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Sporting KC falls 2-1 in Austin

Defensive mistakes lead to a pair of early goals



Logan Ndenbe with the start in Austin | Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City fell on the road at Austin FC 2-1 Saturday night. A three-minute lapse early in the first half led to Sporting KC dropping all three points on the road. Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes managed the third game in a week by leaving captain Johnny Russell, Alan Pulido, and Tim Leibold on the bench as changes from the last match. The game plan was to manage the first half, keep it level, and bring on the extra offense in the second half. Unfortunately, Sporting KC was having to chase the game when those subs entered the match.

It did not take long for Austin FC to take the lead Jon Gallagher crossed the ball into forward Gyasi Zardes.  Austin’s number nine flicked the ball on goal from close range. Sporting KC keeper Kendall McIntosh made the initial save but deflected right back to Zardes.  The veteran Zardes did not miss on the second chance when he volleyed into the back of the net in the 17th minute.

Less than two minutes later, Austin doubled the lead when the Sporting KC defense broke down. Austin chipped a ball into the SKC box over the efforts of Dany Rosero and Andreu Fontas. Logan Ndenbe was the only defender in the box. The ball bounced to Ethan Finlay who one-timed it on goal and past a diving McIntosh in the 19th minute.

Austin continued to look good but the tide slowly turned after their second goal. The visitors earned a corner and made the most of the opportunity. Daniel Salloi took the corner and sent the ball across to the goal to a crashing Rosero. The Sporting KC defender unleashed a strong header that powered through Austin keeper Brad Stuver.

At half-time, Vermes brought on Russell and Pulido for  Marinos Tzionis and Stephen Afrifa. Gadi Kinda came in for Erik Thommy in the 57th, recently re-signed Felip Gutierrez was brought on when Nemanja Radoja picked up a knock in the 66th and Tim Leibold relieved Salloi in the 81st.  The Sporting KC veterans were unable to notch an additional goal to steal a point on the road.

The MLS All-Star game is this week and Sporting KC does not have any representatives. The next match will be in the  Leagues Cup.

Sporting KC  have nine MLS matches remaining when league play resumes to try to climb into a playoff spot.

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