The delay spanned an even 2 hours, necessitated by lightning and lengthened by a steady downpour on the Children’s Mercy Park field. In all, the weather tuesday in Kansas City, Kan., extended Sporting Kansas City’s stay in the CONCACAF Champions League an additional 120 minutes.
But after play resumed, that stay concluded only an hour later.
Vancouver defeated Sporting KC 2-1 on Tuesday in CCL group play behind a 93rd-minute goal from 15-year-old midfielder Alphonso Davies.
With one match remaining in CCL Group C, Sporting KC has been mathematically eliminated.
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“Giving up a goal like we did at the end, it shows a lack of concentration. I think it has a lot to do with fatigue,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “I think there were a lot were a lot of guys out there who just weren’t 90-minutes fit.”
The lineup played its part in that, with Vermes opting to rest his regulars.
Sporting KC entered the evening needing a pair of victories in its final two group-stage games to keep its CCL hopes alive. Instead, Vancouver has clinched the three-team group and will advance to the knockout stage in 2017.
The weather made the result all the more agonizing Tuesday. The lightning halted play at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday in the 35th minute of the match.
Vancouver emerged on the front foot out of the delay and turned the momentum into the game’s first goal in the 41st minute, a sequence that forward Erik Hurtado finished.
Following a halftime break shortened by 5 minutes, Sporting KC striker Diego Rubio evened the score in the 55th minute. Seth Sinovic was credited with the assist.
“It was difficult with the delay, but I thought both teams had a chance to win this game,” Rubio said. “Especially in the second half after my goal, it was wide open. We gave everything; they gave everything; but they were able to score the second goal.”
It was Davies who provided the winner in stoppage time, but for Sporting KC, a draw would have produced the same fate as a loss — elimination from the Champions League, for which it qualified when it won the U.S. Open Cup last season.
Sporting KC will play host to Central FC of Trinidad and Tobago on Oct. 19 to conclude its four-game stay in the tournament, but it cannot advance.
On Tuesday, Sporting KC used a starting lineup that featured none of its regulars, other than the rehabbing goalkeeper Tim Melia, who has not started for the senior team in six weeks after experiencing back spasms. It also included three players from the Swope Park Rangers, Sporting KC’s USL club, a third division affiliate.
A day before match, Vermes acknowledged the club would field a lineup with mostly backups. He placed his preference instead on the MLS season, which has five games remaining. Sporting KC, which will play host to the LA Galaxy on Sunday, sits on the inclusion side of the postseason race.
As of Tuesday, it’s out of the CCL race.