Action from the CONCACAF Champions League match between Real Esteli and visiting Sporting Kansas City (light blue jersey) on August 19, 2014, in Esteli, Nicaragua. (Photo: www.pinolerosports.com)
ESTELI, Nicaragua – Sporting Kansas City and Real Esteli shared the points in a 1-1 draw in week two of Group 2 play in the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League at the Estadio Independencia on Tuesday.
Real Esteli jumped in front in the sixth minute thanks to an own-goal. Rudel Calero found Daniel Da Silva in the left side of the box. The 24-year-old Brazilian raced towards the net and snapped off a shot that goalkeeper Jon Kempin blocked into teammate Jorge Claros. The ball then rolled four yards and over the goal line.
Toni Dovale equalized 10 minutes later for Sporting Kansas City, sneaking a well-weighted free kick from 20 yards over a three-man wall and inside the near-right post.
The host, which played Saprissa to a 1-1 tie on August 6, nearly regained the lead in the 27th minute, but Eduardo Pras put a header off the post.
Eight minutes after the interval, DaSilva got behind the Sporting defense, but Kempin pounced off his line to challenge and Claros cleared the ball from danger.
Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes brought on Dom Dwyer – MLS’s second-leading scorer -- for the final quarter hour.
It was the host, though, which would generate the next quality chance. In the 81st minute, Juan Barrera latched onto a cross from the right and put a first-time attempt on frame. Kempin bravely saved the point-blank shot.
Esteli continued to press for the winner and came close in the first minute of stoppage time as Carlos Chavarria’s acrobatic volley went well over the bar.
On the final kick of the game, Esteli’s Jefferson De Almeida swung a dangerous free kick into the box that Kempin covered well.
Real Esteli meets Saprissa again on August 26, while Sporting Kansas City hosts the Costa Rican powerhouse in its next match on September 18.
To view the Real Estelí vs Sporting Kansas City Highlights, click here.