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Sporting KC falls 3-1 to LAFC

SKC remains winless on the road

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Playing LAFC at their home is not an easy task during the best of times. With Sporting Kansas City’s poor run of form so far in 2022 it was going to be especially difficult but the visitors were holding their own through much of the match.

Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the lineup from their last match, swapping in Logan Ndenbe at left back and Marinos Tzionis into the midfield. Roger Espinoza and Remi Walter seemed to be dual d-mids and Tzionis as a more attacking mid most of the time.

At the start, both teams went back and forth, with a cross right in front of goal just out of the reach of Espinoza as the best chance for Sporting KC. As the game progressed LAFC started to create more possession and chances, but SKC was holding them off.

The game tilted in favor of SKC in the 38th minute when Johnny Russell made one of his patented runs down the right side. The SKC captain’s shot (or cross) was redirected in the goal by LAFC defender Diego Palacios.

The lead did not last long for Sporting KC. A 25-yard Cristian Arango free kick effort rebounded off the Tim Melia’s left post and the clearing effort did not put it far enough out of danger. Palacios gathered up the ball and played it to the far post where Mamadou Fall headed it back across goal, allowing Arango to finish what he started. The game remained level at 1-1 going into halftime.

Sporting KC started the second half on the front foot, creating some opportunities and getting Daniel Salloi more involved but could not break through for another goal.

LAFC made two subs in the 66th minute that proved critical. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jose Cifuentes came on for Latif Blessing and Kwadwo Opoku.

Palacios played a part in a third goal of the match when he played a long ball up to Tajouri-Shradi who had a step on Graham Zusi. Tajouri-Shradi let the ball bounce once and volleyed it towards goal. The ball dipped over a leaping Melia to make is 2-1 for LAFC in the 70th minute.

Cifuentes received a pass from Jesus Murillo and sliced through the SKC defense until he was in the box. His low shot to the back post made it 3-1.

LAFC improves to 5-1-1 with 16 points and tied for an early lead with the Philadelphia Union for the Supporters Shield.

Sporting KC drops to a 2-6-0 record with just 6 points and sole possession of 12th place in the Western Conference. SKC returns home for a two-game home stand against the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas.