CARSON, Calif. — Sporting Kansas City continued their positive stretch of play on the road against the Los Angeles Galaxy and held on to secure a valuable point thanks to the heroics of two homegrown players.
Midfielder Felipe Hernandez and goalkeeper John Pulskamp pulled off the two biggest plays of the game to help SKC avoid a loss and keep their playoff hopes alive with just a few games left in the season.
Sporting fell behind early thanks to a Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez strike that beat Pulskamp in the fourth minute.
The Galaxy would hold the 1-0 lead into the half, while also owning a majority of possession.
In the second half, captain Johnny Russell got on the score sheet after putting a penalty kick in the back of the net, despite goalkeeper Jonathan Bond getting a hand to it in the 67th minute.
Less than 10 minutes later in the 76th minute, Willy Agada found Hernandez on an overlapping run down the wing that left him with just the goalkeeper to beat. He cut inside and his fortuitous strike deflected off a defender and gave the visitors an unexpected 2-1 lead.
“I had a lot of space. I think the right back was up the field, so I took a look over my shoulder and I had tons of space,” Hernandez said. “The only thing on my mind was to cut back onto my right foot and put it front post. Obviously, there’s a deflection but you put it on target and things like that happen.”
The Galaxy did not go down without a fight, however, and Pulskamp was called for a foul inside his own area and Chicharito stepped to the spot and brought the hosts level in the 88th minute.
In stoppage time, a Kayden Pierre handball took several minutes of review and back-and-forth between the head referee and video assistant referee (VAR) before it was finally called in the 95th.
Chicharito once again put the ball on the spot and was faced with Pulskamp with the victory, a hat trick, and the Galaxy’s playoff push on the line.
The all-time leading goal-scorer for the Mexican national team tried a “panenka” and Pulskamp held his line to the last second and caught the ball easily to hold the score 2-2.
“Every time there’s a PK, we’re confident in our guys,” Hernandez said. “John’s big back there. He’s been big for us. I’m never shocked when you see him come up with a big play like that.”
Though SKC were able to salvage a point from the road matchup, the club hoped for a win as they try a very-late season push for the playoffs.
As it stand, Sporting sit in 12th place in the Western Conference, 12 points behind the Portland Timbers who sit in the 7-seed.
With 5 games left, SKC will need to at least win four of their remaining matches, while hoping for results from other clubs around the league.
Sporting now head to Houston to take on the Dynamo on Saturday, September 10 before a three-game home stand followed by the season finale on decision day on the road against FC Dallas.
- at Houston Dynamo – September 10 – 7:30 p.m.
- vs D.C. United – September 13 – 7:30 p.m.
- vs Minnesota United – Stepember 17 – 7:30 p.m.
- vs Seattle Sounders – October 2 – 4 p.m.
- at FC Dallas – October 9 – 4 p.m.