A cheeky backheel by Nani canceled out Gianluca Busio's first-half strike as Sporting Kansas City and Orlando City SC played to a 1-1 draw at Children’s Mercy Park Friday night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting Kansas City vs. Orlando City SC | April 23, 2021
Orlando looked more likely to be the team to break the deadlock, but a lax pass out of the back by Lions goalkeeper Pedro Gallese proved costly. Daniel Salloi picked off the ball and slipped to Busio, who put pressure on Gallese. The homegrown attacker put a low shot inside the near post to give SKC the 1-0 lead.
A moment of brilliance by Nani leveled the match in the 79th minute when the Portuguese winger scored on a backheel from the edge of the six after Chris Mueller's initial attempt was blocked. The goal was given following Video Review after it was initially ruled to be offside.
It was one of three decisions, all involving potential offside goals, to go to Video Review.
Both teams had goals called back in the first half for offside, with Nicolas Isimat-Mirin’s rebound following a saved Remi Walter shot called back following Video Review. Assistant referee Kyle Atkins raised his flag on a similar goal by Benji Michel, who followed up on a juicy rebound off a Nani shot.
Referee Joe Dickerson went to the monitor for a second time in the match to negate Orlando’s potential equalizer early in the second half following Video Review.
But Nani would not be denied as the Lions earned a valuable road point.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Orlando leave Kansas City frustrated with multiple chances called back for offside, but the Lions will also also pleased with the point on the road, especially after gifting SKC the opening goal. Peter Vermes’ side will be frustrated, too, for conceding a late equalizer, albeit from a moment of brilliance by Nani.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Vermes raved about Busio’s goal, for good reason, but the world will be talking about this Nani backheel for days.
GOAL: Nani, Orlando City SC - 79th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Nani was livelier and more dangerous against SKC than against Atlanta in Week 1 and he was rewarded with the tying goal late in the second half.
- SKC: Saturday, May 1 at Real Salt Lake | 2 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ | MLS regular season
- ORL: Saturday, May 1 vs. FC Cincinnati | 7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ | MLS regular season