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SKC falls in shootout to FC Cincinnati but earns a point

Wild match with a red card, two own goals, two penalties and a shootout

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Kinda was one the best for SKC tonight | Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City fell in the shootout on the road at FC Cincinnati in their first Leagues Cup match. It was a match with ups and downs and twists and turns. Sporting KC claimed a lead, went a man down, lost the lead, and took it back again only to see the score leveled once more.Β  With the game level 3-3 at the end, the Leagues Cup match went to a penalty shootout where eventually Cincinnati won 4-2. A red card, two penalties, two own goals, and both teams can regret not earning more.

What already seemed like an uphill battle playing away at the top team in MLS was made no easier with a pair of injuries to regular starters.Β Daniel Salloi (groin) and Nemanja Radoja (ankle) were unavailable for Sporting KC so manager Peter Vermes started Khiry Shelton on the wing and recently returned Felipe Gutierrez in the midfield.

Sporting KC started hot, surprising the MLS-leading FC Cincinnati with strong possession and creating an opportunity that paid off for the visitors in the ninth minute. Shelton drove the ball down the wing and delivered a good cross into the box towards Alan Pulido. Cincy defender Nick Hagglund attempted to head the ball over the net but instead made a perfect shot on goal to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.

Sporting KC kept up the dream start when Gadi Kinda took a restart from a few yards outside the box. Kinda lobbed the ball towards the back post. Dany Rosero slipped away from his defender and smashed a header down past former Sporting KC keeper Alec Kann for a surprising 2-0 lead.

With everything going Sporting KC’s way, the script flipped in favor of the home team in the 30th minute. Yerson Mosquera and Pulido become tangled and went down together. Pulido rises rapidly and headbutts Mosquera. The referee pulled the straight red, sending Puldio off. The Mexican striker will now miss the game against Chivas, his former team.

With the Sporting KC momentum stopped, Cincinnati started their comeback. As John Pulskamp dove sideways in an attempt to block the shot, Ian Murphy’s header deflected down off the cross bar and off of Pulskamp for an own goal.

The momentum understandably shifted to the home team but not long after FC Cincy’s first goal there was a weather delay.

Cincy tied it up in the 56th minute. A long ball to the corner was intercepted by Jake Davis but it deflected to Luciano Acosta in a good spot for Cincy. He laid it sharply across the box to Brandon Vazquez. A left-footed shot from close-range made it 2-2.

Despite the man disadvantage, Sporting KC was still creating some chances and one resulted in a penalty for a handball in the box. Gadi Kinda stepped up and put is past Kann to return a lead to Sporting KC.

FC Cincinnati turned up the pressure and Sporting KC were doing well to defend the lead until the 96th minute when Rosero was called for a handball in the box. Acosta would easily convert to tie it up again deep in stoppage time.

With the game level at the end and both sides earning a point, the two teams went to a penalty shootout as per Leagues Cup rules. Sporting KC had more defensive-minded players on the field at the end while they were trying to hold to a lead. Cincy won both coin tosses, going first and shooting into their supporter’s end. Erik Thommy and Khiry Shelton put the first two in the net for Sporting KC but the next two were not so successful. Remi Walter shot high and the attempt by Andreu Fontas was easily blocked.

 

Correction: I mistakenly listed Walter twice in the shootout results for SKC. I corrected it to give Shelton credit for one of the two penalties scored in the shootout after a reader kindly pointed it out.

 

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