Danny Barbir’s 70th minute strike was the difference as Sporting Kansas City II handed the Indy Eleven their first loss at Lucas Oil Stadium in over two years. Just three days after snatching their first win of the season in Louisville, SKC II brought down another powerhouse of USL.
Jahon Rad’s first start of the season was one of six changes from Sporting II’s win on Wednesday, as Camden Riley and Kaveh Rad both dropped to the bench for the first time this season. The Indy Eleven made five changes from their 4-1 win earlier in the week over Hatford Athletic, which included goalkeeper Jordan Farr getting his season debut.
The first half was pretty evenly played and ended scoreless without either side coming too close to a goal. The match’s only goal came from an unlikely source, as center back Danny Barbir applied the classy finish from the top of the box after Enoch Mushagalusa and Mason Leeth had a great combination to create the opportunity from a recycled corner kick. Despite no shortage of chances that followed for the Indy Eleven, which included a header from Neveal Hackshaw that clattered against the crossbar and a couple of misses from USL’s leading scorer Tyler Pasher, SKC II escaped with their second consecutive win.
Saturday’s win for Sporting KC II now puts them on six points and carries them into third place from Group E, hopping over Louisville City FC with the goal differential tiebreaker in SKC II’s favor. The Indy Eleven’s second loss from their last three matches keeps them in first place of Group E.
Perhaps the only performance that was worrying was the performance of Brooks Thompson. Had some good saves, but also had some uncharacteristic touches with the ball when distributing and had a difficult time getting good distance on his punts and goal kicks after picking up an injury early in the match. In his first start of the season, Jahon Rad played extremely well for the majority of his 85 minutes in the holding midfield role.
There has already been a lot of growth this season, and it will be interesting to see how or if Peter Vermes works his first team players into SKC II after such an encouraging restart without any first team players so far. In the past, we’ve seen the first team players drop down to the then Swope Park Rangers and disrupt any rhythm that SPR might have had.
Sporting KC II will attempt to extend their winning streak to three games on Wednesday, August 5th, when they make their first of four trips to West Community Stadium to play St. Louis FC.
Full match highlights: