Match Recap

Recap: Russell and Davis strike in Sporting's 3-2 loss to Austin

Captain Johnny Russell and defender Jake Davis scored for Sporting Kansas City (2-6-5, 11 points) in a 3-2 road loss to Austin FC (6-4-4, 22 points) on Saturday night at Q2 Stadium.

Russell fired Sporting into an early lead, tying Dom Dwyer for second in club history with 57 career goals in the MLS regular season. Austin replied with three consecutive goals—a Jader Obrian brace and a Sebastian Driussi header—before Davis set the stage for a dramatic finish with a sublime 22-yard firecracker midway through the second half. Sporting midfielder Erik Thommy was then denied by the crossbar in the 90th minute, thwarting an admirable comeback bid and condemning SKC to a fourth straight league defeat.

Manager Peter Vermes made three changes to Sporting’s lineup from a 2-1 loss to Houston Dynamo FC last weekend. Left back Zorhan Bassong earned his first MLS start since February 2022, center back Robert Castellanos logged his first league start since June 2023, and midfielder Erik Thommy returned to the squad after missing out against Houston for the birth of his first child. Between the posts, veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia notably played the 250th match of his MLS regular season career, becoming the fifth active keeper to reach the milestone.

Russell ignited a strong start for Sporting within 30 seconds of kickoff, winning a tackle near midfield and bursting goalward before dragging a breakaway shot under duress wide of the near post. Fellow forward Daniel Salloi recorded his 65th consecutive regular season appearance on Saturday—now the fourth longest streak in Sporting history—and carved out a decent look shortly thereafter, shouldering off a challenge and unleashing a low drive from the top of the box that narrowly missed the mark.

Entering the night on a four-match home winning streak, the hosts thought they had taken the lead after five minutes. In a flowing foray into the attacking third, midfield playmaker Sebastian Driussi found Zan Kolmanic on the overlap before a cutback ball deflected into the path of Dani Pereira, who pelted a first-time strike into the left corner. However, VAR prompted referee Sergii Boiko to take a second look at the play, and the goal was correctly disallowed for an offside infraction on Austin winger Jader Obrian in the buildup.

An entertaining game ebbed and flowed fervently despite temperatures hovering near 90 degrees, and Sporting were rewarded for their attacking intent in the 19th minute. Midfielder Memo Rodriguez clipped a clever ball over the top for striker Alan Pulido, who created space against his defender and laid a pass to the feet of an on-running Russell, who slotted expertly inside the near post from 12 yards for his first goal of the 2024 campaign. Pulido tallied his first assist of the year, while Rodriguez was credited with a secondary assist and extended his team-high to four assists this season.

Thommy almost doubled Sporting’s advantage in the 23rd minute when his blistering blast from the edge of the area deflected marginally over the crossbar. Austin responded with a good look of their own at the opposite end, but Castellanos sprawled low and extended his foot for an outstanding block to deny Driussi at the corner of the six-yard box.

A costly Sporting giveaway allowed Austin to restore parity at 1-1 in the 28th minute. Melia’s outlet pass was picked off at the top of the box by Pereira, who spread the ball right to Obrian for a lethal near-post finish. Austin’s Colombian winger bagged his second goal of the match 11 minutes later, latching onto a Pereira cross from the right channel and cutting onto his left foot before finding the bottom corner to vault Austin ahead 2-1.

Sporting ended the half on the front foot with Thommy seeing an audacious volley blocked by Pereira, center back Andreu Fontas glancing a header agonizingly wide off a Rodriguez corner kick, and Salloi forcing a save from goalkeeper Brad Stuver before the whistle blew for intermission.

Austin forward Gyasi Zardes entered as a halftime substitute, replacing former Sporting striker Diego Rubio, and had an instant impact by delivering a cross from the right wing for Driussi to nod into the corner of the net for his team-leading fifth goal of the year. The 46th-minute hammer blow put Sporting in a 3-1 hole against an upstart Austin side that has scored 17 of its 19 goals at home this season.

Zardes nearly went from provider to goal scorer on the hour mark, racing onto a diagonal through ball only to see his lunging effort ping off the woodwork and allow Fontas and Melia to extinguish the danger.

Davis cut Sporting’s deficit in half with a spectacular 25-yard bomb in the 63rd minute. The homegrown right back was afforded space from distance and sent a right-footed sledgehammer into the roof of the net past a helpless Stuver for his second goal of the season—both of which have come from outside the area. Sporting leads MLS with six goals from outside the box this year, accounting for 29% of the club’s goal haul in 2024.

The visitors could have conceded a fourth goal in the 82nd minute when Austin won a penalty kick, but Melia dove right to repel an attempt from Driussi to keep the score at 3-2. Melia has saved 16 penalties in the regular season since becoming SKC’s starting keeper in 2015, the most in MLS during that time.

Vermes’ men applied significant pressure in the dying embers and went remarkably close to drawing level in the final minute of normal time, but Thommy’s curler from 18 yards smacked off the crossbar and was subsequently cleared.

Sporting faces a quick turnaround by hosting USL Championship side FC Tulsa in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT with tickets available at and a live stream on

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 13
Q2 Stadium | Austin, Texas
Attendance: 20,738
Weather: 89 degrees and sunny

Sporting Kansas City 2-3 Austin FC
Sporting Kansas City (2-6-5)
Austin FC (6-4-4)

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jake Davis, Robert Castellanos, Andreu Fontas, Zorhan Bassong; Nemanja Radoja, Memo Rodriguez, Erik Thommy; Johnny Russell (C) (Stephen Afrifa 83'), Alan Pulido (Willy Agada 63'), Daniel Salloi (Marinos Tzionis 63')

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Tim Leibold, Robert Voloder, Felipe Hernandez, Khiry Shelton, Alenis Vargas

Austin FC: Brad Stuver; Jon Gallagher, Julio Cascante (Leo Vaisanen 46'), Brendan Hines-Ike, Zan Kolmanic; Dani Pereira, Jhojan Valencia; Jader Obrian (Ethan Finlay 65'), Sebastian Driussi (C) (Matt Hedges 86'), Owen Wolff (Alex Ring 71'); Diego Rubio (Gyasi Zardes 46')

Subs Not Used: Stefan Cleveland, Hector Jimenez, CJ Fodrey, Emiliano Rigoni

Scoring Summary:
SKC -- Johnny Russell 1 (Alan Pulido 1, Memo Rodriguez 4) 19'
ATX -- Jader Obrian 3 (Dani Pereira 1) 28'
ATX -- Jader Obrian 4 (Dani Pereira 2, Jhojan Valencia 1) 39'
ATX -- Sebastian Driussi 5 (Gyasi Zardes 2) 46'
SKC -- Jake Davis 2 (Erik Thommy 1) 63'

Misconduct Summary:
ATX -- Julio Cascante (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 23'
ATX -- Brendan Hines-Ike (yellow card; dissent) 70'
SKC -- Andreu Fontas (yellow card; dissent) 88'
ATX -- Dani Pereira (yellow card; simulation) 89'
ATX -- Jhojan Valencia (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 90'
SKC -- Nemanja Radoja (yellow card; dissent) 90+4'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Sergii Boiko
Assistant Referee: Jason White
Assistant Referee: Nicholas Balcer
Fourth Official: Sergii Demianchuk
VAR: Sorin Stoica
AVAR: Ian McKay