Sporting Kansas City suffered a 3-0 defeat to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Tuesday night at BC Place, giving the Canadian side a commanding five-point lead in Group C of the 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
Midfielder Cristian Techera scored on either side of Erik Hurtado’s early strike as Vancouver snapped a five-game winless run against Sporting Kansas City. The clubs will meet for the fifth time this season in all competitions when Children’s Mercy Park hosts the return CCL fixture on Sept. 13.
A reshuffled Sporting Kansas City lineup included 10 changes from Saturday’s 2-0 regular season win over Vancouver at Children’s Mercy Park. Center back Kevin Ellis was the lone player to keep his starting spot, joining Amer Didic, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Ever Alvarado along the back line. Goalkeeper Jon Kempin earned his second straight Champions League start, while Soni Mustivar, Emmanuel Appiah and captain Paulo Nagamura manned the midfield. In attack, striker Diego Rubio was flanked by Connor Hallisey and Cameron Porter.
Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson made nine lineup changes of his own as Kendall Waston and Fraser Aird kept their places in an otherwise revamped setup. The changes would pay dividends as Whitecaps FC raced out to a dream start, netting two goals in the first quarter-hour.
Techera landed the first punch on eight minutes, making Sporting Kansas City pay for a costly turnover in its own half. Masato Kudo intercepted a stray pass and spread the ball wide to Hurtado, whose looping cross from the right wing eluded the outstretched glove of Kempin and was nodded home by Techera. Hurtado doubled his side’s lead four minutes later, racing onto a long ball over the top from Russell Teibert and chipping into the far right corner from 20 yards.
The visitors manufactured their first chance three minutes into the second half when Didic powered forward and the ball fell to Hallisey, whose blistering strike from the left side of the box was palmed away by goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. Hallisey then turned provider in the 57th minute, serving a delectable cross to Rubio, but the Chilean’s header bounced narrowly wide.
Despite an improved display after the restart, Sporting Kansas City fell behind 3-0 in the 64th minute when Techera gathered a pass from Matias Laba, snuck behind the defense and slotted low to record his second career brace in Vancouver colors.
Rubio forced Tornaghi into a strong save in the 78th minute, bending a free kick over the wall and on frame. It would be Sporting Kansas City’s final foray of a disappointing night north of the border.
Sporting Kansas City (11-11-5, 38 points) concludes a daunting stretch of five games in 15 days with an interconference clash at the Philadelphia Union (9-9-7, 34 points) on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT