Donnelly: Sporting Heading into Playoffs After Finishing 2nd in MLS by a Whisker

Sporting Kansas City took care of its business, but it still wasn’t quite enough to win the MLS Supporter’s Shield, awarded to the top scoring team in the League.

That was destined instead for the New York Red Bulls, who throttled the Chicago Fire Sunday 5-2 to take the trophy.  If NY had lost or tied, Sporting would have had the honors.

So, great regular season, punctuated by KC’s road form.

Saturday against Philly in Philly, the boys showed why they are poised to make a deep playoff run this year with their blue collar attitude and great defensive play.

And every now and again you get some gems from Graham Zusi, like the header he scored against Philly to put his boys up 1-0 in the first few minutes of the second half.

However the real guts of the team are made up of Dom Dwyer‘s bulldog harassment,  Zusi’s tracking and Uri‘s positioning and pressing.

And again Jimmy Nielsen came up with a couple of big time saves, including one a straight up 1 v 1.

Unfortunately, right after Zusi scored, Philly notched one as well.  The last 15 minutes of the game were insane, since Philly could have qualified for a playoff spot with a win, or be left out with a loss or draw.

“We could have easily closed up shop after they tied us that late,” said KC boss Peter Vermes after the game.  “But I also think fitness wise, it really showed at the end how much more we had in our gas tank to be able to finish it off.  Guys running full for the score and that determination is something that you need in the playoffs.”

With a ton riding on the line for both teams, there was all out abandon.  Philly would burst forward only to have KC counter with the speed of substitute Teal Bunbury.

In the 90th plus minute, Teal corralled a deflected ball and got himself into the box on the counter.  He cut back and slid the ball to his right foot, slanting a back pass to the rushing Lawrence Olum, who one-timed the left footer under Philly keeper Zac MacMath.

Olum’s first goal in MLS put KC up 2-1, and it was a huge goal that would stand up.

Unfortunately, New York didn’t cooperate, but what’s done is done, and KC is still in a great position heading into the playoffs.  They’re matched up against the New England Revolution, who they tied 0-0 away, and beat 3-0 at Sporting Park this season.

KC gets the Revs away on November 2nd, then at home on November 6th or 7th.  Let’s go Brisket Bob.

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One Response to Donnelly: Sporting Heading into Playoffs After Finishing 2nd in MLS by a Whisker

  1. legendaryhog says:

    Exciting end to the game. Teal had a nice assist and Olum got his first goal in the last minutes. Good pick-me-up for two players who have not been playing as well as they had in the past. Nice to go into the playoffs on that note.

    When Chicago went up 1-nil in the first six minutes, I was thinking, ok, maybe we actually have a chance at the Shield…then Chicago went all Chicago and melted down. They could have been 3rd in the east with a win, now they don’t even make the playoffs. Wow. And that is with Mike McGee second in the golden boot rankings with 22 (granted he got some of those in L.A. before he was traded to the Fire, but still). What a crazy end of the season for MLS. A win or a loss counted for so much this year. What a tight finish. Now, let’s get past the first round Sporting!

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