Sporting KC Shocked in Panama by Upstart Independiente

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Sporting KC
Club Atletico Independiente's Omar Brown (L) vies for the ball with Sporting Kansas City's Jaylin Lindsey (R) during their Concacaf Champions League football match at Agustin Muquita Sanchez Stadium in La Chorrera, Panama, on March 06, 2019. (Photo by Carlos Lemos / AFP) (Photo credit should read CARLOS LEMOS/AFP/Getty Images)

La Choerra, Panama (March 5, 2019) – Club Atletico de Independiente La Choerra has been a surprise the whole 2019 version of the CONCACAF Champions League. Their under-dog story carries on with a 2-1 defeat of Sporting KC in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal.

The marauding underdog run through MLS that Independiente have gone on is so far the story of the CONCACAF Champions League. After embarassing Toronto FC, they went on and pulled off another upset against Sporting KC

Sporting were stagnant all night, resulting in very little chances from open play. While their own energy and exuberance was missing most of the night, Independiente’s surely wasn’t. Independiente got the party started in the 39th minute on a clinical counter, finished off by Romeesh Ivey, who now has three goals in the tournament.

Sporting KC got one back in the second half to make it 1-1. Jaylin Lindsey was taken down harshly in the box, after the ball was gone, and the referee pointed to the spot, where Ilie Sanchez stepped up and slotted home calmly for his second goal of the tournament as well.

Independiente’s winner didn’t come much after that though, as Alexis Corpas’ sensational blast from distance was the difference in the match.

Three Things

  1. Sporting DID get a crucial away goal. On paper, the result doesn’t look good. They tried to rotate the squad through waht they thought was a smaller opponent and got burned. Thankfully, they have a second leg to this tie, and a really good home field advantage.
  2. Independiente will not go away. They’re a strong team that wins every challenge and tries to hit on the counter as much as possible, and they’re quite good at it too. The goal scored initially was just a clinical counter-attack, but the second half wonder-strike was a sight to behold from Alexis Corpas.
  3. Sporting KC have kinks to work out in the midfield, and with the backline. There are some new players, new figures that they all have to gel. While they’ve done a good job so far, the second team still clearly will need time and a chance to adjust to playing with each other. Today’s spine grouping of Barath, Rowe, Espinoza, Besler, and Ilie has never played a game together outside of training and pre-season, not to mention entirely different fullbacks on either side of the center-back pairing. It’s not an excuse, but it’s also not something you can ignore either.

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