Sporting Kansas City's hopes of advancing in the CONCACAF Champions League were dealt a near-fatal blow Tuesday night as they were dominated by the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 at BC Place.
The win gave the Whitecaps a five-point spread in the group with only two matches to play, meaning Sporting KC would need a near miracle to win the group and advance to the quarterfinals.
The Whitecaps were off to a fast start as they scored two goals in the first 12 minutes. The first goal came in the ninth minute, when a bad giveaway in Sporting KC's defensive half led to an opportunity. Cristian Techera was on the other end of a good pass and he headed the ball into the net for the early score. Jon Kempin almost got a hand on the ball but was not able to swat it out of the way, and him coming off his line led to the net being open for the goal.
In the 12th minute the home side nearly put the match out of reach. Erik Hurtado was the beneficiary of an excellent long ball from the back line and he was all alone in front of Kempin. Kempin had come off his line to try and stop Hurtado but Hurtado was able to chip the ball over Kempin and double the Whitecaps lead. Sporting KC suddenly had a two-goal deficit looming over them.
The rest of the half had Sporting KC holding the majority of possession but unable to do anything with it. The Whitecaps took the 2-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
The second half saw Sporting KC play a little better as they put a couple more chances towards goal but still were unable to do anything with their possession. The dagger, however, came in the 64th minute.
It was Techera again as he got the ball behind the Sporting KC back line and was able to put it past Kempin for his second goal of the evening. The three-goal lead made an already improbable comeback seemingly impossible, and Sporting KC fell to the 3-0 scoreline.
This win puts Vancouver at the top of the group with six points and a +4 goal differential. Central FC sits in second with one point and a -1 goal differential and Sporting KC sit in third with one point and a -3 goal differential. For Sporting KC to advance, they have to win both remaining matches (both at home), and Vancouver has to lose out, or Sporting KC has to beat Vancouver on September 13 by four or more goals and the Whitecaps can draw against Central FC.
Sporting KC return to league play on Saturday with a road match in Philadelphia.