Sporting KC blank Austin FC, halt three-game skid

League: MLS

Posted on: 30 Jun, 2024 at 06:16 AM

Credit: David Rainey-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Leibold notched a first-half goal and Stephen Afrifa tallied one in the second half as Sporting Kansas City ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over visiting Austin FC on Saturday night.

Sporting KC (4-12-5, 17 points) snapped a club-record 17-match streak without a clean sheet. The victory was just the third in 11 home matches. SKC needs to put a string together to get back into the playoff picture, as they entered the game 1-10-0 in the prior 11 matches.

Sporting dominated the stat sheet, outshooting Austin 14-2 with the only two shots on goal.

Austin (7-8-6, 27 points) had won five of the last six meetings, but its offensive road woes continued. Their five road goals are the fewest in MLS. The Verde and Black remain above the red line, but their position is more tenuous.

Sporting pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 69th minute on a goal from Afrifa. Memo Rodriguez intercepted a pass in his own zone. After a minor scrum, Rodriguez found Johnny Russell, who raced up the right side unmarked.

Russell drove it into the box, looking like he was going to blast one toward Austin keeper Brad Stuver. Instead, he crossed it to a charging Afrifa, who had an easy tap-in.

Sporting then played keep away for the rest of the match.

Sporting grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. Kayden Pierre, making just his fourth start this season, advanced near the baseline on the right side before crossing it to Leibold outside the box on the left side. Leibold advanced it forward a few feet before sending it toward the goal with his left foot. It caromed off the back side of Jon Gallagher and off the right upright into the net.

Sporting had the better opportunities in the first half but couldn't gain more than a 1-0 halftime lead.

--Field Level Media