Sporting Kansas City looked prime to return to the win column into the 60th minute Saturday against the rival Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Ill., but everything changed during 90 crucial seconds.
For the second straight game, Aurelien Collin was whistled for a penalty in the box and no sooner had play resumed after Sebastian Grazzini’s game-tying penalty kick when Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza was shown a red card.
Unable to douse the Fire the remaining 30 minutes playing a man down, Sporting KC’s losing skid reached three games with a 2-1 defeat.
Once Sporting KC settled in during the first half, manager Peter Vermes’ crew looked to be in control, and a 31st-minute goal confirmed that.
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Making a run into the Fire penalty box from the right side, Espinoza found forward Bobby Convey with a left-footed centering pass.
Convey nicked the ball past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson for a 1-0 lead.
Moments before halftime, Sporting KC nearly grabbed a two-goal lead when forward C.J. Sapong slotted a pass back to Espinoza, whose 20-yard rocket was tipped into the crossbar.