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Hurtado’s goal lifts Sporting KC to fourth straight win

By The Associated Press
Sporting Kansas City forward Erik Hurtado (19) celebrates after scoring what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Sunday's 2-1 home victory over Nashville SC.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Gerso Fernandes and Erik Hurtado scored and Sporting Kansas City rallied to beat Nashville SC 2-1 on Sunday night. 

Hurtado one-timed a ball in mid-air, slipping a volley under the crossbar to cap the scoring in the 79th minute. Amadou Dia played a long, arcing ball to Hurtado for the right-footed finish.

“That goal was a world-class goal that he scored today,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said of Hurtado’s acrobatic game-winning goal. “... It was an unbelievable finish.”

Hurtado said he and Dia had an idea before the match that they might use that play, which they had practiced.

“I've done it a handful of times back in college, back in high school and middle school, but never on a big stage like this. It was pretty cool,” Hurtado said. “Dia and I have worked on that play a few times on off days. He gets the ball out wide and he plays me across or plays me behind the defense, so we talked about it before the game: if we got a chance to run that play, he knows. He saw me make the run in behind and I just had to focus and keep eye contact on the ball and connect with it. Fortunate to get it in the back of the net.”

Kansas City (9-5-2) has won three games in a row and has 29 points, just one behind Western Conference leaders Seattle and Portland, which are each 9-4-3.

Walker Zimmerman scored his first goal since the season opener on Feb. 29, giving Nashville a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. 

Gerso tied it in the 53rd, redirecting a cross by Johnny Russell and scoring from point-blank range.

“It was all about us getting our first goal,” Vermes said. “If we could get that, I thought momentum would shift and it did. The guys did a good job of finding a way back into the game. They should be happy with that and they are.”

Nashville (4-6-6) had its four-game unbeaten streak snapped. 

Jack Maher, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, made his MLS debut for Nashville, which played a man down after Alistair Johnston was shown his second yellow card in the 54th minute.