Recap: Sporting KC II falls 4-1 to Atlanta United 2

Sporting Kansas City II kicked off a five-match homestand with a 4-1 loss to Atlanta United 2 on Saturday afternoon at sunny Children's Mercy Park.

Danny Barbir's late header for the hosts was no match for an Atlanta side that received two goals from Phillip Goodrum and additional strikes from Darwin Matheus and Tyler Wolff.

Head coach Paulo Nagamura deployed a lineup that included three Sporting Kansas City loanees in defender Graham Smith, goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, and 17-year-old midfielder Ozzie Cisneros as well as four Sporting KC Academy products in Cisneros, captain Christian Duke and outside backs Jake Davis and Isaiah LeFlore. Duke notably hit a major milestone in the early stages of the contest, surpassing 15,000 regular season minutes played in his accomplished USL Championship career.

A delicately poised first half yielded its first goal in the 39th minute when Atlanta made Sporting KC II pay for a costly turnover deep in the defensive third. Connor Stanley was thusly afforded to square the ball to an open Matheus, who hammered his shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net to give his team a 1-0 advantage.

LeFlore spared Sporting KC II's blushes on the stroke of halftime, defending brilliantly by sliding to block Robbie Mertz's close-range effort after the Atlanta captain had received a Stanley through ball and rounded McIntosh with an empty net at his mercy.

Wolff, the son of Sporting Legend and Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff, doubled Atlanta's cushion two minutes into the second half, overlapping Goodrum and smacking a first-time strike past the outstretched McIntosh for his sixth goal of the 2021 campaign and his fourth in the last three matches.

The hosts responded well after going down two goals, with Rojay Smith forcing a near-post save from Atlanta goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo in the 50th minute and substitute Jahon Rad planting a header inches over the crossbar a moment later.

Atlanta added a fortuitous third goal in the 54th minute. After a swarm of SKC II defenders were unable to clear their lines, Goodrum was allowed to finish from point-blank range to extend his team's lead. The visitors nearly bagged a fourth with 69 minutes on the clock, but Graham Smith extinguished the danger with an acrobatic overhead kick off the goal line.

Goodrum notched his second and Atlanta's fourth in the 74th minute, blasting into the top right corner off a feed from Macky Diop.

Barbir salvaged a goal for Sporting KC II in the 86th minute, rising to nod Davis' free kick past Rios Novo for his first tally of the 2021 USL Championship campaign.

2021 USL Championship | Match 20
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: 84 degrees and sunny

Sporting KC II 1-4 Atlanta United 2
Sporting KC II 1-4 Atlanta United 2
Sporting Kansas City II (3-12-5, 14 points)
Atlanta United 2 (6-7-7, 25 points)

Sporting Kansas City II: Kendall McIntosh; Jake Davis, Graham Smith, Danny Barbir, Isaiah LeFlore; Petar Cuic (Jahon Rad 42'), Christian Duke (C) (Coby Jones 78'), Ozzie Cisneros (Michael Lenis 59'); Rojay Smith (Zion Long 60'), Enoch Mushagalusa, Jamil Roberts (Jayvin Van Deventer 78')
Subs Not Used: Remi Prieur, Matt Constant

Atlanta United 2: Rocco Rios Novo; Bryce Washington, Aiden McFadden, Josh Bauer, Caleb Wiley; Ajani Fortune, Robbie Mertz (C) (Matias Benitez 77'), Abdoulaye Diop (Chris Allan 73'); Connor Stanley (David Mejia 73'), Darwin Matheus (Phillip Goodrum 46'), Josh Wolff (Macky Diop 57')
Subs Not Used: Vicente Reyes, Noah Cobb

Scoring Summary:
ATL -- Darwin Matheus 4 (Connor Stanley 2) 39'
ATL -- Tyler Wolff 6 (Phillip Goodrum 2) 47'
ATL -- Phillip Goodrum 3 (unassisted) 54'
ATL -- Phillip Goodrum 4 (Macky Diop 2) 74'
SKC -- Danny Barbir 2 (Jake Davis 4) 86'

Misconduct Summary:
ATL -- Abdoulaye Diop (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 36'
SKC -- Jake Davis (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 58'
ATL -- Macky Diop (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 76'
ATL -- Chris Allan (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 85'
SKC -- Jahon Rad (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 90+2'

Match Statistics
Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Jon Freemon
Assistant Referee: Matt Trotter
Assistant Referee: Esad Omanovic
Fourth Official: Drew Klemp