KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City’s increased fan capacity for the 2021 season could be heard for all 90 minutes Friday during the home opener against Orlando City SC at Children's Mercy park.
The 40% capacity crowd aimed much of its energy and ire toward head referee Joe Dickerson during a 1-1 draw that saw four goals reviewed with all but Nani's 79th-minute equalizer for Orlando City being disallowed for offside infractions.
The bright spot for the home side came in the 45th minute courtesy of Gianluca Busio, a sensational 18-year-old Homegrown Player who continues to amaze.
His rocket past Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese just before halftime turned the crowds ire to jubilation, but it wouldn't last.
Even with Alan Pulido and Johnny Russell coming on as second-half subs, Sporting KC was unable to extend its lead.
Orlando City, which controlled nearly 60% of the possession and outshot SKC 11-9, found the game-tying goal with a backheel goal off a rebound chance.
Making his second career MLS start, John Pulskamp made a diving stop, but the deflection went to Nani for the cheeky finish.
Sporting KC remains without starting goalkeeper Tim Melia (chest) and midfielder Graham Zusi (foot surgery) as they rehab lingering injuries.
Manager Peter Vermes' club returns to action at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Real Salt Lake.