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Gut punch: Sporting KC gives up late goal to settle for draw with Vancouver Whitecaps

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A stoppage-time goal from the Vancouver Whitecaps forces a 1-1 result.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City could not weather the storm as they allowed a stoppage time goal from the Vancouver Whitecaps to settle for a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.

Krisztian Nemeth was the goal-scorer for the home side, while Derek Cornelius’ first career goal provided the point for Vancouver.

Sporting KC came out strong to start the match, looking better than they had to begin in more than a month. Their best chance came in the fourth minute when Benny Feilhaber — playing in his second match back with Sporting — put a ball over the head of the Whitecap back line and found Felipe Gutierrez making a run to the center of the box. However the delivery was too high for Gutierrez and his weak touch was easily saved by the Vancouver keeper.

However, the Sporting KC control continued and finally resulted in a goal in the 37th minute. Feilhaber won the ball at the midline and sent it forward to Johnny Russell, who was advancing alongside Nemeth in a 2v1 situation on the counter. Russell wasn’t able to find a clean shot once the Vancouver backline caught up, so he sent it back to Nemeth who, after a quick, patient move to open a lane, put it calmly home for his seventh goal of the year. After a frustrating month, the opening goal of the match was a large form of relief for the home side.

Sporting KC continued to control the possession for the rest of the half but could not double their lead. However, they took the 1-0 advantage into the halftime break, a much better situation than many of their previous matches.

Early in the second half, however, Sporting KC shot themselves in the foot. In the 51st minute, Nemeth went in late on a challenge to Felipe and his studs-up tackle to Felipe’s ankle earned him a straight red card. This put the home side at a man-disadvantage and also forced Felipe out of the game for the Whitecaps.

This situation gave the Whitecaps an opportunity to push the match and the tempo changed. Suddenly, Vancouver was finding better opportunities and forcing Sporting KC to sit back.

Sporting held their nerve, however, maintaining their lead for the next twenty minutes until they received some indirect help. After a tackle in the 74th minute, the Whitecaps’ Doneil Henry pulled up lame and clutching his hamstring. Normally he would be subbed off but Vancouver had just used their final sub of the match and could not take him off. For all intents and purposes, the match was back on level terms with both sides playing with ten.

Even with the match equal in terms of players, the Whitecaps still maintained control. Sporting KC were able to hold all the way until the 94th minute, but then the away side finally put one home.

Ali Adnan put a small cross into the center of the box where Vancouver substitute Derek Cornelius was there to volley it into the net for the equalizer. It was the 21-year-old’s first MLS goal in his young career, and it saved a point for the Whitecaps.

Sporting had a couple more opportunities in the waning seconds but never seriously threatened and had to settle for the draw at home. The match brought the winless streak to seven in a row in league play, nine in all competitions.

Next up for Sporting KC is a home match against the Seattle Sounders next Sunday on national TV.