Match Recap

Recap: Sporting holds LAFC in exciting draw

Goalkeeper Tim Melia had six saves to help Sporting Kansas City (0-0-3, 3 points) continue its unbeaten start to the 2024 campaign with a 0-0 draw at reigning Western Conference champions LAFC (1-1-1, 4 points) on Saturday night at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.

In an entertaining encounter full of scoring chances on both sides of the pitch, Melia and LAFC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris stood tall to ensure a sharing of the spoils in the 12th all-time meeting between the clubs. With his 77th career clean sheet for Sporting in all competitions, Melia becomes the 10th goalkeeper in MLS history to record 30 regular season road shutouts.

Unbeaten in their first three matches of the season for the first time since 2017, Sporting will return home next Saturday, March 16, to host the San Jose Earthquakes (0-3-0, 0 points) in a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets for the contest are available at

Manager Peter Vermes fielded a familiar lineup that featured just one change from last weekend’s 1-1 home draw against the Philadelphia Union. With Remi Walter nursing a minor ankle injury, midfield newcomer Memo Rodriguez earned his first start since signing for Sporting in February. In attack, Mexican striker Alan Pulido—whose 33rd birthday was Friday—hit a notable milestone by making the 350th club appearance of his professional career.

A vibrant opening in Hollywood saw both sides threaten early. Melia produced two early saves, dropping low to corral Ryan Hollingshead’s header off a set piece and denying Eduard Atuesta in sensational fashion with an outstretched hand after the Colombian midfielder had been played through on goal.

At the opposite end, captain Johnny Russell had a deflected 20-yard strike touched over the crossbar by French World Cup winner Lloris in the eighth minute. Shortly thereafter, German midfielder Erik Thommy had two long-range efforts go begging—the first fizzing marginally wide and the second skipping into the hands of Lloris—before Russell curled a free kick high from a difficult angle in the 20th minute.

A suffocating wave of Sporting pressure led to a pair of quickfire scoring chances near the half-hour mark. Winning possession from LAFC on a well-executed team press, Rodriguez slipped a through ball into the path of Pulido, whose side-footed shot under duress was palmed aside by Lloris. The hosts failed to clear the danger and a follow-up attempt fell to Rodriguez, who hammered high and wide of the target from the top of the box.

Vermes’ men conjured another scare in the 34th minute with Thommy dinking a ball over the top to Pulido, who took a touch in the box and swiveled to tee up Russell for a right-footed shot that dragged amiss. The Scottish winger went even closer to scoring eight minutes into the second half, receiving a diagonal pass from Pulido and cutting centrally before unleashing a left-footed curler that beat the outstretched Lloris by kissed the far left post.

LAFC showcased their counterattacking prowess seconds after Russell hit the woodwork, breaking down the right channel only for Cristian Olivera’s shot to drag harmlessly wide of Melia’s right-hand post. Olivera could have etched his name onto the scoresheet once more in the 62nd minute but was unable to apply the finish touch at point-blank range off a low-driven cross from the left side of the box.

After absorbing a brief storm from LAFC, Sporting countered themselves in the 70th minute as Thommy galloped forward and spread the ball left to Salloi, who forced Lloris into a save at the near post. Sporting’s goalkeeper came up clutch 11 minutes later when Melia stymied LAFC forward and reigning MLS Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga with a smart stop that left the Gabon international ruing his luck.

A breathless, all-action sequence in the 84th minute delivered chances on both sides. Rodriguez uncorked a low piledriver that Lloris did well to cast aside at his left post before substitute David Martinez shanked a breakaway shot well off target with only Melia to beat. Five minutes later, Lloris was busy again as he collected a well-struck 30-yard blast from Pulido.

Melia saved his best moment for the final play of the game. With LAFC hurling numbers forward in search of a winner, Olivera was afforded a decent look inside the penalty area, but his left-footed strike was repelled by an in-form Melia as referee Lorenzo Hernandez blew the full-time whistle.

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 3
BMO Stadium | Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 22,175
Weather: 60 degrees and clear

Sporting Kansas City 0-0 LAFC
Sporting Kansas City (0-0-3, 3 points)
LAFC (1-1-1, 4 points)

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas, Tim Leibold; Nemanja Radoja, Erik Thommy, Memo Rodriguez; Johnny Russell (C), Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Zorhan Bassong, Robert Castellanos, Kayden Pierre, Robert Voloder, Felipe Hernandez, Stephen Afrifa, Willy Agada, Alenis Vargas

LAFC: Hugo Lloris; Ryan Hollingshead, Jesus Murillo, Aaron Long, Omar Campos; Timothy Tillman, Ilie Sanchez (C) (David Martinez 78'), Eduard Atuesta; Cristian Olivera, Mateusz Bogusz, Denis Bouanga

Subs Not Used: Abraham Romero, Sergi Palencia, Eddie Segura, Erik Duenas, Tommy Musto, Tomas Angel, Nathan Ordaz

Scoring Summary:

Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Memo Rodriguez (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 27'
LAFC -- Omar Campos (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 31'
SKC -- Andreu Fontas (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 49'
SKC -- Dany Rosero (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 60'
LAFC -- Eduard Atuesta (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 88'
SKC -- Jake Davis (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 90+2'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Lorenzo Hernandez
Assistant Referee: Clarence Clark
Assistant Referee: Hayden Oscanoa
Fourth Official: Trevor Wiseman
VAR: Alan Kelly