Sandy, UT– Sporting Kansas City played to a goal-less draw on Sunday afternoon against rivals, Real Salt Lake. The result leaves their playoff fate to be decided on the final day. They can still clinch a home game for the wild card if results elsewhere go the right way. They will most likely need a win though to seal their place in the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. The good, the bad, and the look ahead are on tap.
Sporting Kansas City Play To Draw, Leave Fate To Final Day
Jacob Peterson was ruled out about an hour before kickoff due to injury. With Brad Davis not even in the 18, Roger Espinoza was forced into the “left wing” role. He filled in admirably and provided good service, and extremely good defensive play. That’s been a major issue with the left side of the field in the last month. They might have just found a good solution at left wing for the foreseeable future
Graham Zusi Return
Zusi was very very good in his return. They most definitely missed his service into the box. Don’t get me wrong, Peterson has been a good fill in. However, nothing beats Graham Zusi’s service. Now maybe if Dwyer could’ve finished a few chances on Sunday, they’d be in the driver’s seat for the home playoff game in the opening round.
After putting in a few bad performances for Sporting, Besler turned in one of his best. Following his stellar performance for the USMNT on Tuesday, Vermes was questioned by Klinsmann on why he wasn’t playing for Sporting. In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Vermes said “I need him to get back to who he is. That’s really it.” It’s safe to say “He’s back!” after his two showings this week.
Both Dom Dwyer and Kevin Ellis missed golden chances within the final ten minutes to give Sporting a 1-0 lead. Dwyer also missed a one on one he had with Nick Rimando. The missed chances in this game hurt, because that was as good of a time as ever to get a road result. Especially with what was riding on the match, Sporting will look back at those three second half chances and feel like they should have had the game won.
The Look Ahead
There are many, many scenarios for Sporting KC surrounding postseason placement. Currently they’re tied on points with Portland for the final playoff spot. Portland, however, hasn’t won a game on the road in the entire season. They’ll play a CONCACAF Champions League match against Saprissa on Wednesday, and then play at Vancouver for the final match of the year. Vancouver will definitely look to play spoiler on Sunday. Real Salt Lake will face Seattle in a game that could seal somebody’s fate as a home playoff game host.