Sporting KC suffers late 4-3 loss at Austin FC

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.

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Prosperity tour visits Children’s Mercy Park

Gov. Laura Kelly, left, and Rep. Sharice Davids, right, recently visited Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, as part of a statewide economic development tour. When the World Cup comes to the area in 2026, the stadium and training facilities in Kansas City, Kansas, could be part of a large economic boost. (Photo from Gov. Laura Kelly’s office)

Gov. Laura Kelly continued her statewide economic development tour, Prosperity on the Plains, in Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday.

She joined Sporting Kansas City leadership and Rep. Sharice Davids for a tour of Children’s Mercy Park.

In June, FIFA announced that thousands of soccer fans from across the globe will be coming to the Kansas City metro region in 2026 for the FIFA World Cup, a huge economic boost for Kansas won through bi-state cooperation. Children’s Mercy Park will potentially be used as a practice and training site during the tournament.


“The World Cup will soon be coming to Kansas City, the nation’s soccer capital, bringing an influx of tourists and an opportunity to showcase everything Kansas has to offer,” Gov. Kelly said. “Sporting KC is a big reason we won the bid, so I’m thankful to them and to Representative Davids for a productive conversation about how businesses across the region can make the most of this moment.”

“We have one of the best Major League Soccer teams in the country playing right here in Kansas, and soon we’ll welcome the World Cup. That’s a lot of opportunity and attention coming here—and I am ready work together and ensure that it benefits our community for the long-term,” said Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist. “I was glad to join Governor Kelly today for a conversation with Sporting KC who continue to play an important role in ensuring Kansas City is a thriving place for both locals and visitors.”

Children’s Mercy Park opened during the 2011 Major League Soccer season. The stadium has a seating capacity of 18,467 seats and expands to 25,000 for concerts.

  • Information from Gov. Laura Kelly’s office

Sporting KC set for rematch with Austin FC on Saturday in Texas

Sporting Kansas City (6-14-5, 23 points) will travel to Texas to take on second-place Austin FC (13-5-6, 45 points) at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.

The Western Conference clash will be locally televised on 38 The Spot with three hours of coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. The broadcast will also stream live on SportingKC.com and in the Sporting KC app for viewers in Kansas and Missouri (excluding the St. Louis area per MLS policy), as well as ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers. In addition, radio coverage of Saturday’s showdown will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

After a resounding 4-2 victory over the LA Galaxy last Saturday, Sporting KC will now travel to the Texas capital for a rematch with second-place Austin FC. The teams met two weeks ago at Children’s Mercy Park as Austin FC capitalized on a first half red card to Sporting KC midfielder Cam Duke.

Alex Ring scored in first half stoppage time and Sebastian Driussi sealed the road result with a goal in the 90th minute, while Brad Stuver made four saves in the shutout including a superb stop on Daniel Salloi’s penalty in the second half.

While Sporting ranks last in MLS in goals scored this season (23), Austin FC leads MLS in the category (50). Driussi, who has a goal or assist in each of his last seven appearances, sits atop the MLS Golden Boot race with a league-high 16 goals to go along with seven assists.

The designated player’s 23 goal contributions are most in MLS while teammate Diego Fagundez ranks fourth in MLS with 10 assists. Two Austin FC newcomers have also bolstered the Austin attack in their debut seasons as Maxi Urruti has recorded seven goals and two assists alongside Ethan Finlay, who has five goals and six assists.

With just one loss in the team’s last 10 matches, Austin FC is led by a pair of Sporting Legends with head coach Josh Wolff, who played seven seasons in Kansas City, and assistant coach Davy Arnaud, who played 10 seasons in Kansas City, guiding the club in its second season.

Sporting KC defender Ben Sweat played under Wolff and Arnaud last season and is set to return to Q2 Stadium for the first time since joining Sporting KC as a free agent in the offseason.

Having served as Sporting Kansas City manager since August 2009, Peter Vermes is the longest tenured head coach with one club in MLS history. Saturday will mark his 600th competitive match for the team as either a player or a manager.

The club is coming off an emphatic 4-2 win against the LA Galaxy last weekend in which newcomers Erik Thommy and Willy Agada opened their MLS scoring accounts. Thommy’s goal was an MLS Goal of the Week finalist while Agada scored twice to earn a spot on the MLS Team of the Week bench.

Fellow forward Daniel Salloi tallied a goal and two assists, giving him 46 goals for Sporting in all competitions and tying him with Wolff for fifth on the club’s all-time chart.

Club captain Johnny Russell, whose next goal will tie Arnaud for third most goals in club history in all competitions, leads Sporting with eight goals in all competitions this season. Midfielder Felipe Hernandez, who has appeared in all 29 matches this year, is on the cusp of his 50th career regular season appearance. The 24-year-old has recorded a team-best and career-high four assists in all competitions.

Sporting KC will be without five players on Saturday, including designated players Alan Pulido (knee) and Gadi Kinda (knee) as well as veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia (hamstring). Khiry Shelton (calf) and Logan Ndenbe (hamstring) remain questionable after missing the team’s last two matches. On the opposite side, Austin FC midfielder Hector Jimenez (groin) and defender Frederik Kleeman (knee) have been ruled out due to injury.

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