Sporting Kansas City (6-9-7, 25 points) fell to a 3-1 defeat on the road to New York City FC (9-3-8, 35 points) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York on Friday night. New York City took a 2-0 lead with goals either side of halftime from Anton Tinnerholm and Heber before Roger Espinoza was shown a red card for Sporting KC. Ilie Sanchez pulled a goal back for the visitors before Alex Ring sealed the points for NYCFC.
Espinoza was making his first start for the club since April 14 after returning from a PCL sprain as a substitute in last Saturday’s game against FC Dallas. He was joined in central midfield by Ilie Sanchez, who returned from a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation, and Benny Feilhaber, who stepped in for Felipe Gutierrez who was serving his own one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
After a frantic opening, New York City FC thought they’d taken the lead in the 12th minute when Heber was slipped through on goal while seemingly in an offside position, before knocking the ball across for Alexandru Mitrita to prod the ball home. However, the linesman’s flag went up after the ball had crossed the line and the goal was disallowed.
Sporting created their first big opportunity of the game in the 22nd minute when Botond Barath’s pin-point long ball found a streaking Gerso Fernandes, who dribbled at NYC center back Maxime Chanot before striking a rasping drive on goal that Sean Johnson did well to palm away.
Sporting had Tim Melia to thank for keeping the game scoreless in the 34th minute, as the diminutive Maxi Moralez found space in the area to glance a header toward the top corner, only for Melia to tip the ball over the bar with his fingertips while at full-stretch.
The home side eventually found the breakthrough in the 41st minute as a flowing move from back to front was completed when Alex Ring received a neat ball in the area and whipped in a delivery across the face of goal with Anton Tinnerholm on hand to tap the ball home at the far post, making the score 1-0.
Sporting almost replied immediately as Krisztian Nemeth rose highest to head Johnny Russell’s corner on frame, only for the ball to ricochet off Benny Feilhaber who was in an offside position. Moments later, Keaton Parks almost doubled NYC’s lead with a stinging shot from distance, but Melia once again produced a stunning save to tip the ball over the bar and keep Sporting within a goal at halftime.
New York City doubled their lead early in the second half as Ring slipped a delicate through ball behind the Sporting backline into the path of Heber, who composed himself before clipping a sumptuous finish over the onrushing Melia.
In the 60th minute, Sporting’s uphill task was made even steeper as Espinoza was given his marching orders following a 50-50 challenge with Chanot in the midfield. The Honduran was initially shown a second yellow card – having received his first during an altercation with Tinnerholm in the first half – but after consulting with his VAR, referee Dave Gantar changed his decision to a straight red card.
Rather than lying down and accepting their fate, Sporting roared back into the game and reduced the deficit in the 73rd minute when Russell’s corner was headed back across goal by Feilhaber into the path of Ilie who nodded home from close range, pulling the visitors back to within a goal at 2-1.
Sporting pressed for an equalizer and almost found one when Russell fed Gerso in the area and his first-time strike was deflected away for a corner. Instead, it was NYCFC that found the crucial fourth goal of the contest as Gary Mackay-Steven played a pass to Ring 20 yards from goal, and the NYC captain struck a low shot that beat Melia into the bottom corner of the net.
NYC continued to press as the game ticked into the final moments, as first Melia was called on to claw the ball away from Valentin Castellanos who was looking to round the New York native, before Graham Zusi produced a stunning goal-line tackle to deny Castellanos a certain tap-in minutes later.
Sporting Kansas City will remain on the road as the schedule ticks into August, with a trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field up next on the docket on Sunday, August 4. The nationally televised contest will kick off at 9 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
2019 MLS Regular Season
Game 22 of 34
Yankee Stadium | The Bronx, New York
Weather: 82 degrees and sunny
|Sporting Kansas City (6-9-7, 25 points)||0||1||1|
|New York City FC (9-3-8, 35 points)||1||2||3|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Botond Barath, Matt Besler (C), Seth Sinovic (Yohan Croizet 88'); Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber; Johnny Russell, Krisztian Nemeth (Erik Hurtado 58'), Gerso Fernandes (Daniel Salloi 82')
Subs Not Used: Eric Dick, Andreu Fontas, Jimmy Medranda, Gedion Zelalem
New York City FC: Sean Johnson; Maxime Chanot, James Sands, Alexander Callens; Anton Tinnerholm, Keaton Parks, Maxi Moralez (Ebenezer Ofori 52'), Alex Ring, Ronald Matarrita; Heber (Valentin Castellanos 82'), Alexandru Mitrita (Gary Mackay-Steven 70')
Subs Not Used: Brad Stuver, Ben Sweat, Tony Rocha, Jesus Medina
NYC - Anton Tinnerholm 1 (Alex Ring 3, Alexandru Mitrita 2) 41'
NYC - Heber 9 (Alex Ring 4) 54'
SKC - Ilie Sanchez 2 (Benny Feilhaber 4, Johnny Russell 5) 73'
NYC - Alex Ring 3 (Gary Mackay-Steven 1) 77'
SKC - Roger Espinoza (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 45'
NYC - Maxime Chanot (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 45'
SKC - Roger Espinoza (Red Card; Serious Foul Play) 62'
SKC - Gerso Fernandes (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 80'
SKC - Botond Barath (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 94+
|Shots on Goal||3||7|
Referee: Dave Gantar
Assistant Referee: Philippe Briere
Assistant Referee: Brian Dunn
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Jon Freemon
AVAR: Jozef Batko