After a disappointing road loss at Vancouver, Sporting Kansas City returned home to Children’s Mercy Park looking for their third home win in as many games this season. It wouldn’t be easy, though, as Nashville SC entered the match coming off a 1-0 victory at the Columbus Crew with one of the more stout defenses in the league.
Unfortunately Sporting’s early season home form wouldn’t continue.
Sporting KC looked to start quick as Johnny Russell had two opportunities within the first four minutes of the match — though neither were on target. Nashville countered with some attacking chances of their own, but a couple defensive clearances to go along with some Tim Melia saves kept the score even at zero through the first ten minutes.
Alex Muyl thought he changed that for Nashville in the 12th minute as he blasted a loose ball off a CJ Sapong header past Tim Melia, but the assistant referee flagged for offside to call off the goal.
It didn’t matter much, though, as mere seconds later Hany Mukhtar was pulled down in the box by Nicolas Isimat-Mirin for a penalty. It looked as if Nashville’s No. 10 may have been in an offside position, but the VAR didn’t signal for a review and the foul stood. Fortunately for Sporting, Tim Melia is one of the better PK stoppers in the history of the league, and Mukhtar’s mediocre effort was stopped with relative ease by the KC keeper.
Daniel Salloi almost headed a gorgeous cross from Graham Zusi into the lower right corner of Nashville SC’s net in the 20th minute, but Nashville keeper Joe Willis kicked his foot out at the last second to deflect the ball just wide of the target.
After a number of chances for both sides, Sporting KC finally struck first in the 26th minute. It all started with an absolutely gorgeous solo run from Daniel Salloi from near midfield to the top of the box. He slipped a pass through to Ben Sweat on the left side of the box, and the fullback found Remi Walter with the late run into the box near the penalty spot. Walter struck the ball with confidence off his first touch and slammed it home for the game’s opening goal.
The two sides traded barbs for the remainder of the first half, but nothing came to fruition and Sporting went into the break leading 1-0.
Unfortunately for SKC it didn’t take long for Nashville to pull level in the second half. A ticky tack foul called on Roger Espinoza gave a Nashville a dangerous set piece about five minutes into the half, and centerback Dave Romney got on the end of the cross to level the game at 1-1.
Things got worse for Sporting in the 69th minute as Nashville earned another corner kick. SKC’s defense was unable to clear the ball, and CJ Sapong tapped it past Melia to give Nashville a 2-1 lead.
Sporting made offensive subs bringing on Nikola Vujnovic, Marinos Tzionis, and Logan Ndenbe to try and level the match. They almost pulled level with a near wonder-goal by Graham Zusi from distance with about ten minutes left in the match. Salloi almost struck in the 88th minute but bounced a strong shot off the far post of Nashville’s net. Ultimately despite their best efforts, SKC wasn’t able to pull level and dropped their first home game of the year.
Sporting KC now fall to 2-5-0 on the year with only six points through seven games. There have been no shortage of injuries the team has had to deal with to start the year, but the lack of goal scoring and losses piling up are sure to fuel an already nervous fire among SKC fans.