Sporting Kansas City started out like gangbusters Saturday, hoping to snap a three-game losing streak and in search of the club’s first regular-season win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Unfortunately, a sluggish start to the second half allowed the Colorado Rapids to erase a two-goal halftime deficit and rally for a 2-2 draw.
“Obviously, we’re happy to come on the road in a tough atmosphere against a good team and get a point, but we’re also a bit disappointed that we didn’t hang on for the win after going up two goals early,” forward Teal Bunbury, who scored both Sporting KC goals, said by phone. “Overall, we’re satisfied with it and there are a lot of things from this game we can take as positives and also learn from.”
Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener at D.C. United, Bunbury provided instant offense with a goal 64 seconds after the opening whistle.
The chance started as Bobby Convey sucked in two defenders on the left side before laying off a pass toward the corner for Seth Sinovic on an overlapping run.
Sinovic, who returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a broken hand, delivered a crisp cross to the center of the box, where Bunbury rose up and put away an easy header into the side netting at the far post.
Bunbury added a second goal in the 14th minute when Chance Myers and Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens collided going up for a long throw-in by Matt Besler.
The rebound went straight to Bunbury, who buried a left-footed one-time shot.
“Teal was good,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said from Colorado. “He knocked two home. The first goal was a great goal. It was a great buildup and a great header. He was courageous to hang in there and that was a great finish. The other goal was he was opportunistic to score that off a throw-in, which is also good to see.”
But Sporting KC, 7-3-1, allowed Colorado to seize control of the field during the final 20 minutes before halftime. The Rapids, 5-6-1, maintained 65 percent of the possession and the dangerous opportunities for Sporting KC dried up.
Disaster struck in the 52nd minute when Convey fouled Martin Rivero from behind and drew a yellow card a few strides outside the Sporting KC penalty box. Rivero’s ensuing free kick found an unmarked Tyron Marshall, who slipped free at the back post and beat goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen with a hard, downward header.
Off another restart from inside 25 yards in the 60th minute, Colorado equalized. Jeff Larentowicz drove a low, hard shot that Nielsen pushed to safety with a diving stab. But Rapids forward Conor Casey corralled the rebound and slipped the ball back in front of net for Kosuke Kimura, who redirected it past a scrambling Nielsen.
“You always want to limit the number of free kicks you give up, especially in your half,” Vermes said. “But we’ve still got to defend it and we didn’t.”
Sporting KC seemed to regain control late in the game and created several dangerous chances in the closing minutes and stoppage time, but wasn’t able to retake the lead and claim three points.
Not ideal, but something to build from with San Jose and the MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski coming to Livestrong Sporting Park next Sunday.
“Peterson Joseph actually gave us a little bit of a spark, but so did Lawrence Olum late,” Vermes said. “Everybody who came on made an impact, which is what you want to see.”
Midfielder Paulo Nagamura had three shots, including one on goal, before giving way for Joseph in the 77th minute. Nagamura started in place of Roger Espinoza, who was serving a one-game suspension after being shown a red card a week earlier in a 2-1 loss at Chicago.