Zusi’s late strike lifts Kansas City over Colorado in MLS return tourney

Miami (AFP) – Graham Zusi’s deflected winner in stoppage time lifted Sporting Kansas City to a wild 3-2 win over nine-man Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer’s return tournament in Orlando, Florida, on Friday.

In a match that featured three video reviews, two players sent off and 12 minutes of second-half stoppage time, Zusi’s winner erased Jonathan Lewis’s 84th-minute equalizer for the short-handed Rapids.

Colorado had taken the lead in the sixth minute on Kellyn Acosta’s sensational left-footed strike.

Khiry Shelton pulled Kansas City level in the 65th and Alan Pulido put Sporting ahead for the first time with a penalty in the 72nd minute after Diego Rubio was judged to have handled Zusi’s cross.

Moments later, Jack Price was sent off by referee David Gantar on a straight red card for dissent.

That reduced the Rapids to nine men, after Colorado’s Danny Wilson pulled down Shelton as he was sprinting toward the goal in the 61st minute and video review determined denial of an obvious scoring opportunity.

The outcome was something of a role reversal for Kansas City, who were down to 10 men when they surrendered a stoppage time winner in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota United on Sunday.

With three points from two matches, Sporting finished the night one point behind Real Salt Lake and Minnesota in Group D after Real and Minnesota played to a goalless draw in Friday’s final match in the World Cup-style tournament dubbed MLS is Back.

The event, being played at the ESPN Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, marks the league’s return from its coronavirus shutdown.

In Group C action, veteran midfielder Federico Higuain of Argentina scored four minutes after coming in to lift DC United to a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution.

Higuain’s goal — taking advantage of a lapse by Antonio Delamea — marked the second time he helped DC take a point after he scored the first goal in a furious late rally for a 2-2 draw against Toronto on Monday in a match that marked his DC debut.

Adam Buksa put New England ahead in the 51st minute with a powerful header off Cristian Penilla’s deflected cross.

But the Revs could not hang on for a victory that would have booked their place in the round of 16.

The damage was done in the 72nd minute, when Higuain intercepted Delamea’s poor pass back to Matt Turner, turned and fired past the keeper.

The result saw the Revolution pull level with Toronto atop Group C, both with four points. DC United have two and Thierry Henry’s Montreal Impact are still seeking a first point of the competition.