Independiente 2, Sporting Kansas City 1 | Concacaf Champions League Recap
Independiente de la Chorrera sprung a shock in their first-ever Concacaf Champions League series, and they did it again on Wednesday, as they defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at Estadio Agustin Sanchez in La Chorrera, Panama in the quarterfinal first leg.
Independiente, in their first CCL tournament, buried Toronto FC in the previous round, and while this time around they also got the win, Sporting kept the margin to a goal and scored an away goal, something that could prove pivotal in next week's second leg.
After the teams began the game playing pretty openly, the home side began to exert pressure on Sporting and were rewarded for their forays in attack in the 39th minute, as Romeesh Ivey buried the one-timer to give the Cinderella side the lead.
After the halftime break, Sporting's luck changed, as they earned a penalty just minutes into the second half, with defender Jaylin Lindsey the recipient of a crunching tackle as he made a cross just in front of the endline. Ilie Sanchez converted the penalty to tie up the match.
But the level score didn't last, as Alexis Corpas came off the bench and scored a blast to the top corner to beat Adrian Zendejas in Sporting's goal, just before the hour mark, to make it 2-1 to the Panamanians.
Sporting will host the second leg of the series on March 14.
- 39' – CAI – Romeesh Ivey
- 51' – SKC – Ilie Sanchez (PK)
- 59' – CAI – Alexis Corpas
- THE BIG PICTURE: The big surprise on the night was the amount of squad rotation Peter Vermes did for Sporting, making eight changes from their league opener against LAFC on Sunday. Given Vermes' reputation for playing a relatively small group on his roster, the rotated group performed fairly well on the night. Of course, they still have work to do in the home leg to overturn the series in order to advance.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Corpas quietly entered the game for Independiente but his golazo to take the lead spoke volumes.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It was the "Omar Browne and Romeesh Ivey show" once again for Independiente in Panama, and while both players were excellent again, Ivey's night was slightly more efficient and he gets the nod.
- SKC: Sunday, March 10 vs. Philadelphia Union (3 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in USA; DAZN in Canada)