A young Sporting Kansas City team fell to Club Leon in the 2021 Leagues Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday night, losing 6-1 at Children’s Mercy Park in the second iteration of the MLS vs. Liga MX competition.
The visitors got on the front foot quickly, with Santiago Colombatto scoring the opening goal after 16 minutes. The ball landed at the midfielder’s feet in the penalty box, and though his first shot came off SKC defender Kayden Pierre, he easily scored on the rebound.
Eleven minutes later, Leon were up 2-0. Omar Fernandez made a deep run in SKC’s half, making his way to the edge of the penalty area and scoring from there.
Leon capped off a dominant first half with a third goal, as Fernandez completed his brace in the 44th minute. He received the ball from the left corner of the penalty area and ran a bit closer to goal before scoring from a tight angle.
The second half started with more balance, allowing Sporting KC to eventually get on the board in the 61st minute. Grayson Barber sent the ball into the box from the right side of the pitch, and substitute Cameron Duke swept home a one-timed shot from close range to make it 3-1.
SKC’s comeback aspirations were dashed quickly, though, when Leon responded with another goal a minute later after Video Review confirmed the sequence. Elias Hernandez passed toward Jose Ivan Rodriguez on the left side of the pitch, then centered for a scoring opportunity. Waiting nearby was Angel Mena, who scored from close range.
In the 72nd minute, it was 5-1 to Leon. Fernandez got close to goal before sending a backward pass to Mena, who then quickly sent the ball to Jean Meneses. From near the penalty spot, Meneses calmly finished past goalkeeper John Pulskamp to continue building the visitors’ lead.
Leon added another goal just six minutes later. Mena made a long pass from the midway point, with Victor Davila meeting the ball on the right side of the pitch. Davila then made a run into the penalty area before scoring from a difficult spot.
- 16′ – LEO – Santiago Colombatto
- 27′ – LEO – Omar Fernandez
- 44′ – LEO – Omar Fernandez
- 61′ – SKC – Cameron Duke
- 62′ – LEO – Angel Mena
- 72′ – LEO – Jean Meneses
- 78′ – LEO – Victor Davila
- THE BIG PICTURE: Experience reigned supreme on Tuesday night, with Leon ultimately putting on a dominant performance. Sporting KC matched Leon’s 11 shots and got a consolation goal through Duke in the second half, but head coach Peter Vermes looked to prioritize MLS competition with a heavily rotated lineup. The result extends Sporting KC’s losing streak against Mexican sides, but provides some redemption for Leon after losses to LAFC and Toronto FC in the last two editions of the Concacaf Champions League.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Leon’s fifth goal was a nice show of teamwork, with Fernandez and Mena providing smart passes before Meneses’ finish.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Fernandez led his team’s offensive dominance, scoring twice in the first half and capping things off with an assist in the second half.
- SKC: End of tournament
- LEO: Tuesday, September 14 vs. winner of New York City FC/Pumas | Leagues Cup Semifinal
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