Sporting KC moves on to conference finals, 4-2 over Salt Lake

Forward Daniel Salloi knocked the ball past Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the closing seconds of the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Sporting KC finished off Real Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal match, outscoring Salt Lake 4-2. Sporting won the match 5-3 on aggregate goals, but endured an excruciating second half to earn the victory.

Kansas City started the second half with a 2-0 lead and plenty of momentum from a strong first half, but twice gave up goals that brought RSL within one. Because of the two-leg aggregate format, a 2-2 or 3-3 draw would have advanced Salt Lake over Kansas City to the conference finals against Portland.

With a potential equalizer in sight, Salt Lake threw its offense forward, and prevented Kansas City from keeping possession and running out the game clock. Throughout the last half hour, and most intensely from the 80th minute on, Salt Lake strained the Kansas City defense, coming away with several near-misses, but no game-tying score.

In the seventh minute of stoppage time, KC forward Daniel Salloi broke loose for the game’s last goal, and the referee’s final whistle sounded, drowned out by the roar of the celebrating crowd.

Diego Rubio picked up the game’s first goal in the 14th minute, assisted by Johnny Russell and Felipe Gutierrez. Salloi followed on five minutes later, with Gutierrez again on the assist. Kansas City kept the pressure on through the remainder of the half, and as head coach Peter Vermes put it, “We could have easily went three or four goals still without them even scoring one.”

Salt Lake’s Sebastian Saucedo scored in the 60th minute to make the score 2-1. Kansas City re-established its margin on a penalty kick by Ilie Sanchez, earned when Diego Rubio was brought down on a run near the Salt Lake goal.

Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando tried to disrupt Sanchez by telling him to “make sure you go in one side or the other.” Sanchez placed the ball squarely in the middle of the goal for the score.

After the game, Sanchez talked about the kick as redemption for a miss earlier in the season. He said, “I came from Dallas when I missed that PK. It was right in front our fans that traveled that night, and it was in that corner, and I was so sorry for them. I’m just happy that I could do it tonight and everybody was able to enjoy it.”

The MLS playoffs will take a two-week hiatus to allow for players in international competition, including SKC forward Johnny Russell for Scotland. Sporting KC will face off with the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference final. The first leg will take place in Portland at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 25. The second leg will be at Children’s Mercy Park at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 29.

Johnny Russell signed an autograph for a lookalike after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Johnny Russell crossed the ball in front of the Salt Lake goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Daniel Salloi, surrounded by a cluster of Salt Lake defenders, scored in the 19th minute. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Diego Rubio was taken to the ground in the penalty area. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Ilie Sanchez knocked home a penalty kick in the second half. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez touched the ball across to Diego Rubio for an assist on the first goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
A squadron of A10 Warthogs from Whiteman Air Force Base flew over Children’s Mercy Park before the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Yohan Croizet headed the ball to the middle. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Daniel Salloi made a run at the Salt Lake goal in the second half. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Blue Devils fall to North Central; play Allen County Tuesday

Sophomore Arother Ratliff flew past North Central Missouri’s Marty Jackson (21) and Cameron Lockett (35) for a KCKCC field goal in the Blue Devils’ 78-52 loss Saturday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

North Central Missouri got away from Kansas City Kansas Community College late in the first half on the way to a 78-52 win in the Keith Lindsey Classic Saturday night.

The loss left the Blue Devils 1-3 heading into a home contest with former Jayhawk Conference rival Allen County Tuesday at 7 p.m.

KCKCC trailed North Central just 17-14 only to be outscored 16-8 the final six minutes of the first half and trailed 33-22 at the break. The visiting Pirates (3-2) then put the game out of reach with a 9-2 second-half start that expanded the lead to 42-24.

Lack of scoring continued to plague the Blue Devils, who had only one player in double figures. Freshman Jonathan Richmond scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting but only two points came in the second half.

