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Sporting KC fails to clinch playoff spot with 1-1 draw in Minnesota

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A first half goal by Rubio does not stand up

MLS: Sporting KC at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City had the lead and the momentum at the half but failed to hold on and missing an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot.

A back and forth first half finished on a good note for the visitors. Right at two minutes into first half stoppage time Sporting KC passed the ball around looking for an opening.

Ilie Sanchez received the ball just outside the box and while his pass was tipped it did go to Latif Blessing. The Ghanaian winger slid the ball forward to Diego Rubio. SKC’s striker held off his defender, turned and struck it high over Bobby Shuttleworth for the 1-0 lead at half.

Sporting KC’s defense was tested but holding in the second half when they lost a major key to their success this season. Goalkeeper Tim Melia stepped out to position himself in the box when he came up hobbling and clenching the back of his leg.

In the 59th minute Sporting KC was forced to sub in Andrew Dykstra for the last 30+ minutes.

With possession and the flow of play going back and forth in the second half and neither side being able to take advantage of it, the difference was an 84th minute cross.

Abu Danladi crossed the ball into SKC’s box where Bent Kallman headed the ball past Dykstra at close range to equalize for the home team.

Sporting KC came close a number of times as they fought to retake the lead. Minnesota gifted SKC a man advantage when Joseph Greenspan earned a second yellow a few minutes after his first and the subsequent red in stoppage time.

With the last few minutes a man up, SKC launched a flurry of attacks. Shuttleworth came up huge to save a Roger Espinoza headed from inside the six yard box.

SKC was able to put the ball through the box a couple more times in stoppage and had players right on top of it without being able to redirect it on goal.

With a Vancouver Whitecaps loss earlier in the day, Sporting KC did pick up a point on the top team in the Western Conference and sit three back with a game in hand.

With three starters away with the U.S. National Team and three reserves with their respective national sides, Sporting KC still had the chance to take the win at Minnesota United but was undone by poor finishing.

SKC had 20 shots but only 4 on goal. With six of those blocked, that leaves 10 shots not on goal.