Sporting Kansas City were their own enemy last night, as an own goal kept them from taking 3 points away to Real Esteli of Nicaragua.
The defending MLS Cup champions were playing behind early. An own goal by Jorge Claros gave the Nicaraguan club an early lead when a shot was saved by Jon Kempin but then deflected off Claros into the net.
After the early setback, Sporting answered quickly after 16 minutes. Toni Dovale perfectly executed a free kick from just outside the area with his left foot that ended with the ball into the upper right corner. It was a textbook free kick from the winger. The scoreline remained the same going into the half.
Both teams pushed for a deciding goal into the second half. Kempin came up huge for his club in the 53rd minute when Da Silva forced him off his line to make a save. The shot was blocked by the homegrown keeper and cleared away. The 21 year old also made a save in the 81st minute that could have seen his team go down. His made a Tim Howard like save, sprawling to his right to knock away a first time hit.
Unfortunately for Sporting, the match ended in a draw. The result puts Sporting KC on 1 point in the group, and will guarantee them a worse away record than they had in last year’s CONCACAF Champions League. This was KC’s first game of the CCL schedule, and has them sitting behind Real Esteli who have 2 points through 2 games.
Sporting will play hosts to DC United on Saturday in a massive matchup of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They continue their CCL play at home on September 18 against Saprissa.