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Sporting KC settles for 2-2 draw in Toronto

Felipe Gutierrez scores twice as Sporting continue five-game road trip

2019 MLS Regular Season
Game 15 of 34

BMO Field | Toronto, Canada
Attendance: 24,748
Weather: 75 degrees and sunny

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Sporting Kansas City (3-5-7, 10th place) continued the club’s strong form against Toronto FC (5-6-4, 7th place) on Friday with a 2-2 draw at BMO Field. Felipe Gutierrez twice converted penalties, once in the 25th minute and again in the 73rd minute, as Sporting stretched the team’s unbeaten run to 10 games (6-0-4) against Toronto and secured an eighth straight road result (4-0-4) at BMO Field.

Amidst a month-long road trip and missing nine players due to international duty and injuries, the shorthanded Sporting squad was bolstered by the return of Gerso Fernandes after a six-week absence with a broken wrist.

Gerso would win the first of Sporting’s two penalties in the 22nd minute, drawing a foul from Drew Moor at the edge of the penalty area. Initially whistled as a free kick outside the box, match official Fotis Bazakos reviewed the incident and awarded a penalty to the visitors.

Gutierrez, who had converted both of his previous penalty attempts this season, confidently stepped to the spot and converted the attempt to give Sporting KC a 1-0 lead away from home for the second straight week. 

The Chilean international nearly set up a second Sporting goal just five minutes later with a perfectly weighted ball behind the Toronto FC backline. Yohan Croizet, last week’s goal scorer in a 1-1 draw at Houston, raced onto the pass but couldn’t beat Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg in the one-on-one situation.

On the opposite end, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia – on a night he became the team’s all-time leader in games played by a goalkeeper – had twice produced superb saves to deny Toronto FC an opening goal on set pieces taken by Alejandro Pozuelo. In the game’s 12th minute, Melia reacted quickly to push away Eriq Zavaleta’s header from a corner kick and later in the 33rd minute, Melia dove low to his right to keep out Liam Fraser’s header off a free kick.

Nevertheless, Toronto would break through on the cusp of halftime with a goal in the 43rd minute. Justin Morrow’s left-footed cross from the edge of the penalty area found the well-timed run of Nick DeLeon, who made no mistake with a first-time finish from inside the six-yard box to pull Toronto level at 1-1.

The stalemate would last until the 73rd minute when Gutierrez reclaimed the lead for Sporting with a second penalty decided by video review. Bazakos, who initially did not call a foul for DeLeon’s tackle on Gutierrez inside the box in the 69th minute, ultimately overturned the decision and pointed to the spot upon the advice of Video Assistant Referee Jose Carlos Rivero.

Gutierrez again sent Westberg the wrong direction for his sixth goal of the season, becoming the first Sporting KC player to score two penalties in an MLS match since Dom Dwyer did so, also against Toronto FC, in August 2014.

Minutes away from securing the team’s first road win of the MLS campaign, Sporting succumbed to a 95th-minute equalizer as second-half substitutes Jordan Hamilton and Ryan Telfer linked up for Toronto FC’s only shot on goal of the second half. Telfer, recalled from his loan spell with Canadian Premier League side York9 FC on Thursday, entered the match in the 87th minute for his first appearance of the season and made the most of the opportunity, setting up Hamilton for the game-tying goal on the brink of full time.

Sporting Kansas City will now turn the team’s attention to their opening fixture in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a fourth round match-up at Minnesota United FC looming on Wednesday, June 12. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. CT inside the new Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota and will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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