Gianluca Busio tallied a stunning equalizer from distance as Sporting Kansas City (5-2-1, 16 pts.) salvaged a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids (2-3-2, 8 pts.) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night to extend their lead atop the MLS Western Conference. Busio scored 10 minutes after Cole Bassett had given the hosts the lead, before Sporting closed out the result with 10 men after Gadi Kinda received his second yellow card in the 78th minute.
Busio, deployed in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role these past three games, shone once again and picked the perfect time to score his first goal of the season and first since scoring in three straight games from March to April, 2019.
Sporting started the game on the front foot in the Colorado altitude, as Khiry Shelton slipped Alan Pulido into the area down the right channel, but the striker’s low effort was well blocked away by William Yarbrough in the Rapids goal.
The visitors kept the pressure on and almost found the opener in the eighth minute when Busio’s corner was cleared only as far as Gerso Fernandes, and his stinging drive flashed narrowly wide of the top corner.
Sporting were forced into two first-half changes due to injury, with the first coming in the 15th minute as Roger Espinoza departed the match with a hamstring concern and was replaced by Homegrown midfielder Felipe Hernandez.
Gerso was causing the Rapids all sorts of problems with his movement in the first half which almost led to the opening goal in the 29th minute. The speedy winger latched on to a long ball from the backline before laying it off to Pulido, but his low effort from the edge of the area was charged down.
In the 40th minute, Sporting was forced to spurn their second of three substitution moments as New Zealand international Winston Reid pulled up with a groin complaint and Roberto Puncec checked in to replace him.
A mere minute later, Sporting almost took the lead. A cross from the left wing evaded the host of bodies in the area and squirmed out to Graham Zusi on the right wing, and his low drive trickled agonizingly wide of the far post as the two teams headed into the halftime interval scoreless.
Colorado began the second half with added impetus and seriously threatened the SKC goal for the first time when Keegan Rosenberry latched onto a loose ball in the Sporting half and forced Tim Melia into a sharp save low to his left in the 49th minute.
The Rapids found the breakthrough in the 57th minute when Designated Player Younes Namli dribbled at the Sporting backline before flicking a pass into the path of former Kansas City striker Diego Rubio, who smartly dummied the ball which allowed Cole Bassett to smash home his first goal of the year.
The two sides traded blows in the minutes that followed as first Kinda fired a low left-footed shot into the side netting before Rapids substitute Jonathan Lewis forced Melia into another solid save low to his right.
Sporting found the equalizer exactly 10 minutes after falling behind. After Johnny Russell’s corner kick was cleared only as far as Busio, the 18-year-old controlled the ball and struck a fizzing effort beyond Yarbrough from 20 yards out to level the game.
Revitalized, Sporting pushed for the go-ahead goal in the minutes that followed as first Russell fired over the bar from distance before Pulido was denied by Yarbrough after leaving two Rapids defenders in his wake.
The momentum would shift once again in the 78th minute as Kinda was shown his second yellow card of the night and was sent off after catching Rubio on the ankle. Colorado almost took immediate advantage as Namli’s cross from the right was fired into the side-netting by Lewis.
The Rapids continued to press as the clock ticked down, but Sporting held firm defensively to see out an important point on the road.
Sporting KC now heads home to prepare for a Wednesday night bout with FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports KC Plus and Sports Radio 810 WHB.
2020 MLS Regular Season
Match 8 of 23
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado
Weather: 72 degrees and partly cloudy
|Sporting Kansas City (5-2-1, 16 points)||0||1||1|
|Colorado Rapids (2-3-2, 8 points)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Graham Smith, Winston Reid (Roberto Puncec 40’), Jaylin Lindsey; Gianluca Busio, Roger Espinoza (Felipe Hernandez 16’), Gadi Kinda; Khiry Shelton, Alan Pulido (C), Gerso Fernandes (Johnny Russell 64’)
Subs Not Used: Richard Sanchez, Matt Besler, Luis Martins, Cameron Duke, Erik Hurtado, Daniel Salloi
Colorado Rapids: William Yarbrough; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson, Sam Vines; Jack Price (C), Kellyn Acosta (Nicolas Mezquida 59’), Andre Shinyashiki (Jonathan Lewis 59’), Younes Namli (Braian Galvan 89’), Cole Bassett (Kei Kamara 68’); Diego Rubio
Subs Not Used: Clint Irwin, Jeremy Kelly, Drew Moor, Auston Trusty, Collen Warner
COL – Cole Bassett 1 (Younes Namli 1) 57’
SKC – Gianluca Busio 1 (Unassisted) 67’
COL – Jack Price (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 47’
COL – Kellyn Acosta (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 52’
SKC – Graham Smith (Yellow Card; Handball) 63’
SKC – Gadi Kinda (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 65’
SKC – Gadi Kinda (Yellow Card/Red Card; Unsporting Behavior) 78’
COL – Diego Rubio (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 82’
|Shots on Goal||3||4|
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referee: Corey Parker
Assistant Referee: Jeremy Kieso
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Allen Chapman
AVAR: TJ Zablocki