KANSAS CITY, KS – There would be no comeback on this night.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (0W-2L-0D) fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City (2W-0L-0D) on Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park in their first road match of 2016.
Dom Dwyer led the way for SKC with a first-half brace, including a spectacular 25-yard strike in the fifth minute. The ‘Caps, who were reduced to 10 men just before halftime, responded with a 70th-minute Pedro Morales penalty kick to make things interesting but couldn’t find an equalizer.Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made three changes to his starting lineup after last week’s season-opening 3-2 defeat to Montreal Impact. Right back Jordan Smith, midfielder Deybi Flores, and winger Kekuta Manneh drew into the lineup, replacing Fraser Aird, Kianz Froese, and Christian Bolaños, who was serving his one-match suspension.
This one didn’t get off to a great start for the visitors.
In the fifth minute, Dwyer opened the scoring with a left-footed blast from 25 yards after a turnover in midfield – a strike that will certainly be in the running, if not a frontrunner, for MLS Goal of the Week.
The ‘Caps had a few good chances to equalize off the foot of Manneh.
Less than a minute after Dwyer’s tally, Manneh fired a first-time strike over the goal from the penalty spot after a cross from Smith. And in the 20th minute, he got in behind thanks to a fantastic ball over the top from Octavio Rivero but was denied on a breakaway by a sprawling Tim Melia.
It was turning into one of those nights for Vancouver.
And matters got worse in the 41st minute, when Dwyer tapped in his second goal of the half after a pretty passing play between Graham Zusi and Chance Myers. Zusi started the play with a cross to the back post, where Myers alertly played it back across the face of goal to an unmarked Dwyer.
Coming back from a two-goal lead in Kansas City was always going to be a tough hill to climb – even more so after Smith was shown a straight red card for a late first-half tackle on Zusi. Robinson made a double swap at halftime to accommodate, bringing on Aird and Froese for Cristian Techera and Flores.
To their credit, the ‘Caps certainly didn’t mail it in.
And they made a game of it in the 70th minute, when Morales confidently slotted in a PK after Rivero was cleaned out in the box by an onrushing Melia. Morales actually found the back of the net again a few minutes later with a heavy strike from distance, but the play was whistled dead a second or two earlier due to a ‘Caps foul.
Morales’ goal gave the ‘Caps some life, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is their first Cascadia derby of the season next Saturday, March 19 against Seattle Sounders FC, who have also started the season with consecutive losses. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT at CenturyLink Field (TSN1 and TSN 1410).
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jordan Harvey
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
5’ – SKC – Dom Dwyer
41’ – SKC – Dom Dwyer (Chance Myers, Graham Zusi)
70’ – VAN – Pedro Morales (penalty kick)
Shots: Sporting KC 14 – Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: Sporting KC 6 – Vancouver 4
Saves: Sporting KC 3 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: Sporting KC 14 – Vancouver 19
Offsides: Sporting KC 5 – Vancouver 3
Corners: Sporting KC 6 – Vancouver 0
36’ – VAN – Octavio Rivero
38’ – VAN – Kendall Waston
51’ – SKC – Jordi Quintilla
45’ + 1’ – VAN – Jordan Smith
Sporting Kansas City
29.Tim Melia; 7.Chance Myers (17.Saad Abdul-Salaam 83’), 12.Nuno Andre Coelho, 5.Matt Besler, 13.Amadou Dia; 96.Jordi Quintilla (94.Jimmy Medranda 76’), 93.Soni Mustivar, 27.Roger Espinoza; 22.Connor Hallisey (11.Brad Davis 77’), 14.Dom Dwyer, 8.Graham Zusi
Substitutes not used
25. Alec Kann, 4.Kevin Ellis, 16.Lawrence Olum, 30.Daniel Salloi
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 6.Jordan Smith, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 20.Deybi Flores (38.Kianz Froese HT), 15.Matías Laba (27.Blas Pérez 66’); 13.Cristian Techera (8.Fraser Aird HT), 77.Pedro Morales ©, 23.Kekuta Manneh; 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 9.Masato Kudo, 44.Pa-Modou Kah