Match Recap

Recap: Record-setting crowd sees Sporting fall 3-2 to Miami

Sporting Kansas City (2-2-4, 10 points) fell 3-2 to Inter Miami CF (4-2-3, 15 points) on a record-setting Saturday night at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

An electric crowd of 72,610 fans—the largest in Missouri history and the third largest attendance for a standalone MLS regular season match—saw a gripping interconference clash sway in favor of the visitors on the 28-year anniversary of Kansas City’s inaugural MLS match at Arrowhead Stadium in 1996. Despite a brilliant brace from Sporting midfielder Erik Thommy, Miami emerged with three points behind a goal and an assist from 2023 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and additional strikes from Diego Gomez and Luis Suarez.

With multiple goals in five consecutive regular season matches for the first time since 2000, Sporting will look to bounce back next Saturday, April 20, when archrivals St. Louis City SC (1-1-5, 8 points) visit Children’s Mercy Park for another mouthwatering battle in the Soccer Capital of America. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT with tickets available at and live coverage on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV.

Coaching his 567th match for Sporting in all competitions, Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to his starting lineup from Sunday’s 3-3 draw against the Portland Timbers. Andreu Fontas, returning from a hamstring injury for his first appearance since March 9, replaced Robert Voloder in central defense. Further up the field, Designated Player Alan Pulido earned his first start since March 23, stepping in for injured midfielder Memo Rodriguez. On the Sporting bench, forward Johnny Russell was available after missing each of the last three games with a hamstring strain.

A riveting atmosphere in one of America’s most iconic sports venues set the stage for an excellent end-to-end spectacle on the pitch. Buoyed by its boisterous home supporters, Sporting drew first blood after just six minutes as a pair of Germans combined to breach the Miami defense. Left back Tim Leibold swiftly won possession with a crunching tackle near midfield and carried the ball forward before spreading it right to Thommy, who took a settling touch on the right edge of the box before sending a superb, dipping drive to the far left corner past Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender. The lethal strike was Sporting’s earliest goal of the season and the earliest goal by SKC since Thommy scored in the fourth minute of a 3-2 road win at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 7, 2023.

Not to be outdone, Miami responded on a well-worked attack that yielded an 18th-minute equalizer. Receiving a pass with his back to goal from 40 yards out, Messi swiveled and slipped a through ball into the path of an on-running Gomez, whose first-time belter nestled into the right corner for his second tally of the campaign.

Messi, who in 2022 won the World Cup with Argentina to cement his status as the best player of all time, was on the end of two fleeting chances near the half-hour juncture. Jordi Alba, Messi’s longtime teammate at FC Barcelona, set up both looks with service from the left channel, but Messi’s header bounced harmlessly wide and his left-footed effort was comfortably saved by Tim Melia. Closer to halftime, the Argentine curled a 30-yard free kick inches wide of Melia’s left-hand post.

Sporting twice went close to retaking the lead on the stroke of intermission. Agada took an incisive pass from Thommy, swiveled near the penalty spot and had his shot corralled by Callender. Only 30 seconds later, Remi Walter raced through on goal and had his lunging attempt blocked by defender Tomas Aviles on a last-ditch challenge. Walter suffered an injury on the play and was forced to exit the contest, summoning Felipe Hernandez as his midfield replacement.

The teams traded decent looks inside the first five minutes of the second half—Suarez had an audacious attempt saved by Melia and Agada had a good look blocked by Nicolas Freire—before Messi fired the visitors ahead in the 51st minute. Afforded space 22 yards from goal, Miami’s No. 10 sent a left-footed screamer into the right corner to become the only MLS player with five goals and five assists this season.

Parity was restored once more in the 58th minute when Thommy blew the proverbial roof off Arrowhead. Salloi’s in-swinging corner kick from the left flag was headed away by a Miami defender, but Thommy was on hand to hammer home a jaw-dropping volley that caromed off the near post before nestling into the back of the net. The scintillating strike gave the 29-year-old his first two-goal game as a Sporting player and his first two-goal game since Nov. 19, 2016, when he played for German third-division side Jahn Regensburg.

A frustrating turn of events gifted Miami its winning goal in the 71st minute. Sporting committed a costly turnover near its own penalty area that allowed Gomez to ping a square pass to the back post for Suarez to tap home at the doorstep, making the score 3-2 and marking the third straight home match in which Sporting conceded three goals.

Desperately seeking to tie the game, the hosts committed numbers forward in the dying embers but were unable to find a third goal in a wild encounter that served as a tantalizing precursor to FIFA World Cup 2026, which will see Arrowhead Stadium host four group stage games, a round of 32 matchup and a quarterfinal for the biggest sporting event on the planet.

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 8
GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium | Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 72,610
Weather: 77 degrees and sunny

Sporting Kansas City 2-3 Inter Miami CF
Sporting Kansas City (2-2-4, 10 points)
Inter Miami CF (4-2-3, 15 points)

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas, Tim Leibold; Nemanja Radoja, Remi Walter (Felipe Hernandez 45+1'); Erik Thommy (Johnny Russell 84'), Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi (C); Willy Agada

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Zorhan Bassong, Robert Castellanos, Kayden Pierre, Robert Voloder, Marinos Tzionis, Alenis Vargas

Inter Miami CF: Drake Callender; Marcelo Weigandt, Tomas Aviles, Nicolas Freire, Jordi Alba (Franco Negri 78'); Sergio Busquets, Julian Gressel (Benjamin Cremaschi 67'), David Ruiz; Lionel Messi (C), Luis Suarez, Diego Gomez (Yannick Bright 90+3')

Subs Not Used: CJ Dos Santos, Noah Allen, Ryan Sailor, Lawson Sunderland, Leo Alfonso, Shanyder Borgelin

Scoring Summary:
SKC -- Erik Thommy 2 (Tim Leibold 1) 6'
MIA -- Diego Gomez 2 (Lionel Messi 5) 18'
MIA -- Lionel Messi 5 (David Ruiz 2) 51'
SKC -- Erik Thommy 3 (unassisted) 58'
MIA -- Luis Suarez 6 (Diego Gomez 5) 71'

Misconduct Summary:
MIA -- Tomas Aviles (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 15'
MIA -- Diego Gomez (yellow card; delaying a restart) 56'
SKC -- Felipe Hernandez (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 79'
SKC -- Nemanja Radoja (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 83'
SKC -- Jake Davis (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 89'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referee: Jeremy Kieso
Assistant Referee: Kali Smith
Fourth Official: Rosendo Mendoza
VAR: Joe Dickerson
AVAR: Mike Kampmeinert