The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-15s and U-17s continued their 2019-20 Generation adidas Cup qualifying campaigns on Saturday at Swope Soccer Village, with the two sides experiencing different fortunes in penalty shootouts following a pair of draws.
The U-15s played out an enthralling 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC before claiming a 4-2 victory in the penalty shootout, while the U-17s battled to a testy 0-0 draw with the Sounders but succumbed to a 4-2 defeat on penalties to close out the day.
Sporting took the lead with just 90 seconds on the clock as the U-15s forced a turnover high in the field, allowing Ryan Reid to play a one-two before rifling the ball beyond Levi Bieber in the Seattle goal to give the hosts the perfect start.
Seattle came roaring back and pulled level in the seventh minute as Joshua Hardin forced the ball home from close range, despite Misael Mena in the Sporting goal getting a piece of the ball.
Seattle won a penalty in the 52nd minute after Hardin was caught by Mena after flicking the ball beyond the Sporting goalkeeper. Sounders midfielder Reed Baker-Whiting stepped up and rattled the crossbar with the ensuing attempt before the Sporting backline cleared the ball to safety.
The Sounders did find their go-ahead goal in the 58th minute as Obed Vargas was played in on goal and he made no mistake, striking the ball high into the top corner to make the score 2-1.
Refusing to lie down, Sporting dragged themselves level as Nati Clarke was brought down on the edge of the area and Clarke stepped up himself to strike a delightful curling strike over the wall and into the top corner to make it 2-2 with just five minutes remaining. With neither side finding a winner, the game headed to penalty kicks to decide which team gained one point and which gained two points from the draw.
Edgar Bazan, Gianluca Armellino, Nati Clarke and Kelly Kipruto all converted from the spot, while Misael Mena made impressive stops on Idin Fakhri and Farhan Moustafa to lead Sporting to a 4-2 shootout victory.
Despite Sporting generating the better opportunities throughout the first half, it was Seattle that forced the best save of the opening period as Gavin Krenecki was called into a stunning save in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, tipping the ball over the bar from close range.
Krenecki came up big once again in the opening stages of the second half, coming out well to block Austin Brummett’s effort after the Sounders striker found himself all alone behind the Sporting backline.
Sporting responded as Rokas Pukstas had a chance of his own in the 49th minute, latching onto Daniel Gutierrez’s low cross but he couldn’t keep his shot down as it sailed narrowly over the bar. In the end, neither side was able to find the breakthrough as the game headed for penalty kicks.
In a reversal from the U-15s’ fortunes, it was Seattle that claimed a 4-2 victory in the shootout with Rokas Pukstas and Daniel Gutierrez converting for Sporting before a pair of impressive saves from Charlie Lanphier on Francisco Lopez and Alex Umana sealed two points for the Sounders and left Sporting with one.
The U-15s and U-17s will continue their Generation adidas Cup qualifying campaigns against the San Jose Earthquakes on Monday. The U-17s will kick off at 11 a.m. CT, followed by the U-15s at 1 p.m. CT. Both contests are free and open to the public and fans can follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates. Visit SportingKC.com/GA-Cup for schedules, standings and box scores from this weekend’s Generation adidas Cup action at Swope Soccer Village.