Sporting Kansas City suffered a late 4-3 loss on the road at Austin FC on Saturday.
Andreu Fontas, Willy Agada and Johnny Russell each struck for Sporting KC in the first half at Q2 Stadium before the hosts rallied with three second-half goals in a comeback capped off by a 95th-minute game-winner from MLS Golden Boot leader Sebastian Driussi.
Sporting opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Erik Thommy won a free kick at the top of the penalty area and struck the ensuing set piece with too much pace for Brad Stuver to handle. The rebound fell to the foot of Fontas, who hammered home his second career MLS goal and his first since October 2020.
The goal marked the second straight match in which Sporting scored in the opening 15 minutes after the team had failed to do so in the first 24 games of the regular season campaign. Saturday also marked the earliest Sporting has struck for two goals in a game this year as Agada doubled the lead in the 23rd minute.
Graham Zusi sparked the scoring sequence with a perfectly-placed pass into the path of Roger Espinoza, who superbly settled the service and fired an attempt on frame.
Stuver kept out the attempt but couldn’t recover in time as Agada – after scoring twice in last weekend’s 4-2 win over the LA Galaxy – pounced on the loose ball and snuck a first-time shot inside the near post.
Austin FC, the top-scoring team in Major League Soccer, responded with a goal in the 27th minute to cut the deficit in half. Espinoza’s goalline clearance had momentarily kept Austin at bay; however the ball recirculated to Jon Gallagher, whose half volley from 20 yards out found the back of the net off the glove of Pulskamp.
The visitors restored the two-goal advantage in the 40th minute as Russell converted a penalty that was won by Thommy on a challenge from Ethan Finlay. Russell’s team-leading ninth goal of the season moved the Scotsman into a tie with Davy Arnaud for third in club history with 52 career goals in all competitions and marked the first time in club history in which Sporting has scored three first-half goals in back-to-back regular season matches.
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper John Pulskamp produced four saves on the night with one of his best coming in first-half stoppage time to keep out a long-range blast from Driussi. Sporting opened the second half on the front foot with two opportunities to find a fourth goal as Daniel Salloi’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was saved by Stuver at the near post in the 53rd minute and Agada was denied by a kick save two minutes later after the Nigerian striker got behind the Austin FC backline.
Austin FC’s second-half rally began in the 63rd minute as Julio Cascante headed home a cross from Driussi – following a fortuitous deflection off Fontas — for his third goal of the year and sixth of his MLS career. Austin FC continued to apply pressure in search of an equalizer and came close in the 66th minute if not for a pair of saves from Pulskamp in short succession to thwart second-half substitutes Danny Hoesen and Washington Corozo.
Hoesen ultimately leveled the score at 3-3 in the 85th minute on an impressive over-the-shoulder volley from near the penalty spot that pinged off the post and set the stage for a dramatic finish in the Texas capital. Driussi, fresh off his appearance in the MLS All-Star Game mid-week, delivered the dagger in the 94th minute with his league-leading 17th goal of the year.
The 26-year-old Argentine has contributed to goals in eight straight games and his latest sealed all three points for an Austin FC side that has now earned an MLS-best 20 points from trailing positions this season. Conversely, Sporting KC has conceded a league-worst 13 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches in 2022 and suffered the team’s first defeat after leading by two or more goals since September 2019.
Sporting KC will return home to play the Portland Timbers at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, at Children’s Mercy Park as the club celebrates Retro Night with a nationally televised Western Conference clash on FS1 and FOX Deportes. Tickets for the match, presented by Children’s Mercy, are available online at SeatGeek.com.
- Story from Sporting KC