by Brian Turrel
Austin FC took advantage of a youthful indiscretion by Sporting Kansas City midfielder Cam Duke, scoring at the close of both halves on the way to a 2-0 win Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park.
Sporting started with a revamped front that included Marinos Tzionis on the left and Willy Agada up the middle and put some early offensive pressure on Austin. In the 19th minute, Felipe Hernandez streaked forward from midfield and played the ball through to Tzionis, who fired a shot that forced a diving save from Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
Duke was sent off in the 43rd minute when he picked up his second caution just four minutes after his first. The first yellow card was for a relatively soft tackle, as referee Fotis Bazakos handed out four in quick sequence to get control of a suddenly chippy match.
With a man advantage, Alex Ring scored for Austin in the first half’s single minute of stoppage time. His easily savable roller from 25 yards out squirted through the arms and between the legs of goalkeeper John Pulskamp.
Daniel Salloi and Erik Thommy were subbed on at halftime to generate some Sporting offense, and the home side earned the chance for an equalizer in the 61st minute when Austin committed a hand ball in the penalty area.
Stuver turned away Daniel Salloi’s low penalty kick to the left side, earning a loud “Stooooo” from the small but raucous Austin cheering section in the southeast corner of Children’s Mercy Park.
Austin closed out the scoring at the very end of regulation when Sebastian Driussi slipped the Kansas City back line and got a clean ball through from Diego Fagundez.
Sporting Kansas City will be back at Children’s Mercy Park on Aug. 6 to face the Los Angeles Galaxy, kicking off at 7:30 p.m.