Sporting KC plays to 1-1 draw with Real Esteli in CCL action

Sporting Kansas City recorded a 1-1 road result against Real Esteli FC on Tuesday night in its opening game of the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League at Estadio Independencia in Esteli, Nicaragua.

After conceding in the sixth minute, Sporting KC leveled the score 10 minutes later with a perfectly placed free kick from Antonio Dovale in his CCL debut.

Real Esteli FC now leads Group 2 with two points from back-to-back home draws while Sporting KC and Deportivo Saprissa share second place in the standings. The group winner, determined after the four-game round robin group stage, advances to the quarterfinals.

Having traveled more than 2,000 miles from Kansas City to reach the Central American destination, Sporting KC fell behind early when Daniel Da Silva found space behind the backline on the left side of the penalty area.

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin — making his third consecutive competitive appearance in the aftermath of injuries to Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum — slid low to make the initial save but the rebound ricocheted off the body of Jorge Claros amid his recovery run and carried across the goal line.

The visitors quickly earned the equalizer within 10 minutes time on a free kick drawn by Graham Zusi. The MLS All-Star stood over the ensuing set piece as a decoy while Dovale struck a bending, left-footed shot over the wall and inside the near post.

The 24-year-old now has two goals in all competition for Sporting Kansas City since signing from Spain’s La Liga earlier this year. Dovale becomes the 18th different goal scorer for Sporting KC all-time in international competition.

Real Esteli FC nearly capitalized on a dead ball opportunity of its own in the 27th minute only to see Eduardo Praes’ header carom off the outside of the post. The Nicaraguan champion outshot its MLS counterpart 11-5 on the artificial surface but failed to find a breakthrough goal for its first-ever win in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Kempin — the fifth goalkeeper to appear in a competitive international match for the team in club history — made two strong saves to preserve the point, including a sprawling stop in the 53rd minute to deny Da Silva from close range. The Leawood, Kan., native was called into action again in the 81st minute to push away Juan Barrera’s first-time volley at the far post.

Sporting Kansas City’s best opportunity to claim the game’s decisive goal came in the 74th minute. Second half substitute Benny Feilhaber delivered a free kick into the penalty area that twice changed directions due to deflections but was eventually smothered in front of the goal line by Real Esteli FC goalkeeper Justo Lorente.

Tuesday’s 1-1 draw was a repeat result from the previous meeting between the two sides on Sept. 17, 2013, at Sporting Park in the 2013-2014 edition of the competition. Sporting KC is now 6-4-5 all-time in the CONCACAF Champions League with three games remaining in the group stage: Sept. 18 vs. Deportivo Saprissa, Sept. 23 vs. Real Esteli FC and Oct. 23 at Deportivo Saprissa.

Sporting Kansas City will return home to resume the MLS regular season at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Aug. 23, when the league leaders play host to D.C. United at Sporting Park in a clash of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. A limited number of tickets are available for the match and can be purchased online at
– Story from Sporting KC

T-Bones can’t hold early lead; fall to Sox

Kansas City couldn’t hold a five-run lead and fell 6-5 to Amarillo Tuesday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas City jumped out to an early lead on Amarillo starter Chandler Barnard, who allowed the first six Kansas City batters to reach and failed to record an out before being taken out of the game.

Matt Padgett, Nick Schwaner, Bryan Sabatella and Chris Bianchi all collected RBIs as Kansas City scored five runs in the first inning for the second night in a row. Padgett, the lone T-Bones batter with more than one hit, ended with a perfect 4-for-4 night.

Down 5-0, the Sox came roaring back over the game’s next three innings. Kansas City starter Derek Gordon (1-1) loaded the bases with nobody out in both the second and third innings, surrendering two runs in each frame.

Trailing 5-4 in the fourth, Geraldo Valentin singled and Ransom LaLonde doubled before Derek Perren grounded out, scoring Valentin and tying the game at 5-5. Joe Weik then laced a single into right field, scoring LaLonde and giving Amarillo a 6-5 lead. Gordon, who lasted only 3 innings for Kansas City after allowing four runs on five hits and four walks, took the loss.

The Amarillo bullpen combined to toss eight shutout innings after Kansas City’s five-run first. Derek Blacksher (4-9), who relieved Barnard in the first inning, allowed only two base runners in 7 innings. Randy Hamrick pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.

With the loss, the T-Bones fall to 39-48 on the season, while the Sox move to 31-54. Kansas City concludes its three-game series with Amarillo Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 913-328-5618.

Box score:
– Story from T-Bones

Three area students graduate from Avila

Three Wyandotte County students recently graduated from Avila University, Kansas City, Mo.

The August graduates include:

Michelle R. Appel, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Science in health care management; Michelay Jeanette Green, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Science, organizational development psychology; and Kaitlynn Michelle Long, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Arts, communication.

Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Road in south suburban Kansas City, Mo.