Sporting Kansas City concluded the 2014 MLS regular season on Sunday with a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored both goals for the visitors, tying the MLS single-season goal scoring record with 27 goals in 2014.
The two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, at Red Bull Arena in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round.
The winner will advance to be the host of No. 1 seed D.C. United at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Tickets for Sunday’s potential home playoff match at Sporting Park will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday via Ticketmaster.com.
Four days after a 2-0 loss in Costa Rica to close out the CONCACAF Champions League group stage, Sporting KC fell by the same scoreline on Sunday in the regular season finale. Wright-Phillips put an exclamation point on a historic season with goals in the 15th and 70th minutes to claim the MLS Golden Boot.
His first of the match came with a right-footed finish past Eric Kronberg for the game-winning goal. Eric Alexander earned the assist, his ninth of the season, as Wright-Phillips scored his first road goal since July 16.
The Englishman doubled New York’s lead with 20 minutes to play and in doing so became the third player in MLS history to record 27 goals in a season.
Winning the ball from Aurelien Collin deep in his attacking third, Wright-Phillips cut inside and placed his shot into the back of the net for his sixth multi-goal game of the season. Wright-Phillips, 29, nearly completed the hat trick in the 83rd minute but was denied the the record-breaking goal on a point-blank save by Kronberg.
Sporting Kansas City’s lone shot on goal in the game came in the eighth minute. Graham Zusi skipped past Dax McCarty in the midfield and fed Dom Dwyer in the left channel, however Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles did well to get a hand on Dwyer’s well-struck shot.
Dwyer finished the 2014 regular season with 22 goals, second most in MLS and a single-season team record.
Robles was called into action again for two important interventions in a five-minute span. In the 38th minute, Paulo Nagamura’s effort from outside the penalty area was palmed away with a full-extension dive. Nagamura came close again two minutes from halftime with a full volley that deflected in the goalmouth and was smothered by Robles.
Sporting Kansas City, which will compete in the postseason for a fourth consecutive year, finished the regular season with a 14-13-7 record and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind New York for the second straight year.
The Red Bulls went unbeaten against Sporting KC in 2014 (2-0-1) and the two teams will now meet in the postseason for the first time in their 19-year history.
– Story from Sporting KC