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Sporting Falls To Club Leon In Leagues Cup Quarterfinals

(Aug. 10, 2021) — Sporting Kansas City were eliminated from the 2021 Leagues Cup following a 6-1 loss to Club Leon on Tuesday night at Children’s Mercy Park. Cam Duke found the back of the net in the second half off an assist from fellow Sporting KC Academy product Grayson Barber, but Leon prevailed behind a ruthless attacking display to reach the semifinals.

The remainder of the 2021 campaign will see Sporting compete exclusively in MLS, with a compelling regular season matchup slated for Saturday at Western Conference rivals FC Dallas (5-7-6, 21 points). First-place Sporting (10-4-4, 34 points) will travel to Toyota Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff as the clubs meet for the second time in 15 days. Supporters can catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com
and the Bally Sports app as well as Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

Navigating a busy stretch of seven games in 22 days, Sporting started six Academy products in a competitive match for the first time ever as 17-year-old midfielder Ozzie Cisneros earned his first team debut, Jaylin Lindsey and Kaveh Rad featured along the backline and Barber, Wilson Harris and Daniel Salloi formed an all-Homegrown attacking trio. Cisneros notably became the third youngest player to start a match in club history, while fellow midfielders Ilie Sanchez and Remi Walter added veteran experience to the side. Between the posts, 20-year-old goalkeeper John Pulskamp landed his first Sporting appearance since May 12.

Pulskamp did well to prevent Leon from opening the scoring in the ninth minute, advancing off his line to win the ball cleanly off the feet of Victor Davila and extinguish a breakaway opportunity. Shortly thereafter, an injury to Lindsey prompted the introduction of 18-year-old debutant and fellow Sporting KC Academy product Kayden Pierre on the right side of defense.

Santiago Colombatto fired Leon ahead in the 16th minute, slotting low into the right corner after his initial header off Angel Mena’s cross was blocked by Pierre. Sporting conjured a spirited response, however, and Harris almost equalized in the 19th minute when his side volley at the top of the box fizzed marginally high.

Omar Fernandez struck twice before halftime to put the result out of reach. The Colombian hammered home inside the near post to double his team’s advantage in the 27th minute before finishing off a lethal counterattack with a crisp finish past Pulskamp in the 44th.

Sporting tested Leon goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota for the first time in the 55th minute. Substitute Gadi Kinda’s corner kick was cleared only as far as Barber, whose shot from 15 yards was corralled by the visiting team’s captain. A few minutes later, Cota was called into action once more as Barber set up Harris for a shot from a difficult angle on the right side of the penalty area.

Duke, who had entered as a halftime substitute, etched his name onto the scoresheet in the 61st minute. Barber squared up his defender on the right edge of the box, drove toward the touchline and cut the ball across the grain to the on-running Duke, whose side-footed finish nestled into the left corner. Barber tallied his first Sporting assist on the play, while Duke now has two goals in his last three competitive appearances.

Leon were quick to restore their three-goal cushion in the 62nd minute when Mena smashed high into the roof of the net to punctuate an attack involving Elias Hernandez and Ivan Rodriguez. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR evoked referee Juan Gabriel Calderon to take another look and the scoring play was awarded. The visitors added a fifth on 72 minutes, with Jean Meneses striking from close range off a clever Mena feed, before Davila made the score 6-1 six minutes later.

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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