Match Recap

Recap: Sporting and St. Louis trade haymakers in 3-3 thriller

In a hotly contested battle between bitter Western Conference rivals, Sporting Kansas City (2-2-5, 11 points) and St. Louis City SC (2-1-6, 12 points) battled to a wild 3-3 draw on Saturday night at electric Children’s Mercy Park.

Alan Pulido gave Sporting the early lead on a majestic team goal before St. Louis responded to take a 2-1 halftime advantage. An own goal forced by Daniel Salloi drew Sporting level in the 65th minute and Erik Thommy fired Sporting ahead once more on 77 minutes, but the visitors restored parity on the stroke of full time through Tomas Totland to split the points in a heavyweight clash that delivered one haymaker after another.

A sold-out crowd of 19,637 provided an atmosphere worthy of what has quickly become a must-see MLS fixture and one of the league’s fiercest rivalries. The attacking deluge on Saturday—which treated fans to a rematch of the 2023 playoff series in which Sporting swept top-seeded St. Louis—saw Manager Peter Vermes’ side bag multiple goals for the sixth straight match, marking the first time that Kansas City has accomplished that feat since its inaugural 1996 season.

With a three-game homestand in the rearview mirror, Sporting will hit the road next Saturday, April 27, to face another Midwestern counterpart in Minnesota United FC. Kickoff at Allianz Field is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV.

Wielding an unchanged lineup from last weekend’s historic contest against Inter Miami CF at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Sporting was part of yet another end-to-end encounter that dripped with intensity. After St. Louis had a flurry of early half-chances go begging, the hosts drew first blood on a wonderfully worked goal in the 17th minute.

Just as he did last weekend versus Miami, left back Tim Leibold ignited the breakthrough with an assertive interception at midfield before pinging the ball forward to Pulido. From there, the Mexican played a delectable give-and-go with Willy Agada on the edge of the box before sweeping a superb finish into the far corner past St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Burki. Pulido now has three goals and three assists in six MLS appearances against St. Louis dating back to 2023 and has become the third-fastest player in Sporting history to hit 30 regular season goals for the club, doing so in 69 matches.

St. Louis responded in impressive fashion, peppering the Sporting goal and almost landing a counter-punch in the 28th minute when center back Tim Parker’s header off a set piece delivery was saved brilliantly by the sprawling Tim Melia. Imposing forward Joao Klauss was next to threaten in the 30th minute, embarking on a mazy run into the area only for Jake Davis to produce a heroic, goal-saving slide tackle near the penalty spot.

Sporting’s Missouri neighbors got their opening goal a mere 60 seconds later. After Leibold was barged off the ball by Chris Durkin, Rasmus Alm swung in a low cross that Klauss slotted home inside the near post for his third goal of the campaign. The striker’s bid for a brace was thwarted shortly thereafter when his glancing header was palmed away by the outstretched Melia.

St. Louis’ first-half physicality yielded another goal on the stroke of intermission. Klauss won possession with a firm challenge 40 yards from goal and played the ball into the left channel for Celio Pompeu, who cut centrally and curled an excellent strike into the top corner for his third goal of the year and his second in as many visits to Children’s Mercy Park.

Boasting an increased level of their own bravado after the break, Sporting made it 2-2 with 25 minutes remaining. Ten minutes after entering the game as an impact substitute, captain Johnny Russell served a free kick from the right wing to the opposite side of the box. Salloi settled the ball off an attempted headed clearance from Klauss and lofted a hopeful chip toward the back post from a tight angle. A leaping Burki got his mitts to the ball but inadvertently helped guide it over the goal line to ignite fervent celebrations inside Children’s Mercy Park.

Brimming with momentum, Sporting built a 3-2 cushion in the 77th minute. With St. Louis committing numbers forward, center back Andreu Fontas drove a line-breaking ball in behind for Thommy, who timed his attacking run brilliantly and raced through on goal with only Burki to beat. The in-form German did precisely that with a lethal finish into the top right corner for his team-leading fourth goal of the campaign and his third in the last two matches. Fontas, making his 131st appearance for the club in all competitions, tallied his first primary assist for the club on the play.

Unfortunately for Sporting, the final plot twist of a swashbuckling barnburner fell in favor of St. Louis with 92 minutes on the clock. Following a skirmish at midfield, the ball spayed wide right to Totland, the City SC right back who took a touch past his marker and dragged a low shot across Melia and into the left corner for his first MLS goal. The 3-3 scoreline would hold to the full-time whistle, drawing an end to the frantic affair.

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 9
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 19,637
Weather: 52 degrees and cloudy

Sporting Kansas City 3-3 St. Louis City SC
Sporting Kansas City (2-2-5, 11 points)
St. Louis City SC (2-1-6, 12 points)

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas, Tim Leibold; Nemanja Radoja, Remi Walter; Erik Thommy, Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi; Willy Agada (Johnny Russell 54')

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Zorhan Bassong, Robert Castellanos, Kayden Pierre, Robert Voloder, Memo Rodriguez, Khiry Shelton, Alenis Vargas

St. Louis City SC: Roman Burki; Tomas Totland, Tim Parker, Kyle Hiebert, Anthony Markanich (Nikolas Dyhr 88'); Tomas Ostrak (Hosei Kijima 64'), Chris Durkin; Rasmus Alm (Nokkvi Thorisson 73'), Indiana Vassilev (Aziel Jackson 64'), Celio Pompeu; Joao Klauss

Subs Not Used: Ben Lundt, Jake Nerwinski, Joakim Nilsson, Akil Watts

Scoring Summary:
SKC -- Alan Pulido 2 (Willy Agada 2) 17'
STL -- Joao Klauss 3 (Rasmus Alm 2, Chris Durkin 1) 31'
STL -- Celio Pompeu 3 (Joao Klauss 1) 45+3'
SKC -- Own Goal (Roman Burki) 65'
SKC -- Erik Thommy 4 (Andreu Fontas 1) 77'
STL -- Tomas Totland 1 (unassisted) 90+2'

Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Daniel Salloi (yellow card; dissent) 45+7'
SKC -- Nemanja Radoja (yellow card; dissent) 47'
STL -- Tim Parker (yellow card; delayinga restart) 63'
SKC -- Jake Davis (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 71'
STL -- Celio Pompeu (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 85'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referee: Justin Howard
Assistant Referee: Diego Blas
Fourth Official: Lukasz Szpala
VAR: Geoff Gamble
AVAR: Robert Schaap