By: Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Sporting KC vs. Chicago Fire
Sporting Kansas City found redemption during the second half of Phase Two after defeating the Chicago Fire for their 250th home victory, and second-straight win on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
With Mexican striker Alan Pulido away on international duty – Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the starting lineup. Gadi Kinda returned to the roster from a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. And Roger Espinoza earned his first start since August 29th after missing the entire month of September due to injury.
Chaos ensued immediately after the whistle as goalkeeper Tim Melia brought down the Fire’s Fabian Herbers to received a caution and concede a penalty. But in true USMNT fashion – Melia went on to redeem himself to with a save low and to his left to deny Robert Beric.
The veteran keeper has stopped four of the last five penalties he has faced in MLS action and has eleven total regular-season penalty saves since 2016, six more than any other goalkeeper during that time.
The remainder of the half saw carnage on both sides with Graham Zusi and Espinoza leaving the pitch due to possible injury – multiple fouls that could have been straight reds.
Sporting KC again opened the second half with back-to-back attempts from Khiry Shelton and halftime sub, Daniel Salloi. The Hungarian forward played Shelton in on goal but Chicago’s center backs prevented the shot. Salloi got back on the ball but his chip was then deflected.
Winston Reid, on loan from Premier League side West Ham United, found the breakthrough and ultimately, the game-winner in the 67th minute after his header hit the post and bounced back into the net – marking the defender’s first MLS goal.
It has been a rocky road for Sporting KC after opening Phase Two with two losses, one at home and one on the road. Now with two straight wins under their belts, they will go on to host expansion club Nashville SC for their inaugural visit on Sunday, October 11. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.
Featured Image: @SportingKC
Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1