A listless Sporting Kansas City attack led to a frustrating match as Sporting KC fell 2-0 to New York City FC in the season opener.
Maximiliano Morález and Jesús Medina were the goal-scorers for New York City.
For all the discussion about former NYCFC forward Khiry Shelton joining Sporting KC this offseason, he wasn’t even in the 18 for this match. Diego Rubio got the start at center forward, while Johnny Russell and Yohan Croizet were on the wing. The return on that trade, Saad Abdul-Salaam, was in the 18 for NYCFC but did not see minutes.
New York City struck first in the 32nd minute. After he received the ball in the box, Villa cut inside toward the goal and sent a pass across the face of goal, where Maximiliano Morález was there to tap the ball home for the score. It was their first assist and goal of the season respectively and NYCFC held a 1-0 lead.
A few moments later, Sporting KC had a scary moment when Ike Opara was down for an extended period of time following a collision with NYC keeper Sean Johnson. Opara and Johnson had both been going for a ball that had been sent into the box and met in midair. Opara returned to the match after a brief injury delay.
With three minutes of stoppage time, NYCFC almost doubled their lead right before the half. Sporting KC was caught with two many men forward following a disastrous free kick attempt as NYC launched a counterattack with Villa leading the charge. Although they had a 3-on-1 advantage with only Melia to beat, Villa was caught from behind by Cristian Lobato, who made the crucial tackle to save the goal just as Villa entered the box.
That vital play kept the score at 1-0 heading into halftime.’
However the away side would get that goal right as the second half started. Ben Sweat was wide open and flying down the wing with the ball following a giveaway. His cross was on target to find Jesus Medina open in front of goal, where Medina got the ball past Melia to double the lead.
From there, listlessness turned into frustration. Sporting KC had several chances but ran into some new issues.
In the 79th minute, Daniel Salloi took the ball into the box and clashed into defender Maxine Chanot and was taken down. This was initially called a penalty for Sporting and offered them a chance to get back in the match. However, the play went to video review and it was determined that there was no foul at all to the shock and dismay of SKC.
Ten minutes later, video review would come into play once again. This time, Gerso Fernandes had a scoring chance denied as he advanced into the box. Chanot again was the aggressor on the foul and the play was not originally called a penalty. Following a video review, the decision that the foul happened outside the box was upheld but Chanot was hit with a red card for a denial of goal-scoring opportunity. Sporting KC did not score on the ensuing free kick.
They also did not score in the six minutes of extra time as they were held to a 2-0 loss by New York City. Next up for Sporting KC is an away trip to Chicago as the Fire open up their season.