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Sporting KC Demolished by Leon in Pointless Leagues Cup Match

A youthful lineup struggled all over the pitch on a forgettable night in Kansas City.

MLS: Leagues Cup Quarterfinals-Sporting Kansas City vs Club Leon Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City rolled out a less than first choice lineup against Club Leon and got a less than first choice result. SKC’s starting lineup featured seven Homegrown players in the Starting XI including a first team debut for midfielder Ozzie Cisneros. Of the regular starters only Daniel Salloi, Ilie Sanchez and Remi Walter are probably considered regulars (and really it’s usually Ilie or Walter, not both).

Leon on the other hand put out what was described as their “regulars.” It showed immediately.

The young SKC lineup held their own early and even had Leon on their heels a bit in the opening minutes but the holes were immediately apparent on the first counter of the game.

That’s before it all started to come unraveled. First, Jaylin Lindsey went down injured and had to be replaced at right back. This is exactly what you don’t want in a pointless competition. Sticking to the youth movement, Kayden Pierre made his first team debut instead of putting on the veteran Graham Zusi.

From there, it would take less than a minute to concede the first goal of the match. Kaveh Rad put a nice ball through to Salloi who touched it back to the midfield but no one was home. Cisneros tried to get to it but Leon won it, moved it up the wing and crossed it in for a header that deflected off the newly subbed on Pierre. Instead of Roberto Puncec clearing it, he just stood there and Colombatto put home his own rebound. 1-0 Leon.

It went from bad to worse just a few minutes later as another Sporting KC turnover led to a goal for Omar Fernandez. Initially I thought Ozzie Cisneros was fouled but upon review it looks like the Leon player gets the ball and it left SKC outnumbered to make it 2-0.

With Sporting down by two goals, they started to get a little desperate and pushing up the field to try to get one back. On a set piece they got caught on the counter and were outnumbered for Leon’s third of the night (and Fernandez’s second). 3-0 Leon.

At the half Sporting KC made two subs bringing off Salloi and Walter and replacing them with Cam Duke and Gadi Kinda. Cisneros moved to LW and Duke and Kinda tucked inside. The second half started off a bit better with Sporting limiting the chances from Leon (outside of a goal that was called back for offside).

Then Sporting KC finally broke through with Barber working hard to create chances. He created one to Harris that went no where as Harris took too many touches, but then he created one for Duke who took it first time to make it 1-3.

It would be a short-lived comeback attempt when Leon scored immediately after giving up a goal. It was initially ruled offside but the VAR correctly called for review and it was overturned. Upon the review Rad held the initial pass onside. That would be a hat trick for Fernandez who the broadcast team would describe as a creator and not a goal scorer. I supposed that’s when he’s playing a first team type lineup.

And then Leon scored a fifth. Did we mention this got ugly? Jean Meneses gets his first. 5-0 Leon.

Shortly after that, with SKC pushing way too far up the pitch, Leon added a sixth when they got out on a counter where Puncec was left one on two. This time it was Davila with the goal.

Sporting KC had a late shout for a penalty and the VAR even called the ref over to review it. Harris fights for a header and placed it at the top of the six yard box where Ozzie Cisneros wins the ball and gets a shot off but appears to leap to avoid being cleaned out and he still gets contacted in the ankle (his shot went over the bar). However, the ref failed to take pity on KC and give them a PK.

The ref did take some pity though, as he added zero minutes of stoppage time to bring a merciful end to the 1-6 quarter final matchup. Club Leon advances to face the winner of Pumas and New York City FC and Sporting KC get back to holding onto first place in the MLS Western Conference.