Things did not at all go according to plan for Sporting KC tonight as they opened the season against the New York Red Bulls with a 1-1 draw. With a tie game in the 70' Matt Besler would receive his second yellow of the match and be forced to watch from the stands. Despite being down a man, SKC pushed hard for a winner and had several chances inside the last 5 minutes.
The first match of the season saw the debuts of Luis Marin, Krisztian Nemeth, Bernardo Anor, and the rookie Amadou Dia. Dia, or T as he is known, impressed for his professional debut. He played with confidence and looked like he belonged on the pitch. The back line as a whole was exposed a couple times as they learn to play with each other, and with a new keeper.
After a period of feeling each other out to open the game, both teams saw great opportunities in the first half. The Red Bulls found success on the counter attack, but newcomer Luis Marin knew his angles and came up with a big save. On the other end of the field, Krisztian Nemeth looked dangerous and fit to get a goal in his debut. In the 21' he ripped a shot from 25 yards out narrowly missing the crossbar, and only a few minutes later directed a set piece from Zusi off his head just over the bar.
SKC would get on the board in the 50' when Benny Feilhaber sent in a beautiful cross that found Ike Opara for a powerful finishing header. That lead would be nullified only 4 minutes later as Lloyd Sam curled in an equalizer for NY. After looking rather slow in his debut, Peter Vermes brought off Bernardo Anor in the 61' minute for Paulo Nagamura.
Everything changed in the 70' when Besler was shown his second yellow card of the match. Down a man, Feilhaber was forced to play at CB. The SKC defense then looked a little chaotic with a keeper new to the league, a rookie fullback, and a creative midfielder playing as center-back.
As part of damage control, Vermes brought on Erik Palmer-Brown for Graham Zusi and then Jacob Peterson for Krisztian Nemeth. In the closing stages of the match, SKC had several great chances for a winner. Zusi sent a sliding effort over the crossbar and Dwyer couldn't finish two opportunities in front of goal.
Although Sporting will want to take all 3 points at home every game this season, considering the circumstances, they will take this result against a tough NYRB side.