Three games into a season-opening 10 game road trip and travel seems to be taking a toll on Sporting Kansas City.
On Saturday, Sporting saw a three-goal lead disappear into a 3-3 tie with the expansion Whitecaps in Vancouver.
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The Whitecaps, 1-1-1, scored twice in a two-minute span of stoppage time at the end of the game and got the tie. In the last 15 minutes, a number of Sporting players suffered cramps and appeared tired.
“To score three goals on the road, that part of it was very good,” coach Peter Vermes said. “(But) it’s not holding on, it’s being able to close the game out. We didn’t do a good enough job on that side of it. That’s something we’ll have to continue to approach, but I really think fatigue had a lot to do with it tonight.”
After 70 minutes, it seemed Sporting, 1-1-1, would cruise to an easy win after taking a 3-0 lead.
Despite hearing a chorus of boos from the Vancouver fans because he shunned the Canadian national team for the U.S., Teal Bunbury scored twice. The first was a laser from the top left corner of the penalty box that Bunbury buried in the right side netting.
In the 58th minute, he took a nice pass from Milos Stojcev came in the penalty box, cut back against the defender and blasted a shot into the goal. Kei Kamara’s one-timer off a C.J. Sapong pass made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute.
But Atiba Harris redirected a Camilo Sanvezzo cross from the left side past Jimmy Nielsen in the 73rd minute to start the comeback.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Davide Chiumiento found Sanvezzo all alone in the box for an easy goal. That energized the Whitecaps, who got the equalizer a minute later when Sanvezzo’s header off a cross from Nizar Khlafan beat Nielsen.
“We should have had three (points), but we can’t put our heads down now,” Bunbury said. “It’s early in the season and we have more games to go. Coming out with a tie is not what we wanted, but we’ll take it."
“We have a lot more to work for and play for.”