Sporting KC makes statement by handing LAFC first home loss

Sporting KC makes statement by handing LAFC first home loss

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Sporting KC makes statement by handing LAFC first home loss

Sporting KC are starting to make a habit of this.

For the eighth time in franchise history, SKC handed a home side their first loss in their new stadium.

Coming off a big road win in Houston, Sporting KC was trying to claw its way back up the Western Conference standings after taking just one point of a possible 15 in the five games prior.

SKC knew they had quite the challenge in front of them: no team had beaten LAFC on their home field at Banc of California Stadium—until Saturday night.

“Before the game we talked about it, ‘let’s be the first [to win in Banc of California Stadium],’” said Sporting KC defender Ike Opara. “But when the whistle blows it’s really just about trying to get a win. You don’t really think about being the first team to break their unbeaten record here.”

LAFC fielded what some viewed as a makeshift lineup after coming off a midweek 120-minute U.S. Open Cup match in Houston that ended with a loss in a penalty shootout. Forwards Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing, and the newly-acquired Christian Ramirez all came on as late subs for LAFC, but they were unable to provide a spark the black-and-gold needed.

“This league is really tough and at the end of the day you just want to get your points wherever you can get them,” said Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes. “We knew this was going to be a tough match, they’ve performed very well here at home. It’s a great environment, beautiful stadium and it was a pleasure for us to be able to come in here and play.

“They’re a very good team and I think the organization has done a great job, but at the end of the day, we’re neck and neck right now and it was important for us to get some points here. The fact that we got three points, those are big points for us.”

Out of the eight times Kansas City handed an opponent their first home loss, six of them occurred in the team’s current stadium:

  • 1996: San Jose Spartan Stadium (old stadium)
  • 2006: Houston Robertson Stadium (old stadium)
  • 2007: Toronto BMO Field
  • 2009: Seattle CenturyLink Field
  • 2009: Real Salt Lake Rio Tinto
  • 2013: Houston BBVA Compass Stadium
  • 2015: NYCFC Yankee Stadium
  • 2018: LAFC Banc of California Stadium

No other MLS team has handed another side their first home loss in their current stadium more than twice.

“I think looking back it will be one of those things where we can say we did. We’ve done it quite a bit with some stadiums on the road actually, when teams open up stadiums,” said Opara. “We can add that one to the books but I just think we’re really delighted we got three points tonight.”

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