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Sporting KC’s offensive struggles continue in 0-0 draw with the Columbus Crew

A 45 minute lightning delay interrupted play with about 15 minutes left in the game.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Sporting Kansas City Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Having lost six of their first eight games, Sporting KC entered a game desperate to get a full three points and try to course correct in any possible way.

Fans looking for some changes to the starting XI did get a couple changes, but not the one many had been looking for. Kortne Ford stepped into the back line in place of Andreu Fontas and Uri Rosell returned to the midfield, but Khiry Shelton remained the starting striker in place of Nikola Vujnovic.

Marinos Tzionis, one of the lone bright spots from the LAFC game, was on the bench in favor of a more defensive minded midfield of Rosell, Roger Espinoza and Remi Walter.

Columbus made a large change of their own having traded star striker Gyasi Zardes to the Colorado Rapids just a day before the match, though he had only logged just over 200 minutes for the Crew in 2022 so far.

Things got off to an unfortunate start for Sporting KC as Nicolas Isimat-Mirin had to be subbed off in just the 5th minute after a scary head-to-head collision with James Igbekeme, causing Robert Voloder to come in for Kansas City.

One of the first big chances of the game came in the 15th minute when Voloder gave away a terrible pass that lead to a great counter attack for Columbus. It took a heroic slide from Kortne Ford to block the Miguel Berry’s shot to keep the game level at 0-0. Just one minute later the Crew had another chance with SKC on their heels, but Yaw Yeboah’s shot went wide of the net.

Referee Fotis Bazakos became the main character in the first half for Sporting KC fans, as numerous questionable no calls and his refusal to pull out a card became a running theme that nearly led to a fight between the two sides at one point.

There were shouts for a penalty near in the 42nd minute when Walter was taken down in the box, but Bazakos was uninterested. He finally found his cards in stoppage time of the first half, giving the first yellow of the game to Pedro Santos and a second to Uri Rosell just minutes later.

A header at the six yard line from Khiry Shelton off a set piece nearly put Sporting ahead, but ultimately the game stayed scoreless going into the halftime break.

The first 15 minutes or so of the second half didn’t bring much opportunity for either side, but Peter Vermes brought on attacker Marinos Tzionis in for Uri Rosell to try and spark a desperately lacking attack.

The first good chance of the second half for Sporting came off a quick restart in the 63rd minute where Tzionis found Salloi in the box, but Daniel’s shot was blocked and then gathered by Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room.

Columbus nearly had a point blank tap in at the 75th minute, but a second massive sliding stop from Kortne Ford kept the game scoreless.

After a lengthy weather delay of about 45 minutes, the same players came back out for both sides to finish off the game. Sporting nearly got lucky with what would have been the second own goal in as many weeks off a Johnny Russell cross, but Room dove just enough to slap the ball away.

Ultimately neither side was able to put the ball away and the game ended in Sporting KC’s first draw of 2022.

Though the result may not be what SKC was hoping for, one bright spot was the play of Kortne Ford, who looked more than capable of stepping into a full time starting CB role for Peter Vermes. Don’t be surprised if you see him in the starting XI on a more consistent basis, especially with Isi likely out for a while with a potential concussion and facial fracture, per Aly Trost.

Sporting KC host FC Dallas next week at 7:30 p.m. on April 30 at Children’s Mercy Park as they look to get back to their home winning ways.