to Seattle to play with S2 while he finishes his senior of HIGH SCHOOL -- but there's definitely reason to think he can be a good MLS player.

Next game: vs. New England Revolution on Wednesday at 5 p.m.