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Late equalizer spoils home opener for Sporting KC

An inexplicable call from the (replacement) refs gave the Union a chance in the dying moments, and they took it.



Credit: Thad Bell

The Sporting KC defense held the Union to just one shot on goal through the first 95 minutes on Saturday night. But that second one in the 96th minute off the head of Alejandro Bedoya spoiled the party at the home opener.

Children’s Mercy Park unveiled a whole new atmosphere to kick off the new season. The new screens look fantastic, and the new lights brought more life to the pregame festivities.

The home side clearly felt that lift. They were threatening right from the start, getting into the box multiple times in the first five minutes. Johnny Russell nearly opened the scoring himself in the 3rd minute, but actually missed a pass to Alan Pulido for a sitter.

Remi Walter eventually got things going with a lovely curler, kissing it off the far post for effect. Jake Davis was credited with an assist, but his pass only got through because Jose Martinez injured himself on the play.

Martinez stayed in the match after receiving treatment for a while. Perhaps a hurt ego, more than anything.

SKC almost went into the half with a two goal lead. As we hit stoppage time, Philadelphia keeper Oliver Semmle saved a bullet of a strike from Salloi. The rebound fell to Russell, but his effort went just wide.

Bedoya, now 36, came off the bench at halftime and was almost instantly booked. He got Walter with a studs up tackle, which left the SKC man on the ground for several minutes. Somehow, Bedoya avoided seeing red.

That decision would prove to be vital.

(Replacement) Referee Rafael Bonilla began to lose control in the second half after several questionable – or just flat out wrong – decisions. Players on both sides were getting heated and challenges were coming with more bite.

Just before the Union’s equalizer, the assistant referee inexplicably awarded a throw-in to Philadelphia. Only a few seconds later they won a corner kick. Tim Melia attempted to punch it away, but it fell for Bedoya to smash it home and steal the result from KC.

The crowd, the players, and Peter Vermes were quite vocal with their displeasure after the match.

It’s a really frustrating ending to a gorgeous night in KC. That single point will be hard to swallow, but the defensive core can be proud of their performance in the first two matches of the season.

Next Saturday we are headed to Los Angeles to take on Denis Bouanga and LAFC, who were thrashed 3-0 by RSL this week.


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