Sporting Kansas City's four-game road trip ended with a 3-1 loss at Orlando City SC on Sunday. Krisztian Nemeth returned from international duty to score his ninth goal of the MLS campaign, tied for the team lead, while Benny Feilhaber set the club's new single-season record with his 19th assist in all competitions, including an MLS-best 14 assists in the regular season.
Orlando City SC, without Kaka due to injury, opened the scoring- and ended a streak of 535 minutes without one of their players scoring a goal - in the third minute at the Citrus Bowl with the fastest goal in club history as Adrian Winter struck for the first of two times on the night. Luke Boden delivered a free kick that found Winter at the back post for a header into the back of the net.
The Lions didn't let up and came close to doubling the lead just two minutes later, however Lewis Neal pushed his shot wide from inside the six-yard box. Sporting Kansas City, which has allowed the fewest shots (279) of any MLS team in 2015, did well to recover over the remainder of the first half, not conceding a single shot in the next 45 minutes of play.
On the opposite end, Sporting Kansas City's search for an equalizer produced a pair of near misses. Dom Dwyer's header carried narrowly over the crossbar on a corner kick taken by Graham Zusi in the 17th minute. Dwyer, who was Orlando City SC's team MVP while on loan in 2013, then forced a save from Tally Hall in the 21st minute and Nemeth later sent a shot that deflected inches outside of the post in the 36th minute.
The second half saw no shortage of action, beginning with the home side in the 50th minute when rookie Cyle Larin failed to capitalize on a Sporting KC turnover and sent his shot high of the target on a two-on-one transition. Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin, making his first start in over a year for Sporting KC, was then called into action for a sprawling save on Neal five minutes later.
The stop would prove pivotal when Sporting KC claimed the game-tying goal in the 59th minute. Seth Sinovic won the ball inside midfield and Feilhaber subsequently picked out Nemeth to his left. The Hungarian international, who made two appearances in Euro 2016 qualifying last week, split two Orlando City defenders on the dribble and placed his shot into the top right corner.
With the momentum firmly in Sporting KC's advantage, the visitors surged forward in the five minutes that followed and were twice on the cusp of flipping the scoreline in their favor. Dwyer was on the end of a cross from Feilhaber in the 60th minute, though the Englishman couldn't re-direct it cleanly and Hall was quick to collect before the ball could cross the line.
Sinovic, making his 150th appearance for the club in all competitions, again sparked a scoring opportunity with a defensive intervention in the 65th minute, tackling the ball away from Rafael Ramos to win possession that culminated with a chance for the go-ahead goal. Zusi, a native of Orlando and playing his first competitive game in central Florida, fired a first-time shot with his left foot from just inside the penalty area that had Hall frozen in place only to end up hitting the net on the wrong side of the near post.
Instead of Sporting KC grabbing the lead, it was Orlando City SC that buried the game-winning goal from the ensuing goal kick. Second half-substitutes Brek Shea, making his first appearance since June, and Bryan Rochez combined for the Honduran Designated Player's first MLS goal. Orlando then took firm control with a third goal on the team's very next shot. A give-and-go between Winter and Neal inside the 18-yard box unlocked the Sporting KC defense and set up Winter for the final touch, making him one of only two MLS players with a brace in Week 28 (along with Golden Boot leader Kei Kamara).
Sporting Kansas City, having played to a scoreless draw in Portland on Wednesday before being tasked with a cross-country flight, would muster a final foray forward in the 80th minute courtesy of summer signing Jordi Quintilla, whose shot was not far from putting his side back in contention, before being reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute. Dwyer was shown a straight red card by referee Jair Marrufo in the aftermath of an off-the-ball altercation with David Mateos,
Despite a five-game winless streak, Sporting KC remains in fifth place in the Western Conference with seven games remaining -- all against teams in the West -- in the regular season, as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Sept. 30. The club will now return home to host FC Dallas at 6 p.m. CT on Friday at Sporting Park. Tickets for the match, sponsored by U.S. Bank, are available via Ticketmaster.com while supplies last.
2015 MLS Regular Season
Game 27 of 34
Citrus Bowl | Orlando, Florida
Weather: 80 degrees and partly cloudy
2nd Half: Krisztian Nemeth Goal
Full Time: Video Highlights
|Sporting KC (11-8-8, 41 pts)||0||1||1|
|Orlando City SC (8-13-8, 32 pts)||1||2||3|
Sporting Kansas City: Jon Kempin; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler (c), Kevin Ellis, Saad Abdul-Salaam; Soni Mustivar, Benny Feilhaber (Jordi Quintilla 73), Graham Zusi; Krisztian Nemeth, Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson (Bernardo Anor 46)
Subs Not Used: Trey Mitchell, Marcel de Jong, Jalil Anibaba, Amadou Dia, Mikey Lopez
Orlando City SC: Tally Hall; Luke Boden, Aurelien Collin, David Mateos, Rafael Ramos; Servando Carrasco, Cristian Higuita, Adrian Winter (Eric Avila 73), Lewis Neal, Carlos Rivas (Brek Shea 61); Cyle Larin (Bryan Rochez 57)
Subs Not Used: Earl Edwards, Seb Hines, Tommy Redding, Danny Mwanga
|Shots on Goal||3||4|
SKC -- Matt Besler (caution; tactical foul) 83
ORL -- Brek Shea (caution; dissent) 83
SKC -- Dom Dwyer (ejecton; violent conduct) 87
ORL -- Adrian Winter 1 (Luke Boden 4) 3
SKC -- Krisztian Nemeth 9 (Benny Feilhaber 14) 59
ORL -- Bryan Rochez 1 (Brek Shea 2, David Mateos 1) 66
ORL -- Adrian Winter 2 (Lewis Neal 1) 72