Sporting Kansas City (0-1-2 coming in) headed to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, Saturday night to face FC Dallas (1-1-1) for Matchday Four on the young 2023 season. A 264-minute shutout streak was at stake for Sporting. On the flip side, a three-match scoreless streak was as well. One, or both, was likely to die on the night.
Both would as Right winger Daniel Salloi got Kansas City on the scoreboard in the first half and Alan Velasco replied for the hosts early in the second half. Despite two attempts for one penalty and a later one taken back, Sporting was unable to find the equalizer. Then, a late FC Dallas finish gained the three points for the hosts.
Why this match mattered:
1. The longer the scoreless streaks drags on for Sporting, the more it affects the team. With one more scoreless match, Sporting would reach the team record of four set in 2000 and 2009.
2. Points matter in every part of the MLS schedule.
3. Sporting’s fans, though faithful, thirst for joy.
For his side’s third away match out of four to begin the season, Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes completed the lineup card as he had for three of the four matches:
The boys on the hunt for +3 #SportingKC | @BlueKC pic.twitter.com/s6S71vCusS— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) March 18, 2023
The only change from last week’s squad that drew LA Galaxy at home was a switch at left back as Ben Sweat came back into the starting lineup for Tim Leibold who is hampered by a hamstring injury. Companion wide back Graham Zusi hit a landmark at 300 starts, all for Sporting. “One club”
Ready, Set, Go, Pulskamp… Within the first 12 minutes, the Kansas City goalkeeper was called upon to rush to the top of his box to claim FC Dallas (FCD) through balls thrice. Would those through balls that beat KC’s back four be weighed more precisely as the match goes on or will Sporting adjust?
Felipe Hernandez came on for Midfielder Roger Espinoza in the 67th minute. Seven minutes later, Nemanja Radoja took Thommy’s spot.
After Dallas went up one, Kayden Pierre came on for Sweat and Marinos Tzionis for Shelton.
The Big ones
Strike one… Salloi! Sporting’s first goal of the season came in the 12th minute from Daniel Salloi. Erik Thommy drove at his defender towards Dallas’ box in the inner left channel only to have the ball knocked away. Salloi latched on and hit a shot from 19 yards that deflected off the foot of his marker and dipped over FCD ‘keeper Maarten Paes. The strike was Salloi’s seventh career regular season goal against FC Dallas, the most of any KC player.
Perfect start for Dániel Sallói and @SportingKC. pic.twitter.com/BsWe1SdhK3— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 19, 2023
Leveled… A quick exchange at the top of the box by Dallas to create space, gave Alan Velasco space to finess the ball into the upper left corner of Pulskamp’s net just in front of Sporting’s sliding Robert Voloder in the 55th minute.
Sweat pass leads to penalty… for naught Sporting Left back Ben Sweat played a penetrating ball into striker Willy Agada in the 61st minute. Agada battled and drew a penalty from an awkward Paes challenge. However, after Paes was judged by video review to have moved early after saving Agada’s attempt, Midfielder Erik Thommy was stymied by Paes on the penalty chance repeat.
Ferreira again… Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira has four goals and two assists in nine regular season appearances against Sporting. Make it five goals. The U.S. National Team striker hit a shot in front of Fontas in Sporting’s box on a ball from the right wing. Pulskamp denied, but gave up the rebound, which Ferreira pounced on for the finish in 84th minute.
Pen again? Nope. An initial second yellow on a foul to Agada by Paes in the 88th minute was rescinded after VAR review. Gone was Kansas City’s biggest chance to level late as the side did not create much otherwise in the second half.
Dallas’s direct play almost paid off in the 23rd minute as an attack glided past Left center back AndreuFontas. Would Sporting’s front defenders change their approach to stop the trend?
FCD’s quick ball movement and movement off the ball was continually successful at pulling Kansas City’s center backs out of the middle, as well as breaking Sporting’s midfield line.
When Sporting’s midfield block created turnovers, Kansas City was unable to counter quickly and/or with numbers.
At halftime, Sporting led the shot total 8-6, yet, as has been typical, the quality of their chances was less than the opponent’s.
Moment of the match
The two penalty misses in the 61st minute swung momentum back to the hosts.
Sporting Kansas City Man of the match
Daniel Salloi broke the ice and gave Sporting the lead. No one else climbed above those heights.
Both sides face heavy hitters next Saturday evening as Sporting will host Seattle Sounders (2-1-1) at Children’s Mercy Park, while FC Dallas will travel to Los Angeles to tackle LAFC (2-0-1) at BMO Stadium.