Sporting Kansas City's run in the CONCACAF Champions League ended in Costa Rica tonight with a 2-0 loss to Deportivo Saprissa. Sarpissa's pressure all night kept KC on the back foot and Sporting never really go going offensively, recording just one shot on goal all game.
Starting a mix of starters and reserves, Sporting immediately went onto the back foot as Saprissa locked them in their own end from the start. Eric Kronberg in KC's net was called on often to make saves. The KC goalkeeper did well to parry a shot out for a corner early on to keep the game scoreless. KC withstood the Saprissa pressure in the first 20 minutes, but in the 22nd they finally gave way. A corner by Saprissa was headed on goal by an unmarked Saprissa player. Kronberg got in front of the ball but could only push it away instead of catching it. The ball fell into the path of Heiner Mora who made no mistake from a foot away giving Saprissa a 1-0 lead. The pressure continued from Saprissa, but they couldn't find another goal as KC limited their shots on goal. The goal though wasn't the worst news of the half for KC as Sporting's injury issues came to the surface again. In the 40th minute, Benny Feilhaber turned his ankle on a routine ball and had to be replaced by Soony Saad. Then in the 45th minute, Igor Juliao appeared to pull a hamstring and he too had to be substituted beforehalf.
Coming out for the second half, things couldn't have started worse for Sporting. Saprissa immediately won a corner. The corner was only partially cleared leading to a shot from distance. The shot deflected wide to Mora who had two Saprissa players in the box unmarked. He picked out Ariel Rodriguez who beat Lawrence Olum to the ball, turning it past Kronberg and into the net to make it 2-0 Saprissa and put KC out of the tournament for the moment. With the two goal lead, Saprissa did sit back a little bit, but still looked the more dangerous side on the counter. Rodriguez almost put a poor clearance by Kronberg into the net, and Kronberg twice had to make decent saves on a shot from distance and a 1v1 situation to keep the game at 2-0. Finally in the 65th minute, KC finally got a shot on goal as Toni Dovale turned and fired an effort towards the far post that ended up being easily saved by Donny Grant. KC did create some opportunities through set pieces, included Aurelien Collin flicking a throw in from Jacob Peterson to the far post, but no one from KC was there to tap the ball home. In the end there just wasn't enough from KC offensively to really threaten Saprissa and it really never did look like KC would threaten to find a goal that would have put them through.
Wizards Man of the Match - Jacob Peterson - Really no one looked that impressive tonight, Peterson, as he seems to always do at least had a drive on the field to try to make something happen.
Player Ratings - Kronberg 4, Juliao 4, Collin 4, Ellis 5, Sinovic 4, Olum 3, Claros 3, Feilhaber 4, Sapong 3, Bieler 3, Dovale 3. Subs Saad 4, Peterson 5, Dwyer 3.