by Brian Turrel
Sporting Kansas City fell to the Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 0 at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday evening, ending Sporting KC’s undefeated streak on their home field. The loss handed the Whitecaps a big advantage in the MLS Western Conference standings.
Sporting KC came into the evening with the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot, and they played the first half like they deserved it, taking a big advantage in possession time (76 percent to 24 percent) and shots (12 to 5). Vancouver was not able to put a single shot on goal in the first half.
Sporting KC created several first-half chances, with defender Graham Zusi playing well up into the attacking zone and forward Diego Rubio launching five shots, including a penalty kick. However, they weren’t able to slip any shots past Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, and the teams went to halftime in a scoreless tie.
In the second half, Vancouver pulled ahead in the 53rd minute when forward Erik Hurtado volleyed in a long pass from Jordan Harvey. With the lead, Vancouver slowed the pace of the game, looking to run out the clock.
Two red cards marred the final minutes of the game. Sporting KC defender Graham Zusi was disqualified for a foul on a potentially goal-scoring breakaway by Vancouver. Two minutes later, Christian Bolanos of Vancouver was disqualified for a severe foul against KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
After the loss, Sporting KC sits four points behind Vancouver in the Western Conference standings, in a second-place tie with Seattle and Portland. KC plays plays next against Minnesota United in Minneapolis on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Photos copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel