Sporting falls 2-1 on the road against Austin FC

Sporting Kansas City (6-11-8, 26 pts.) fell to a 2-1 defeat on the road to Austin FC (9-9-5, 32 pts.) at Q2 Stadium down in Texas on Saturday night. Dany Rosero’s first-half goal proved to be inconsequential as two goals in three first-half minutes from Austin’s Gyasi Zardes and Ethan Finlay put the hosts in an unassailable lead.

Peter Vermes made three changes to a team that was playing their third match in seven days, as Logan Ndenbe replaced Tim Leibold at left back, Marinos Tzionis coming in for Johnny Russell on the right wing and rookie Stephen Afrifa earning his first MLS start in place of Alan Pulido.

Afrifa almost enjoyed a dream start to the match, closing down Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver’s clearance and seeing the ball ricochet over the bar from close range in just the third minute.

Austin almost forced their way in front in the 10th minute as Diego Fagundez clipped a free kick to the far post that found Kipp Keller who sent a towering header over the bar from six yards out.

The hosts eventually found the breakthrough in the 17th minute as Gyasi Zardes met Jon Gallagher’s cross and after seeing his initial header repelled by Kendall McIntosh, the former USMNT striker fired home the rebound to give Austin a 1-0 lead.

It went from bad to worse for Sporting as just two minutes later, Austin doubled their lead. Fagundez sent an outside-of-the-foot ball that split the Sporting backline, allowing Ethan Finlay to fire a first-time strike beyond McIntosh and into the back of the net.

Sporting almost pulled a goal back in the 26th minute as Nemanja Radoja set up Erik Thommy 20 yards from goal, but he was unable to trouble Stuver with his low strike.

Sporting found their lifeline in the 33rd minute as Dany Rosero thundered home a header off Daniel Salloi’s corner kick for his second goal of the campaign, making the score 2-1 at halftime.

Sporting made a pair of big changes at the halftime interval, with top scorer Pulido and captain Russell replacing Afrifa and Tzionis, respectively, but it was Austin who almost found the next goal as Jon Gallagher turned inside the area and saw a powerful effort from a tight angle pushed away by McIntosh.

Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez, who returned to the club earlier this month after starring as a Designated Player from 2018-2020, came on as a substitute in the 66th minute to mark his first appearance for the club since Oct. 6, 2019.

Austin substitute Rodney Redes almost restored the home side’s two-goal advantage in the 71st minute, latching onto the ball following a turnover from McIntosh but the Sporting goalkeeper atoned for his error by tipping his low finish just wide of the post.

Sporting pushed forward late on but neither Gutierrez nor fellow sub Gadi Kinda were able to trouble Stuver with speculative efforts from distance as Sporting fell to 6-11-8 heading into the Leagues Cup break.

Sporting now readies for Leagues Cup 2023, with the team set to open play in Group 3 of the Central Region with a visit to Supporters’ Shield leaders FC Cincinnati in what will be Sporting’s first-ever visit to TQL Stadium next Sunday, July 23. The match will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT and air on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 25
Q2 Stadium | Austin, Texas
Attendance: 20,738
Weather: 94 degrees and clear

Sporting Kansas City 1-2 Austin FC
Sporting Kansas City (6-11-8, 26 points)
Austin FC (9-9-5, 32 points)

Sporting Kansas City: Kendall McIntosh; Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas (C), Logan Ndenbe; Nemanja Radoja (Felipe Gutierrez 66’), Erik Thommy (Gadi Kinda 57’), Remi Walter; Marinos Tzionis (Johnny Russell 46’), Stephen Afrifa (Alan Pulido 46’), Daniel Salloi (Tim Leibold 81’)

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Robert Voloder, Roger Espinoza, Khiry Shelton

Austin FC: Brad Stuver; Nick Lima, Julio Cascante, Kipp Keller, Jon Gallagher; Daniel Pereira (Jhojan Valencia 13’), Owen Wolff, Sebastian Driussi (C) (Rodney Redes 43’); Ethan Finlay, Gyasi Zardes (Maxi Urruti 46’), Diego Fagundez (Will Bruin 84’)

Subs Not Used: Matt Bersano, Hector Jimenez, Adam Lundkvist, Brandon Craig, Sofiane Djeffal

Scoring Summary:
ATX – Gyasi Zardes 6 (Unassisted) 17’
ATX – Ethan Finlay 4 (Unassisted) 19’
SKC – Dany Rosero 2 (Daniel Salloi 5) 33’

Misconduct Summary:
SKC – Andreu Fontas (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 8’
SKC – Jake Davis (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 53’
ATX – Julio Cascante (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 59’
SKC – Peter Vermes (yellow card; dissent) 96+

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referee: Meghan Mullen
Assistant Referee: Kevin Lock
Fourth Official: Natalie Simon
VAR: Fotis Bazakos
AVAR: Fabio Tovar

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
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 2020 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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