Sporting Kansas City (5-14-5, 20 points) fell 2-0 to Supporters’ Shield contenders Austin FC (13-5-5, 44 points) on Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park.

The visitors struck at the tail end of the first and second halves through midfielder Alex Ring and MLS MVP frontrunner Sebastian Driussi as Sporting suffered their third straight league loss and their fifth consecutive MLS defeat at home.

Less than 72 hours removed from a debilitating shootout loss at Sacramento Republic FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals, Sporting fielded a reshuffled lineup as right back Kayden Pierre, winger Marinos Tzionis, striker Willy Agada and midfielders Cam Duke and Felipe Hernandez entered the fray. Agada earned his first start for the club after arriving from overseas earlier this month and coming off the bench in each of Sporting’s last two matches.

Entering the weekend unbeaten in five road matches and boasting the best scoring offense in MLS, Austin threatened inside seven minutes as Driussi settled a pass from Maxi Urruti and sent a 25-yard firecracker inches wide of goalkeeper John Pulskamp’s left-hand post.

Sporting responded with a beautifully orchestrated move of their own at the quarter-hour juncture. Agada did brilliantly to touch Andreu Fontas’ long ball into the path of Hernandez, who embarked on a 40 yard run goalward before spreading the ball left to Tzionis. The 21-year-old Cypriot fired low and forced a save from Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver before the visitors managed to scramble the rebound clear.

Not long later, a wild sequence saw Austin have three goals rightly disallowed. Urruti picked out the top corner with a thunderous long-range blast, Diego Fagundez tapped home on the doorstep and Ethan Finlay slotted home on the breakaway, but all three players were in offside positions upon receiving their passes.

At the opposite end, Sporting captain Johnny Russell dashed onto a long throw-in from Pierre and crossed low for Tzionis near the endline, but Austin center back Ruben Gabrielsen intervened to extinguish the danger near the 30th minute.

Two minutes before halftime, Sporting were reduced to 10 men as Duke picked up his second yellow card and was thusly ejected from the match. Things went from bad to worse for the hosts on the strike of intermission when Ring’s long-range strike skipped through the legs of Pulskamp and tricked into the back of the net, giving Austin a 1-0 advantage to protect.

Manager Peter Vermes made two attacking substitutions at the break as winger Daniel Salloi and newcomer Erik Thommy replaced Tzionis and Russell, respectively. Thommy prompted Stuver to make a save early into his cameo and at the 60-minute mark, Sweat fizzed in a teasing cross that a lunging Agada was unable to steer goalward.

In the build-up to that play, however, Austin midfielder Felipe Martins committed a handball infraction inside the box that initially went unpunished. Consulting VAR during the next stoppage of play, referee Fotis Bazakos awarded Sporting a spot kick and Salloi had his penalty attempt saved by Stuver, who dove low to his right to cast aside the shot.

Sporting’s luck turned for the better in the 67th minute when VAR waived off a goal from Fagundez, who was narrowly offside prior to tapping an easy finish into the net after Pulskamp had made a strong save to deny Finlay from the right side of the penalty area.

In the 87th minute—shortly after Sporting veterans Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi entered the action from off the bench—Austin had another bid for their second goal go begging as late-game substitute Rodney Redes dragged his 15-yard effort across Pulskamp and wide of the frame.

Not to be denied, head coach Josh Wolff’s side grabbed a clinching goal with 90 minutes on the clock. Fagundez drove centrally and slipped a through ball to Driussi to dispatch into the low right corner for his MLS-leading 14th goal of the year.

Vermes’ men will conclude their current homestand next Saturday, Aug. 6, hosting five-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy in a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets are available at SeatGeek.com and the game will air live on 38 The Spot, SportingKC.com and the Sporting KC app.

2022 MLS Regular Season | Match 24
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 17,287
Weather: 74 degrees and partly cloudy

Sporting Kansas City 0-2 Austin FC
Score
1
2
F
Sporting Kansas City (5-14-5, 20 points)
0
0
0
Austin FC (13-5-5, 44 points)
1
1
2

Sporting Kansas City: John Pulskamp; Kayden Pierre (Graham Zusi 78'), Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Andreu Fontas, Ben Sweat; Remi Walter, Cam Duke, Felipe Hernandez (Roger Espinoza 78'); Johnny Russell (C) (Daniel Salloi 46'), Willy Agada (Uri Rosell 90+2'), Marinos Tzionis (Erik Thommy 46')

Subs Not Used: Kendall McIntosh, Kaveh Rad, Robert Voloder

Austin FC: Brad Stuver; Nick Lima, Julio Cascante (Jhohan Romana 46'), Ruben Gabrielsen, Jon Gallagher; Alex Ring (C) (Owen Wolff 58'), Daniel Pereira (Felipe Martins 46'), Sebastian Driussi; Ethan Finlay (Rodney Redes 82'), Maxi Urruti (Danny Hoesen 84'), Diego Fagundez

Subs Not Used: Andrew Tarbell, Zan Kolmanic, Washington Corozo, Moussa Djitte

Scoring Summary:
ATX -- Alex Ring 4 (John Gallagher 4) 45+1'
ATX -- Sebastian Driussi 14 (Diego Fagundez 9) 90'

Misconduct Summary:
ATX -- Julio Cascante (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 25'
ATX -- Daniel Pereira (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 38'
SKC -- Cam Duke (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 39'
ATX -- Maxi Urruti (yellow card; dissent) 42'
SKC -- Cam Duke (red card; second yellow card) 43'
SKC -- Ben Sweat (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 73'

Match Statistics
Stat
SKC
ATX
Shots
11
9
Shots on Goal
4
3
Saves
1
4
Fouls
12
12
Offsides
0
5
Corner Kicks
6
1

Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referee: Cory Richardson
Assistant Referee: Meghan Mullen
Fourth Official: Greg Dopka
VAR: Daniel Radford
AVAR: Jeremy Hanson