The turning points of the first half came late and both ended in Sporting Kansas City’s favor. A penalty was called in the 41st minute when Tim Melia brought down Gyasi Zardes. The Columbus forward took the penalty and Melia deflected it away from goal and out of play.
A few minutes later in stoppage time, Federico Higuain’s tackle came in studs out and after a trip to check the video review, referee Robert Sibiga returned and gave Higuain a straight red.
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes was forced into an early substitution when Seth Sinovic was injured from an apparent slap by Cristian Martinez. The incident was not reviewed and Sinovic had to leave the match and was replaced by Cristian Loboto in the 58th minute. Why the slap was not reviewed has not been determined yet.
With the man advantage Sporting KC was controlling the possession but not generating enough dangerous chances. Possibly because he needed a rest in the stifling heat and perhaps to help some offense, Vermes brought on Gerso Fernandes to replace Yohan Croizet. Johnny Russell moved into the middle and Gerso slid into his spot at right wing.
In perhaps the most un-Vermes like sub this year, Roger Espinoza left the game in the 87th minute to be replaced by 19 year-old Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal. While it was his first appearance for Sporting Kansas City, Kuzain has been a regular at the d-mid spot for the Swope Park Rangers but has been an attacking mid in the past as well.
With Columbus a man down and defending well, Sporting KC could not break through for the needed goal and the match ended with 0-0 draw.
Sporting KC sit atop the Western Conference with 25 points, tied for the most points with Atlanta United FC and the very same Columbus Crew.
Story will be updated shortly....