Sporting Kansas City II (0-3-3, 3 points) played to an entertaining 0-0 draw with visiting El Paso Locomotive FC (1-0-2, 5 points) at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday afternoon. The draw saw SKC II pick up their first shutout of the 2021 season, though both sides will feel as though they could’ve snatched all three points.
Head coach Paulo Nagamura went with a lineup that only included one player over the age of 23 – Sporting KC left back Amadou Dia – along with six Sporting KC Academy products in Jaylin Lindsey, Kaveh Rad, Felipe Hernandez, Cam Duke, Grayson Barber and Wilson Harris.
The star of the show was 20-year-old goalkeeper John Pulskamp who earlier this season deputized for the Sporting KC first team in the first five games of the MLS campaign with Tim Melia out injured. Pulskamp was called into action twice early, producing a pair of diving saves in the sixth and ninth minutes to keep El Paso at bay.
At the other end of the field, Sporting II almost snatched an early lead themselves as Duke’s clipped finish was cleared off the line by a scrambling El Paso defense.
The closest either side came to scoring in the first half came in the 24th minute when Rad stepped up to make an interception along the backline, drove forward and found Enoch Mushagalusa on the left wing. The tricky winger flicked the ball over his marker before curling a brilliant attempt off the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Seconds before the halftime break, Rad had a golden opportunity to score his first professional goal as he met Hernandez’s free kick delivery but volleyed narrowly wide.
In the 55th minute, Mushagalusa again went close when Dia sent a lofted cross to the far post that the 21-year-old headed just wide of the near post. Nine minutes later, Duke’s strike from the edge of the area almost deceived El Paso goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas – formerly of Sporting KC – but the gloveman was able to claw it away. Mushagalusa slammed home the rebound, but the flag was up for offside.
El Paso had a pair of opportunities to steal all three points late on but Sporting II held firm. First, substitute Diego Luna had an open look at goal from 15 yards but his curling effort was deflected just over the bar. Then, in the 87th minute, Leandro Carrijo got his head to a cross from the left wing and directed it on-frame, but Pulskamp sprawled to his left to keep his shutout intact as both sides shared the spoils.
It’s a quick turnaround for Sporting II as the team is back at Children’s Mercy Park this Wednesday, June 2 to take on FC Tulsa. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on ESPN+.
2021 USL Championship | Match 6
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: 66 degrees and clear
|Sporting Kansas City II (0-3-3, 3 points)||0||0||0|
|El Paso Locomotive FC (1-0-2, 5 points)||0||0||0|
Sporting Kansas City II: John Pulskamp; Jaylin Lindsey (C), Kaveh Rad, Danny Barbir, Amadou Dia; Petar Cuic, Felipe Hernandez (Jayvin Van Deventer 62’), Cam Duke; Grayson Barber (Tyler Freeman 73’), Wilson Harris (Ropapa Mensah 73’), Enoch Mushagalusa (Ozzie Cisneros 90’)
Subs Not Used: Max Trejo, Aljaz Dzankic, Kayden Pierre
El Paso Locomotive FC: Adrian Zendejas; Macauley King, Mechack Jerome (Matt Bahner 31’), Yuma Monsalvez (C), Eder Borelli; Richie Ryan, Jose Aguinaga (Bryam Rebellon 59’), Nick Ross, Dylan Mares (Diego Luna 59’); Aaron Gomez (Aidan Apodaca 75’), Luis Solignac (Leandro Carrijo 59’)
Subs Not Used: Benjamin Beaury, Louis Herrera
ELP – Eder Borelli (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 67’
SKC – Kaveh Rad (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 78’
ELP – Macauley King (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 94+
|Shots on Goal||3||6|
Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
Assistant Referee: John Krill
Assistant Referee: Shane Kennard
Fourth Official: Velimir Stefanovic