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Columbus Crew SC fall to Sporting Kansas City on late Besler goal

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A Kamara brace wasn’t enough

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus is still searching for their first away win after falling in Kansas City 3-2. Ola Kamara scored a brace to lead the offense, but the team gave up the lead after a Tyson Wahl red card, Benny Feilhaber penalty, and Graham Zusi strike, before Matt Besler scored the winner in stoppage time.

Crew SC got the first goal off a wonderful defensive effort in the 22nd minute by Harrison Afful. He forced a turnover. The loose ball was collected by Ethan Finlay. He dropped a pass into the box to find an excellent Afful run. The one touch pass from Afful was crossed into Kamara who caromed the ball off his knee and into goal.

Sporting Kansas City had their chances. They had nine shots, including four on goal through the first half. The best chance would be a Dwyer redirect right in front of goal. The ball drifted harmlessly wide from an inch perfect cross in the 10th minute.

Columbus nearly doubled the lead with a point blank chance off another turnover. Afful again forced a turnover and found Kamara. Kamara they ran the length of the field unopposed then slipped the ball to the right in the box for Finlay. The winger then passed right back to Kamara. His point blank shot was parried wide by Melia. A goal would have given Crew SC a two goal cushion right before halftime.

The game would shift in the second half with an excellent Ike Opara pass that sent the Crew SC backline scrambling. Dwyer would take the pass and force a recovering Tyson Wahl into fouling him in the box. Giving up a penalty and earning a red card. Feilhaber would easily convert to tie the game in the 49th minute.

Sporting Kansas City pressed the man advantage quickly, after Tony Tchani and Wil Trapp were caught upfield in a missed tackle, Zusi pushed forward into the vacated space. With Michael Parkhurst and Chad Barson slow to close down, Zusi took a long range shot that beat Steve Clark. Kansas City had reversed the result in seven minutes.

The home side appeared content to let Crew SC play possession before closing down when Columbus broke over the halfway line. Columbus would push forward and Sporting Kansas City broke up forward move. The balance would hold until Crew SC shuffled the team and brought in Dilly Duka for Trapp.

Within minutes of Duka's insertion, Crew SC would find a goal against the run of play. With Tchani under pressure from the home side, he patiently waited then uncorked a defense splitting direct ball to Kamara. The forward ran on to the pass and found himself alone on goal with only Melia to beat. He drove a chip to even the game with 15 minutes to play.

Columbus appeared to feel a winner was within reach and the game stretched out with both sides fatiguing and looking for the goal. Crew SC would have a couple chances to break on the counter, but substitute Besler came up with several timely interceptions.

That push forward put Columbus at a disadvantage as Kansas City countered with speed in the 89th minute. It took some last ditch defending from Barson in the 90th minute to keep the home side off the board. Barson's clearance went out for a corner giving one last shot to Sporting.

With tired legs, Crew SC tried to kill off the three stoppage time minutes, but Sporting Kansas City would take advantage of a Columbus team that had been playing a man down for most of the second half. After a short clearance, Jimmy Medranda fired a far post cross that Ike Opara sent across goal. Besler finished in stoppage time and sent Crew SC to another away loss.

Columbus is now 3-6-7 with 16 points on the year. They have a trip to fellow Eastern Conference strugglers New England Revolution next Saturday and a reunion with recently traded striker Kei Kamara. Both sides will be looking for a win after disappointing 3-2 losses.