Sporting Kansas City hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy in their first home game of the 2023 season.
They got off 30 shots but failed to find the back of the net but managed a clean sheet in the draw. Did we tell you there was potent offense and a shaky defense?
There was only two changes to the starting lineup with Tim Leibold taking over for Ben Sweat and Khiry Shelton returning for Marinos Tzionis. On the bench Nemanja Radoja made his first appearance since signing in the offseason.
Time to open the 2023 season at @cmpark #SportingKC | @BlueKC pic.twitter.com/hfPnFIwdFy— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) March 12, 2023
The visitors were without one of their stars in Chicharito, as we knew, but they still put out a formidable offensive lineup.
Vamos Angelinos ❤️— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 12, 2023
https://t.co/wIJHVxNo24#LAGalaxy x @ModeloUSA pic.twitter.com/FrIRT6hfsd
Before the game could kick off, the Cauldron unveiled another quality tifo.
RAISE HELL pic.twitter.com/VU4dU6TVqW— The Cauldron (@KCCauldron) March 12, 2023
Sporting got off on the front foot and put a lot of pressure on the Galaxy and barely letting them out of their own end. But the most dangerous early shot was from the Galaxy but Pulskamp came up big and pushed it wide before the offside flag was raised for the follow-up touch.
The game settled down a bit after the LA shot on goal, but in the 20th minute Raheem Edwards was shouting for a PK after minimal contact between him and Zusi but the ref wasn’t having any of it.
In the 29th minute, after some sustained pressure from Sporting, it looked like they were going to score on a corner, but before the ball could be shot, the ref called a foul when it appeared the LA keeper, Bond, cleaned out his own player.
Continuing the trend of dangerous set pieces, in the 33rd minute Roger Espinoza got a snap header off a corner, but it was too near the keeper who gathered it for another save.
In the 35th minute Erik Thommy had a promising interception in the midfield, but he delayed before making the pass to Agada and it missed the mark, ending a promising counter.
In the 40th it looked like Sporting were going to finally breakthrough when Salloi got two shots in rapid succession in the box but somehow, they were both blocked. Then they forced an immediate turnover, but the cross was caught by Bond. Shortly after another quick attack came up the left side but Thommy drug his shot wide of the post!
The pressure stayed on in the 44th when Remi Walter had a ball settle to him near the top of the box and he hit a rocket that Bond was forced to dive and push over the bar. Just before the half Sporting tested the keeper again, but it went into the half even at zero.
Sporting KC had 17 shots in the first half, eight of them on target, with another six of them blocked. The record for shots in a half is 23. The Galaxy just had one shot for the entire half.
The second half got off to a helter-skelter start before Pulskamp came up big in the 54th minute to shut down the Galaxy attack on a nice wide ball to Alvarez. Sporting came flying back down the field in the next minute with a well-served cross from Graham Zusi that Agada got his head to while fighting through contact from Leerdam, who remained down holding his head.
In the 60th minute, Sporting KC had a golden opportunity as a Daniel Salloi played a dangerous ball into the box that Agada touched and Shelton looked to shield the ball instead of shooting and the eventual chance was taken by a teammate and gathered by the keeper. KC kept the pressure on and played another ball in shortly after that Agada headed wide of the net for the goalkeeper.
The first sub came in the 63rd minute when Marinos Tzionis replaced Khiry Shelton. In the 67th Nemanja Radoja made his debut coming on for Roger Espinoza. Oddly enough, he appeared to be playing the #8 spot, instead of the #6 defensive midfielder spot.
In the 72nd minute Leibold had a timely interception and run all the way up the field and found Tzionis but he couldn’t get his shot on target. Minutes later, Leibold was done and was replaced in the 76th minute by Ben Sweat.
In the 84th minute, a Tzionis cross was deflected awkwardly, and Bond crashed into his post to push it out for yet another corner.
The game petered out from there and ended nil-nil. Sporting KC are back in action next weekend against FC Dallas on the road in Texas.