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Sporting KC falls to Atlanta United FC in season opener

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-27 20:37:50-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City fell 3-1 to Atlanta United FC Sunday in the club’s 2022 season opener.

Scoreless for 84 minutes, forward Dániel Sallói, who entered the match with high expectations following a breakthrough season, answered Atlanta’s two first-half goals in the 85th minute.

However, it wasn’t enough. Atlanta scored again in the 89th minute to cement its 3-1 victory.

SKC finished the match with 14 shots, two shots on goal, three saves and 15 fouls.

While Sporting was riding a preseason high into the season opener, the team acknowledged Sunday would be a challenge.

"This [weekend] is gonna be a big challenge for us, a big test, already in Atlanta. We'll see where we stand," Sallói said Thursday.

Postgame Sunday, goalkeeper Tim Melia said while they faced a fierce opponent, the loss came down to "self-inflicted errors."

"There are going to be moments in games where we lose balls or we make mistakes, but I think as a whole our shape and our positioning and just how open we were hurt us and it allowed them to constantly be on the counter attack," Melia said. "We were in these situations where we are 1v1 defending with really no help around within 30 yards."

Manager Peter Vermes agreed that the team was exposed and exhibited "unbalanced discipline" at times.

"I don't know if the game says it all. There was a lot of chances back and forth," Vermes said.

But with the rest of the season to go, Sallói is confident the team will find its rhythm.

"It's not clicking yet. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. It's the first game," he said. "We need to get into the rhythm and do well. I'd rather have these games out of the way early on in the season and then have our team click after a couple of games and then have that rhythm that you're talking about. I know it's going to come. It always comes in this team."

Sporting KC faces the Houston Dynamo at 2:30 p.m. March 5 in the team’s home opener.

Fans can view the game on 38 The Spot, KSHB 41's sister station.