Sporting Kansas City had started the same lineup in the first three matches of 2019, achieving wins in both legs of CCL play versus Toluca and a stoppage time loss at LAFC. For the trip to Panama to play Independiente manager Peter Vermes made eight substitions for their quarterfinal match in Panama.
Independiente should have been no surprise in how they played to Sporting KC after seeing them destroy Toronto FC in the round of 16. Independiente did not worry about maintaining possession, instead making sure to use their speed and home field advantage to counter to score 4 times on the Canadian side.
For Sporting KC it was a similar game. The visitors had an almost 71% possession rate and 85% of passes completed but still came under the same counter attacks.
Independiente struck first when they muscled Ilie Sanchez off of the ball. While breaking towards goal, Omar Browne slid the ball through the defensive line to Romeesh Ivey who popped it past Adrian Zendejas to take the lead in the 39th minute.
After half, some good passing found Jaylin Lindsey in the box where he was taken down in the box and a penalty award for Sporting Kansas City. Last year’s regular penalty taker Ilie stepped up and put his effort just inside the left post to even the match and get the valuable road goal in the 51st minute.
It did not take long for the Panamanian side to regain the lead. Alexis Corpas found a little room to shoot from outside the box and unleashed a rocket through the defense and into the upper corner out of reach of Zendejas to make it 2-1.
Despite bringing on Johnny Russel, Gerso Fernandes and Gainluca Busio, the score remained the same.
Sporting KC returns home to face the Philadelphia Union in league play on Sunday and then the second leg versus Independiente on March 14th.