Long-range goals were the key to victory for Sporting Kansas City Sunday. Nashville native Felipe Hernandez scored in the first half and veteran Graham Zusi followed up in the second half. Nashville made a furious attempt to level it but the home fans left disappointed.
Hernandez played youth soccer down the road from Nashville’s new GEODIS Park and a large contingent of family in attendance including his father. Hernandez said his father doesn’t typically want gifts but said he would accept a goal from his son on Father’s Day.
In the 41’st minute, Hernadez took a free kick from 40-yards out. The ball sliced through the crowded box, just past SKC attackers and Nashville defenders leaving keeper Joe Willis waiting for a deflection that never came. Willis tried a last second dive but was unsuccessful and Felipe delivered a storybook goal for his father and Sporting KC.
CAUGHT HIM SLEEPING, FELI! pic.twitter.com/2O3ZDV4dsg— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) June 19, 2022
Veteran Graham Zusi followed up in the 51st minute when he received a ball from Remi Walter. Hernandez helped out with a run to draw Nashville defenders away giving Zusi space to step up with the ball. A quick blast from his left foot from 20-yards out into the far corner gave SKC a 2-0 lead.
We present Graham Zusi's regularly scheduled banger from distance, everyone pic.twitter.com/dKehcWWtjs— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) June 19, 2022
Nashville grabbed a goal back in the 63rd minute when SKC midfielder Cam Duke lett the ball get away. Nashville countered with Hany Mukhtar charging forward. Tim Melia made the save on Mukhtar’s effort but unfortunately steered the ball back into the middle where Ake Loba was ready to strike the rebound into the net.
With the score 2-1 in favor of the visitors, Nashville made every effort to level the match, and they thought they had in the 84th minute. Former SKC forward C.J. Sapong connected on the back post from Mukhtar but the goal was disallowed with Mukhtar judged to be offside.
Nashville almost had anther great opportunity when the referee awarded a penalty shortly before the end of regulation when Alex Muyl went down in the box. Eventually Victor Rivas was recommended a VAR check for an offside in the buildup and Rivas rescinded the penalty.
Nashville entered the match riding a 25-game unbeaten streak at home in all competitions going back to November of 2020. Nashville can now be added to the list of teams receiving their first loss in their home stadiums.
Correct, #SportingKC have given all these teams their 1st loss in 1 of their home stadiums.— Mike (@downthebyline) June 19, 2022
San Jose (Spartan)
Houston (BBVA now PNC)
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Andreu Fontas, Logan Ndenbe; Remi Walter (Kortne Ford 80’), Felipe Hernandez, Cam Duke (Roger Espinoza 74’); Johnny Russell (Kayden Pierre 90+7’), Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi
Subs Not Used: Kendall McIntosh, Kaveh Rad, Ben Sweat, Robert Voloder, Jake Davis, Marinos Tzionis
Nashville SC: Joe Willis; Eric Miller (Randall Leal 76’), Jack Maher, Dave Romney (Taylor Washington 64’); Alex Muyl, Sean Davis, Anibal Godoy (C) (Dax McCarty 64’), Tah Anunga (Ake Loba 46’), Daniel Lovitz; C.J. Sapong, Hany Mukhtar
Subs Not Used: Will Meyer, Elliot Panicco, Josh Bauer, Luke Haakenson, Ethan Zubak
SKC — Felipe Hernandez 1 (unassisted) 41’
SKC — Graham Zusi 1 (Remi Walter 1) 51’
NSH — Ake Loba 1 (unassisted) 63’
NSH — Anibal Godoy (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 40’
SKC — Tim Melia (yellow card; time wasting) 81’
SKC — Johnny Russell (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 86’
SKC — Roger Espinoza (yellow card; dissent) 89’