Sporting Kansas City II (4-8-1, 13 points) fell to a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat against Saint Louis FC (6-4-3, 21 points) at West Community Stadium in Fenton, Missouri on Saturday night. After fighting back from a two-goal first-half deficit, Sporting II were undone deep into stoppage time as their USL Championship postseason hopes were officially dashed.
Sporting KC II saw Petar Cuic and Academy prospect Isaiah LeFlore each tally their first goals of the season to complete a second-half fight back, only for Sam Fink to head home the winner in the 95th minute. Sporting II remain in fourth place in Group E and are now unable to reach the postseason after their final three regular-season games.
Sporting II and Saint Louis FC traded blows early, as Remi Prieur had to be alert to catch Wal Fall’s free kick before Enoch Mushagalusa’s low cross-shot narrowly evaded a teammate and the post.
The hosts took the lead in the 12th minute when former Sporting KC II striker Tyler Blackwood converted expertly on the volley after being found inside the area by Paris Gee’s header. Moments later, Fall struck the post and the ball rolled agonizingly across the line before being cleared to safety as Sporting II struggled to find a foothold in the game.
Homegrown forward Tyler Freeman almost brought Sporting II level in the 28th minute but his powerful toe-poked effort from the edge of the area was parried away by John Berner. Four minute later, Mushagalusa sprung free behind the Saint Louis backline, but his finish rattled off the crossbar and bounced harmlessly away.
Wilson Harris almost added to his team-high seven goals on the year when he struck over the bar following Freeman’s delicate through ball in the 37th minute, but it was STL that would find the net again before the break. Russell Cicerone received the ball on the left wing and cut inside two SKC II defenders before curling his finish into the bottom corner to make the halftime score 2-0.
Refusing to be beaten, Sporting II came roaring back in the second half. Croatian defensive midfielder Petar Cuic brought his side within one in the 59th minute when he placed an excellent finish off the post and in after being found by Dillon Serna – who recorded his fourth assist of the season on the play.
Sporting KC Academy products Isaiah LeFlore and Ryan Fessler entered the game in the 74th minute and the two almost linked up to equalize just a minute later. A brilliant pass from Jake Davis found LeFlore with his back to goal six yards out, and he laid it off to Fessler who scuffed his effort wide.
Goalkeeper Prieur was enjoying a quiet second half until the 85th minute when he spread himself brilliantly to deny Kadeem Dacres an insurance goal for Saint Louis.
That save proved important as Sporting II equalized one minute later. Saint Louis FC made a mess of clearing Serna’s free kick with the ball deflecting into the path of LeFlore who calmly stroked his finish beyond Berner to make the score 2-2.
With both sides going hammer and tongs while looking to keep their playoff hopes alive in injury time, it was Saint Louis that had the final say as Sam Fink headed home Todd Wharton’s free kick from close range in the 95th minute to give the hosts all three points.
Sporting KC II will now prepare for an out-of-group clash with Austin Bold FC on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Bold Stadium in Texas. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN+.
2020 USL Championship
Game 13 of 16
West Community Stadium | Fenton, MO
Weather: Sunny and 66 degrees
|Sporting Kansas City II (4-8-1, 13 points)||0||2||2|
|Saint Louis FC (6-4-3, 21 points)||2||1||3|
Sporting Kansas City II: Remi Prieur; Mason Leeth, Kaveh Rad, Danny Barbir, Dillon Serna (C); Petar Cuic (Jahon Rad 89’), Jake Davis, Tyler Freeman (Ryan Fessler 74’); Enoch Mushagalusa (Dominik Resetar 90’), Wilson Harris, Fredinho Mompremier (Isaiah LeFlore 74’)
Subs Not Used: Mitch Hildebrandt, Christian Duke, Camden Riley
Saint Louis FC: John Berner; Tobi Adewole, Sam Fink, Phanuel Kavita (C); Paris Gee, Todd Wharton, Wal Fall (Daniel Fischer 98+), Russell Cicerone (Richard Bryan 97+); Joaquin Rivas (Guy Abend 65’), Kyle Greig, Tyler Blackwood (Kadeem Dacres 84’)
Subs Not Used: Kyle Morton, Niki Vlastos
STL – Tyler Blackwood 5 (Paris Gee 1) 12’
STL – Russell Cicerone 4 (Sam Fink 1) 43’
SKC – Petar Cuic 1 (Dillon Serna 4) 59’
SKC – Isaiah LeFlore 1 (Unassisted) 86’
STL – Sam Fink 1 (Todd Wharton 4) 95+
SKC – Jake Davis (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 66’
STL – Sam Fink (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 71’
STL – Todd Wharton (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 94+
SKC – Mason Leeth (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 95+
|Shots on Goal||5||6|
Referee: Matt Thompson
Assistant Referee: Matt Rodman
Assistant Referee: Matt Geringer
Fourth Official: Jervis Atagana