It may not have been the prettiest of all seasons, but Sporting KC has proved once again it is in the top class of MLS by securing the 5th seed in the Western Conference for the MLS Cup Playoffs. The visiting San Jose Earthquakes fought with everything to play spoiler, but Graham Zusi would deal the final blow of the 2-0 win this afternoon launching Kansas City into the postseason.
The home side made clear their intentions in this match right from the start. Vermes’ men were on the front foot, moving the ball around and creating chances. Dom Dwyer was able to get the ball in the final third several times, but the English native was off his game on Decision Day. It was something we haven’t seen much from Sporting KC this year, but they were bossing it. However, San Jose was making the most of what little possession they had and actually created the best chances of the half.
In the 27’ minute, SKC finally caught a break. They were threatening to score in the box when the ball, for once, had a Sporting KC bounce. It popped up off the pitch grazing the arm of an Earthquake defender and the referee pointed to the spot. Feilhaber, having never missed a PK in a KC uniform, stepped up and converted the most important goal of the season for his team.
With so much time left on the clock, all eyes in the stadium were checking the other scores around the league. The Earthquakes came close to scoring several times, so Vermes put his team in defensive mode to close out the half with a precious lead.
The second half was much of the same high flying action. Sporting KC continued to have possession and found space on the attacking end. Dwyer was again very involved, but squandered several chances. San Jose wouldn’t go away quietly. They were going to make it difficult until the whistle blew to end their season.
But in the 88’ minute Graham Zusi would end all doubt with a screamer. He ran onto the end of an absolutely perfect pass from Benny on the right wing and fired it into the roof of the net with one touch. The boys ran to the corner to celebrate the goal, the win, and their place in the postseason for the sixth consecutive year.
The Sounders took care of Real Salt Lake, putting Sporting KC in 5th. They will travel to Seattle to take on the Sounders in the one-off Knockout Round.
After all the frustration this season - all the facepalms, all the WTF’s - SKC is not done yet. Anything can happen in the playoffs and they will look to bring a post season game to CMP this year.