Gianluca Busio, Kansas City’s 18-year-old Number 10, scored the opener, but Orlando City got a fortunate second half goal to come away with a 1-1 draw on Friday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
The match got off to a feisty start. Orlando had a golden opportunity to take the lead less than a minute into the match, but Pulskamp made a desperate save and the second chance soared high over the bar. Just a few seconds later, Sporting KC nearly got one themselves.
Both teams gathered themselves and things calmed down until the 10th minute. A late challenge brought down Gadi Kinda just outside the box for a dangerous free kick. The shot from Remi Walter took a deflection and Nicholas Isimat-Mirin poked it home, but it was called back after an offsides check.
In the 36th minute, Orlando City also had a goal called back. Jonathan Pulskamp was bailed out after coughing up an easy rebound. The Sporting KC defense did very well keeping a tight line, and they were catching Orlando offside all night long.
The first real goal finally came just before the halftime whistle. Busio, wearing ten but playing false-nine, put his team in front after Daniel Salloi pounced a mistake from keeper Pedro Gallese. Salloi had a very good first touch and made a great pass with his second. Busio quickly fired a low shot that went just inside the near post for the 1-0 lead.
With Alan Pulido replacing Kinda to start the second half, Sporting KC had a little more bite in the attack. The Mexican striker immediately began causing trouble and the stadium would respond anytime he was near the ball.
The visitors thought they had equalized in the 49th minute, but yet again it was disallowed for being offside. Peter Vermes’ began allowing Orlando City to have the lion’s share of possession. They stayed organized and dropped back into their own half. Orlando wasn’t able to create any chances by passing it around the final third, and Nani wasn’t able to dance his way through, either.
But then a fluke play struck disaster in the 80th minute. After three deflections & a couple unlucky bounces, the ball dropped in Nani’s lap right in front of goal. He flicked it across the line and just like that, the match was tied. Ironically the goal was originally called offsides, and VAR allowed it.
Sporting KC travel to take on Real Salt Lake next Saturday at 1:00pm.