C.J. Sapong vs Chivas USA

Bravo's stoppage time goal earns 1-1 draw

Sporting Kansas City’s nine-game unbeaten streak was on the ropes Saturday night, but Omar Bravo played hero, heading in the tying goal in stoppage time to give the home team a second-straight 1-1 draw.

LaBrocca scored half an hour into the first half, but Kansas City’s unrelenting pressure finally paid off in the 93rd minute as Bravo beat the Chivas defense to a mishit clearance to put the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Sporting (5-6-7) is now unbeaten in 10 League games and 12 overall while Chivas USA (5-7-7) narrowly missed out on their second win in a row.

The game’s first real scoring chance came in the 12th minute when Kansas City’s inability to clear their lines very nearly resulted in another highlight-reel goal for LaBrocca. As Chivas knocked the ball around the outskirts of Sporting’s penalty box, LaBrocca found himself unmarked with Jimmy Nielsen off his line and chipped a delicate shot over the goalkeeper and off the crossbar.

Sporting followed that near miss up with an opportunity of their own. C.J. Sapong came close to beating Dan Kennedy in the 26th minute when he latched onto the rebound from a corner kick, cut inside near the corner of the box and unleashed a curling shot that was just over the crossbar and nestled in the top of the net.

But, for the second-straight game, Sporting found itself with an early deficit at home when Chivas put a nifty passing sequence together that LaBrocca finished off in the 30th minute. Blair Gavin and Justin Braun both split the Kansas City defense with precise passes, and LaBrocca side-footed the ball into the bottom left corner to give the Goats a first-half lead.

The goal was the 10,000th in League history and LaBrocca’s third in three games. The midfielder leads Chivas with six goals this season, one more than his career total entering this season.

That goal and some lackluster play prompted a change from Sporting manager Peter Vermes as he brought on Kei Kamara for the Stojcev in the 38th minute. Kamara nearly found Omar Bravo with a low ball across the box minutes later, but the half still ended 1-0 to the visitors.

Vermes made another change to start the second half, replacing Julio Cesar with Luke Sassano, but it was LaBrocca and Chivas that nearly tacked on another goal early in the second stanza. Unfortunately, Marcos Mondaini couldn’t get out of the way of LaBrocca’s shot and blocked his teammates goal-bound effort.

That was followed up by a moment of controversy as Sporting had a penalty appeal waived off in the 59th minute. Bravo appeared to have made his way past Michael Lahoud at the edge of the penalty area before going down awkwardly, but referee Jasen Anno deemed it a legal challenge much to the chagrin of the home crowd.

That moment seemed to awaken both Kansas City and their fans, and Chance Myers and Matt Besler both had well-struck efforts saved by Kennedy to keep the score at 1-0. Robin Fraser responded by sending Jorge Flores and Francisco Mendoza into the game, but Kansas City remained on the front foot.

But Kennedy was on his game, making two incredible saves in the last 10 minutes to push away a rasping shot from Kamara as well as a well-placed header from Bravo. But he couldn’t do anything about the tying goal as Besler knocked the ball forward, C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara battled to help the ball on and Chivas’ bad clearance found Bravo at the far post for a simple header, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy.