Miller scores late goal for Sporting to tie Stoke
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- Little-used forward Kyle Miller scored a fluke stoppage-time goal in his first start for Sporting Kansas City, salvaging a 1-1 draw against English side Stoke in an international exhibition on Wednesday night.
Miller, who began this year with the reserve team and didn't sign a contract until May 30, just happened to be in the way of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic's clearance attempt in the second minute of added time. The ball hit him in the head 40 yards from goal, deflected back over Begovic and sailed into an empty net.
"The clearance just came right to me. I was turning my head and I saw it at the last second," said Miller, who played his high school and college soccer in the Kansas City area. "I was able to get something on it, and fortunately, it went into the goal."
Despite the draw against Stoke, which finished 14th in the English Premier League last season Sporting's winless streak in international friendlies reached four matches since the team renamed itself from the Wizards before the 2011 season.
"I actually thought the first half we were very good," Sporting manager Peter Vermes said. "I was very pleased with the guys. We were a little impatient in the attacking half, but I think we deserved to get a result."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis said his team handled the heat well. The temperature was nearly 100 degrees at kickoff.
"It's difficult for us, obviously, with these weather conditions again, which were extreme," said Pulis, whose team went 1-1-1 on its summer tour of the U.S. and was winless in two matches against MLS competition. "But I thought we created a lot more chances today than we had in the other games, which was pleasing. But you could see there were times when the players were sapped for energy."
Fielding a reserve-heavy lineup throughout the match, Sporting kept 6-foot-7 Stoke striker Peter Crouch in check for his hour-long stint and didn't give up a shot on goal until the second half. But in the 83rd minute, Stoke's Michael Tonge drove along the end line into the penalty area and was fouled from behind by Konrad Warzycha.
He converted his own chance from the spot in the 84th, getting Sporting's Eric Kronberg to dive to his left and shooting just inside the other post for a 1-0 lead.
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