Tyson Beringer added eight points, four rebounds and three assists; Jalen Davis seven points and four rebounds; Malcolm Tate and Daiyon Taylor six points each; and Arother Ratliff five points.

Just 3-of-14 from three-point range for 18.8 percent, the Blue Devils were 21-of-53 for 39.6 percent from the field and only 7-of- 18 (.389) from the foul line.

Rebounding domination was also a major factor as the Pirates won the battle of the boards 44-31.

Jake Salisbury and Marty Jackson each had 15 points and Solomon Thomas 14 for North Central, which notched 18-of-34 second-half shots for 52.9 percent and finished at .509 for the game, The Pirates also won the turnover battle, committing 15 to KCKCC’s 20.

KCKCC freshman Kelyn Bolton climbed the back of North Central’s Emil Spriggs (1) for a high-flying shot while teammate Tyson Beringer, right, moved in for a possible rebound in the Blue Devils’ 78-52 setback. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

Collier’s big night powers No. 9 KCKCC women to 109-69 win

KCKCC’s Lexy Watts left a trail of North Central Missouri defenders for a layup in the Lady Blue Devils’ 109-69 win Saturday. Trailing the play are KCKCC’s Caroline Hoppock (21) and Lillie Moore (5). (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

With sophomore Nija Collier leading the way, Kansas City Kansas Community College got a measure of revenge for one of last season’s most disappointing losses Saturday.

Turning in one of the best first half performances in Blue Devil history, Collier scored 31 points including four 3-pointers, pulled down 18 rebounds, blocked six shots and added three steals and three assists in a 109-69 win over North Central Missouri in the final round of the Keith Lindsey Classic.

“One of the best individual performances I’ve seen in my four years. She gave us a spark when we needed it,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “She always plays with energy and gives maximum effort. Today she was making threes, finishing around the rim and cleaning up rebounds.”

Collier had 22 points including 3-of-3 from long range, 12 rebounds and three blocks in leading KCKCC to a 52-37 halftime lead. She finished the night 9-of-14 from the field, 4-of-5 from 3-point and 9-of-9 from the foul line.

The win ran the No. 9 ranked Blue Devils’ record to 5-0 heading into another tough test Tuesday when they face Des Moines Area Community College in Boone, Iowa, before returning to host Saint Mary junior varsity Thursday at 7 p.m.

Collier got lots of offensive help from freshman Lenaejha Evans, who had 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and sharpshooters Camryn Swanson and Brodi Byrd, who each had four 3-pointers, Swanson finishing with a career high 19 points and Bryd 12. Caroline Hoppock added eight points, Lillie Moore seven points and seven rebounds and Kisi Young eight rebounds and four assists.

“This is the same North Central group that beat us at home (69-67) last year and our returners remembered that,” McKinstry said. “It was a game they felt they gave away with costly turnovers and fouls and they took it personally.”

North Central coach Jennie Croy was impressed.

“That’s easily the best team we’ve played this year,” said Croy, whose Lady Pirates are 1-3 against Jayhawk Conference foes, losing to Fort Scott 75-66 and Johnson County 81-61 while defeating Hesston 65-60 in the Classic.

With Collier, Swanson and Byrd each netting four three-point goals and Hoppock two, the Blue Devils finished with 15 three-pointers, one off the single game record.

“We were 15 of 18 for 38.5 percent, which I was pretty happy with,” McKinstry said. “They played a zone so you have to make shots and we did that tonight. And the part I really loved was 20 of 23 free throws. That’s 48 of 58 the last two days, which is huge.’

Other pluses included 20 offensive rebounds, a 58-35 domination of the rebounding and only seven second half turnovers after 11 the first half.

KCKCC sophomore Camryn Swanson took aim on one of her four three-pointers on the way to a career high 19 points in the Blue Devils 109-69 win over North Central Missouri Saturday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
North Central Missouri’s Karrisa Baber knocked the ball away from KCKCC’s Caroline Hoppock in a race for a loose ball in the Blue Devils 109-69 win Saturday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)