Sporting KC’s season hits new low in 4-0 loss to Columbus Crew without a shot on target

Sporting KC switched up its formation on Saturday night while traveling to face the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew.

The results, however, did not change. Sporting KC fell 4-0 to the Crew behind a hat trick from Cucho Hernandez.

Sporting KC has now trailed in 13 straight matches. The club has 3 wins, 12 losses and 5 draws through 20 matches this season. Sporting has also conceded four goals in three consecutive games.

The tactical change for this match involved five defenders taking the field. The starting center backs were Robert Castellanos, Robert Voloder and Dany Rosero. Zorhan Bassong and Kayden Pierre took up the wide defending positions and ventured forward when Sporting was on the attack.

For the first 30 minutes, Sporting KC held its own. Goalkeeper John Pulskamp made timely saves, and the defenders kept the game in front of them. But right around the 30th minute, Pierre exited due to an injury to his right hand or arm; Columbus took advantage of some confusion down Sporting’s right-hand flank when Khiry Shelton replaced him.

It took three passes to shred Sporting’s defense. Hernandez scored his first of three goals on the night, receiving the third pass and sending Castellanos and Voloder the wrong way with a “chop” move reminiscent of former Kansas City Wizards star Preki.

Hernandez scored his second goal in first-half stoppage time. He received a cross in the box and attempted a shot, which deflected off Rosero’s leg and crept into the net.

Christian Ramirez made it 3-0 in the second half. Again, three passes were enough to break through the Sporting defense, all the way from the goalkeeper to Ramirez up top. Pulskamp made an initial save, but the Sporting defenders didn’t follow the loose ball in the box, which Ramirez put away.

Hernandez’s hat trick came moments later on a powerful free kick outside of the box that Pulskamp could do very little to stop.

Sporting did not register a shot in the second half until the score was already at 4-0. The club failed to register a shot on target over the whole match and finished with three shots total.

Up next: Sporting returns home on Saturday, June 29, when Austin FC comes to Children’s Mercy Park for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

This story will be updated.

Daniel Sperry covers soccer for The Star. He can be reached at