Sporting KC stays unbeaten in Champions League
with 1-1 draw against Nicaragua's Real Esteli FC
Jacob Peterson equalizes in 78th minute to extend Sporting KC's lead in Group 2
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 18,467 (sold out)
Weather: 70 degrees and cloudy
Video: Match Highlights
Score 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City 0 1 1
Real Esteli FC
0 1 1
Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Seth Sinovic, Ike Opara, Matt Besler (c), Josh Gardner; Oriol Rosell, Peterson Jospeh (C.J. Sapong 46), Benny Feilhaber; Soony Saad (Jacob Peterson 75), Claudio Bieler ( Dom Dwyer 62), Graham Zusi
Subs not used: Jimmy Nielsen, Lawrence Olum, Mechack Jerome, Aurelien Collin
Real Esteli FC: Justo Lorente; Douglas De Souza, Alan Kardek, Manuel Rosas (c) (Franklin Lopez 72), Eliud Zeledon; Leandro Santos (Elmer Mejia 81), Felix Rodriguez, Luri De Oliveira; Wilber Sanchez (Samuel Wilson 46), Rudel Calero, Juan Barrera
Subs not used: Joaelton Sanpaio, Elvis Figueroa, Salvador Garcia, Roger Sanchez
Stats KC RES
Shots 16 5
Shots on Goal 6 3
Saves 2 5
Offside 2 1
RES -- Douglas De Souza (caution; reckless foul) 58
KC -- Josh Gardner (caution; reckless foul) 84
RES -- Juan Barrera (caution; delaying a restart) 94+
RES -- Rudel Calero (Samuel Wilson) 54
KC -- Jacob Peterson (Graham Zusi) 78
(September 17, 2013) -- Sporting Kansas City tied Real Esteli FC 1-1 on Tuesday night at Sporting Park in their third 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage match. Jacob Peterson's second-half goal secured the point for Sporting KC, who remains unbeaten in the competition (2-0-1, 7 points) and extends their lead in CCL Group 2 to four points after three games.
Sporting KC will conclude group play on October 23 when they host Honduran club CD Olimpia. A draw in that match assures Sporting KC of advancing to the quarterfinals, regardless of the result between Real Esteli and CD Olimpia on September 24.
Despite Sporting KC controlling possession for much of the first half, the two teams entered the halftime break scoreless. Real Esteli goalkeeper Justo Lorente made five saves Tuesday night, including a point-blank save on Claudio Bieler in the 17th minute and a near-post save on Soony Saad in the 20th minute.
Real Esteli grabbed the lead in the 54th minute against the run of play. Samuel Wilson curled in a corner kick and Rudel Calero headed the ball past goalkeeper Eric Kronberg to put the visitors ahead.
Less than a minute later, Lorente kept Sporting KC off the board again when he reacted quickly to parry away C.J. Sapong's header off a Graham Zusi corner kick.
Sporting KC found their equalizer in the 78th minute off a set piece. Zusi alertly played a quick corner kick to Jacob Peterson at the near post and the veteran winger beat Lorente to level the match.
Sporting KC continued to push for the game-winner but were unable to find a second goal. In the second minute of stoppage time, Peterson curled a ball to C.J. Sapong at the six-yard box. Sapong laid the ball off for Benny Feilhaber, who one-timed the ball on target. Lorente dove to his left to block the shot and secure Real Esteli's first point in the tournament.
Sporting KC will return to MLS action on Saturday with a road match against Toronto FC. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT at BMO Field, live on KSMO and La Gran D 1340 AM.
Tuesday night marked the first ever CONCACAF Champions League match held at Sporting Park. Sporting KC's last home match in a CONCACAF-wide tournament was in 2005.
With the draw, Sporting KC (2-0-1) extends their lead to four points atop Group 2 in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
With the draw, Real Esteli FC is now eliminated from the tournament with one point from three games.
Sporting KC defeated Real Esteli 2-0 in the opening match of the CCL group stage on August 7 courtesy of goals from Ike Opara and Dom Dwyer.
Sporting KC defeated CD Olimpia 2-0 in their second CCL match.
Sporting KC conceded their first goal of the tournament on Tuesday, scored by Rudel Calero in the 54th minute.
Calero's goal was scored on a Real Esteli corner kick. Samuel Wilson earned the corner eight minutes after entering the match.
Wilson took the corner kick, Real Esteli's lone corner kick in the match on Tuesday.
Jacob Peterson scored Sporting KC's only goal in the match, tapping in a Graham Zusi corner kick in the 78th minute.
The goal is Peterson's first goal in CCL while playing for Sporting KC. The goal is also Peterson's first goal of the year in all competition.
The assist is Zusi's second in CCL play. He recorded his first assist in Sporting KC's last CCL match against CD Olimpia.
Zusi took eight corner kicks on Tuesday, most among all players.
Real Esteli's Douglas De Souza will be suspended for Esteli's final CCL group stage match against CD Olimpia on Tuesday, September 24 for yellow card accumulation. De Souza was shown yellow in the 58th minute of Tuesday's match for a reckless foul.
Josh Gardner received a yellow card in the 84th minute of Tuesday's match.
Sporting KC now has six players carrying cautions into the final group stage match: Josh Gardner, Seth Sinovic, Aurelien Collin, Mechack Jerome, Paulo Nagamura and Soony Saad.
Sporting KC outshot Real Esteli FC 16-5 on Tuesday.
Sporting KC held the advantage in possession over Real Esteli FC with 66% on Tuesday.
Graham Zusi led all players with three chances created.
Matt Besler led all players with 81 passes.
Benny Feilhaber led all players with 12 duels won.
Sporting KC hosts their final CCL group stage match on October 23 against CD Olimpia.
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes
Thoughts on the game...
I thought that we had one clear chance and that was the corner. We talked about set pieces being an important part of this game especially from the view that when you don't play a team like this week in and week out you don't know what their tendencies are so the individual duals need to plays need to be won and obviously on that we didn't. I thought we controlled the game with possession and chances. We had plenty of chances, should have scored more than on. We had enough chances to put the game away and we didn't. Credit to the goalkeeper. He made a lot of great saves and sometimes that's how it goes but we had more than enough chances to win.
On the play of Josh Gardner...
I think that at times he was solid. I think he gave the ball away a little too much in the first half, but I think in the second half he was much connected with the rest of the group. I think he found himself behind them quite a few times and had some pretty decent service as well. Defensively, I thought he was very good. He didn't really give anything p on the side.
On why Sporting wasn't able to convert their chances...
Just execution. I think execution is the biggest thing. I got to tell you, the goalkeeper had some great saves. He was in it from the opening whistle. I thought Claudio had a great chance to take another touch, put it a little lower. I think it would have been a little more difficult for him to get to, but the keeper came up with a great save because he really tattooed the ball. Soony hit a good ball to the near post and it was almost reminiscent of a goal he scored here not too long ago. It was really just final execution and maybe, you know, if the goalkeeper would have been off a little bit.
On the team's goal...
We were screaming off the bench because they had everybody on the back post and Jake's standing there all by himself so it was really improvisation and credit to Graham for seeing it and it was a great finish by Jake for sure.
On Jacob Peterson's performance...
Jake has a high energy. His work rate is fantastic and one of the things that he's been lacking lately is a little more execution in the final third. From the goal line to the start of the final third, he's excellent. Defensively on both sides of the ball he's good, but just his execution in the final third is what has let him down. He was definitely concentrated on the goal when he scored; he just missed the other one. I actually thought he picked the right place, I think he just missed his target by a little bit, but he was definitely a good spark for us off the bench for sure.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Oriol Rosell
On the draw...
I think we worked hard to get the three points and we got the chances. But sometimes, the ball doesn't want to go in and that was the case.
On the final group stage game...
We have to do a great job in the next game to pass into the next round. And I think we'll do it. We have the mentality to do it and we know how they play. I think today was a good exercise and I think we'll get the job done.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber
On the team's performance...
We wanted to get three points to further our position in the standings. I don't think we played a very good first half, at all. Second half was a bit better. We were able to grab a goal back and we had some chances to sneak a result, but we weren't able to. A bad first half leads to that. It's just not good enough.
Looking ahead to the group stage finale...
Bottom line is there's one more game in this competition and we need a result at home against the Honduran team to advance. We're going to do everything we can to focus on that game when it comes and make sure that we're not looking back at this game as something that we regret. It's a big game to prove ourselves next time.
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg
On settling for a draw...
We wanted to win that game. It's important to win at home. We fell short. We still got a point and knocked Esteli out of the competition. I think we could've gotten all three.
On the upcoming game with Olimpia...
It's a huge game. I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure they're going to come to play. We have to step our game up.
Halftime honoree and 2000 MLS Cup champion Miklos Molnar
On the experience...
It's an unbelievable stadium. It's great to be back and it's great to see that soccer is growing every year. Every time I come back I can see it's growing. It's good to see.
On the progress in Kansas City since he played in 2000...
I had an idea that it would grow. Because I remember when I came back to Denmark people said, 'Do you think it will still grow? American soccer, what do you think of it' And I said, 'it will grow every year and I'm sure it will keep on growing.' It will be really, really big one day. Even bigger than it is now.
On his 2000 season...
It was my best memories to be here, especially because I was with my good friend Chris Henderson. Everything turned out great. We won everything. Everything is more fun. It's, for sure, some of my best memories in my soccer life.
On what he does now...
I'm just enjoying my newborn son. We are traveling around in the states. From here, we'll go to Denver and then to Seattle to visit Chris (Henderson). We take Highway 1 to San Diego and then I will actually run a marathon in Las Vegas on the 17th of November. We have two months here. At the time, I'm enjoying my son, my wife and enjoying the states. We just came yesterday. It's great and I'm sure we'll have fun.
Real Esteli FC Head Coach Otoniel Olivas
Thoughts on the match...
Thank you for the opportunity to have us here. It's been a good opportunity for Real Esteli to play here. The tie in the game was great because Sporting KC is a great team and we have tried to have a structured game tonight.
On the atmosphere...
Everybody here has treated us very well. It's not the first time for us that we've played in a bigger stadium with a big crowd so it's a great opportunity to play in a bigger stadium with a big crowd because it helps us to grow as a team and as players.
On if this game was more or less physical than the two teams' last match...
It was more of a physical game here at Sporting Kansas City. Sporting KC played faster and for me it was true that I had to play more defensively and the game that we play in Nicaragua wasn't the best game for us. We didn't play well. We really had a better attitude with this game than the game in Nicaragua.