Donnelly: Sporting Earn Point at San Jose As Playoff Race Gets Insane

Sporting Kansas City narrowly averted disaster Saturday with a late-game goal to salvage a draw against one of the worst teams in the league, the San Jose Earthquakes

To put it bluntly, the game was horrible. In part, beause of to the postage stamp San Jose calls home, which gave me flashbacks to Community America Ballpark Side rant: How in the hell did we ever play there? And how much did opposing teams have to just dread going in and playing on that tiny field that radically alters the strategy and flow of games?

Praise be to LIVESTRONG!

Saturday’s contest saw several good chances come and go for both sides within the first minute. After that the game was a back and forth affair, with the limited space really cutting down on Sporting’s ability to use its speed and athleticism to stretch teams out.

San Jose finally found the back of the net in the 85th minute when Chris Wondolowski got on the end of a cross and one-timed a nice volley past Jimmy Nielsen from point blank range. The cross got in behind central defender Aurelien Collin, who lunged at the ball but whiffed, leaving Wondolowski with an unchallenged strike from around the six yard box.

I guess the San Jose goal woke KC up from their slumber. 

Not even 30 seconds later, directly off the kick off, CJ Sapong slithered up the middle of the pitch beating four or five San Jose defenders. He slipped a nice ball right into the path of a streaking Teal Bunbury, who hit a hard, low shot to the right of the San Jose keeper to level the score at one each.

Sporting’s answer came so quickly after they had just gone down a goal that the cameras hadn’t even switched back to live action yet.  All the television audience saw was a ball flying into the San Jose net.

So KC salvaged a point on the road and remain in first place in the east, where they head back home for their final MLS home game of the season October 15th against the New York Red Bulls.

Here’s the thing that’s scary – no team in the Eastern Conference has clinched a playoff spot yet.  Not one!

The west is already locked up, and has been for some time, by LA, Seattle, and Salt Lake.

But the east is coming down to the freaking wire. To give you an idea, right now, NY sits in the final wild card playoff spot, with 40 points. They would be the 10th and final team in if the season ended right now.  And SKC leads the east with 45 points. 

Let that sink in for a moment…

Between NY and KC sits Houston with 43 points, Columbus with 44, and Philly with 44. 

The top three get automatic berths, and after that there are four wildcard teams that get in based on points and regardless of conference. Things could get very, very crazy, sports fans. 

This Saturday’s game is nothing short of HUGE. Similar to what happened recently in MLB, this thing is going down to the last game of the season.

All KC has to do now is win its last two and no one can catch them. Win one and tie one, I’ll take that, too. Lose one and tie one, or (gulp) lose both… well, let’s not even think about that.
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3 Responses to Donnelly: Sporting Earn Point at San Jose As Playoff Race Gets Insane

  1. Superfreq says:

    SKC and playoffs
    I think SKC will probably end up in second with Philadelphia edging us out. I believe KC will beat NY at home but it’s not this Saturday but two weeks from now on Oct. 15th. The DC match to close the season I can’t get a read on, we haven’t played well at RFK. Depending on results leading up to it, who knows what positions either team will be playing for as DC had a bad weekend and is outside looking in but with games in hand still.

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks Superfreq
    for pointing out my mistake on the NY game. It is on the 15th. I’ll get that changed ASAP.

    DC’s games in hand are a bit scary to me as well. But as long as KC takes care of their own business we should be seeing some great playoff soccer in a few weeks at LIVESTRONG.

  3. Markus Aurelius says:

    I’ve played on bigger fields in my backyard
    San Jose’s field was a joke. That was the first time I’ve ever watched a match in their “stadium.” This is one of the things that has always bothered me about the sport. Given the drastic difference in the quality (and flow) of play caused by small fields, I really wish MLS would break from FIFA on this point and phase-out non-standardized field dimensions (or at least drastically reduce the min/max width and length of the pitch). A 30-yard differential in length and a mammoth 50 yard differential in width is too much of a variation. Imagine if the Chiefs decided to make the field at Arrowhead 130 yards long. I’ve always disliked this in baseball as well but the variations in depth of the outfield in MLB are not as consequential as the variation in pitch dimensions in MLS.

    On a different note, I was not pleased when Vermes subbed in Sapong for Kamara instead of pulling Bunbury for Sapong but the quick equalizer by Sapong-Bunbury made up for it. That being said, I still think Sapong-Bunbury is not a preferred lineup.

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