By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Sporting Kansas City earns a hard-fought point on the road in a 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at Nippert Stadium. The 16-year-old, Gianluca Busio scored the equalizer; becoming the youngest player in MLS history to score in back-to-back matches.
Manager Peter Vermes mixed things up when he drastically changed the lineup for the first time this season. With more than half of the regular starters missing, Sunday’s match introduced Adrian Zendejas, Nicolas Hasler, Rodney Wallace, and Gedion Zalem; all of whom made their club debuts.
Zendejas was quickly called into action just seconds after kickoff when Kenny Saief struck in a shot off of a low cross from Allan Cruz. But his attempt was blocked by the 23-year-old keeper. Yohan Croizet, who made his first start as a central forward, was quick to reply but was denied by Spencer Richey.
The 17th minute was nothing short of dramatic. Roland Lamah was fouled by Ilie Sanchez who brought him down following a miscue from Zendejas. After the play underwent review, the caution was mistakenly given to Ilie and instead shown to Andreu Fontas. A penalty was awarded to FC Cincinnati. Darren Mattocks stepped up and covered the first penalty in FCC’s history.
Fortunately, the Chula Vista native managed to disband Mattocks’ attempt to double the lead in the 27th minute.
Although it was clear from the start the heavy rotation was taking a toll on some players – the squad still created a few dangerous chances. For example, Kelyn Rowe and Busio proved to be a good tag team, as the duo produced two huge chances. The first came in the 33rd minute after Busio helped direct the ball to Rowe, but he hit it over the post. The second chance resulted in the equalizer.
SKC would get another huge opportunity to tie things up before the half in the 37th minute when Johnny Russell curled a shot into the back of the net, but his goal was called offsides.
Kelyn Rowe sent a long shot to Busio who ran the equalizer home into an open net in the 63rd minute. A miscommunication between Greg Garza and Richey would give the 16-year-old his second goal of the campaign.
The remainder of the second half saw SKC get chance after chance, but all opportunities would either go wide of the post or were saved by Spencer Richey. The second half also included regular starters, like Krisztian Nemeth, who entered the match for Croizet in the 70th minute.
Now sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference, Sporting KC will switch gears once again as they host C.F. Monterrey for the second leg of the Concacaf semifinals on Thursday, April 11.
Featured image: Sporting KC
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