Decision Day was one to forget for Sporting KC fans as Peter Vermes and his men dropped yet another chance to secure a home playoff game, falling 2-1 at Real Salt Lake. A lackluster performance on the field combined with unfortunate results around the league mean KC will again be in a hostile environment for the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round.
It didn’t take long for the day’s hopes to fade. Albert Rusnak made a terrible mess of a shot in the box but was able to get a last touch before losing possession. The ball slipped between Ike Opara’s legs, falling for Luis Silva to easily poke it into the back of the net. SKC had dropped to 5th place inside three minutes.
Sporting KC was lacking intensity and creativity. Absolutely nothing was going as planned. The scores around the rest of the league were offering no relief either. The Dynamo had jumped to 4th and Portland & Seattle had extended their leads. Great.
But it would only get worse for Open Cup Champs as Brooks Lennon doubled the lead for RSL in the 42’ minute. The Sporting KC back line was caught ball watching and gave Lennon not one, but two open shots on goal. The 20 year old smashed home the rebound after Dykstra blocked his first attempt.
It was a truly disappointing first half from SKC and nothing resembling what fans would have expected on the final day of the season. Vermes undoubtedly lit up the locker room during the break and his team actually seemed to respond.
Sporting began the second half with a flurry of chances on goal. Jimmy Medranda found some space and fired off a “shross”. Diego Rubio did well to settle it but his shot from point blank range went right at Nick Rimando.
Graham Zusi was the only source of attack for most of the day and he was getting into dangerous spots. Latif Blessing fired a shot just over the bar and he missed another huge chance in front of an open net. They were playing like they knew an early goal would give them a chance to turn the day around.
That goal really should have come, but how many times have we seen that this year?
Another check around the league would only yield more bad news as well. Houston had pulled away from Chicago meaning SKC would need all three points to jump spots.
To their credit, they kept up the fight until the final whistle. Sporting would eventually get one back, but far too late. In the 89’ minute Zusi sent in a corner kick and Opara beat his man to the spot, turning in a bullet header. But the goal was barely even a moral victory.
That uneasy feeling you have? Like you’ve been here before and there is nothing you can do about it?
That’s deja vu. But it’s all too real.
For the last four years, SKC fans have watched this Sporting Fit team crumble in the final stretch of the season. Seven years in a row of making the playoffs is something. It really is! But the problem is that they’ve given basically zero reason for fans to expect them to survive the Knockout Round.
Match times have not been announced, but Sporting KC will travel to face the Houston Dynamo yet again this coming week.