Sporting Misses Out On Supporters' Shield

SKC’s 3 points in Philly put them second in the East Conference
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, October 28, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

Sporting Kansas City fans watched New York’s Sunday match against Chicago with bated breath, as a loss or draw for the Red Bulls would bring the Supporters’ Shield to Kansas City.

But the Red Bulls took care of their business and won the match 5-2, and Sporting KC will now play New England in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The first leg of that series will be Nov. 2 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., and the second will likely be Nov. 6 at Sporting Park.

Although they got the short end of the stick on the last night of the Supporters’ Shield race, Sporting had done everything in their power to win the trophy, winning an exciting game by a score of 2-1 in Philadelphia.

The breakthrough was made just two minutes into the second half when Graham Zusi leaped into the 6-yard box and headed the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead for Sporting KC.  Zusi’s sixth goal of the season solidified Sporting’s will after 45 minutes of controlling soccer.  The rest of the match saw Philadelphia bounce back and move the ball around the middle of the field without getting much opportunity to get in on goal.

Lawrence Olum was made a hero two minutes into stoppage time when he smashed the ball past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.  Teal Bunbury recorded the assist.  The goal secured a win the hung in the balance for the previous 40 minutes.  After Jack McInerney scored the equalizer, Philadelphia had threatened Jimmy Nielsen’s goal and looked like stealing the match from Sporting and in turn qualifying for the playoffs.

With the win at PPL Park, Sporting improved to 58 points in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings. A second trophy in as many years would be won if Chicago Fire could hold New York to a loss or draw, but that was not meant to be and the Red Bulls won the match and the Shield. 

Missing out on that is tough, but Sporting are probably put in a better place in the MLS Cup playoffs as a result.  They will play New England, a team they have beaten by an aggregate score of 7-0 over the last two seasons, over a total of four games. Had Sporting won the Shield, they would play either a Montreal Impact team that has beaten them once this year at home or Houston Dynamo for the third consecutive season, infamously the previous two playoff matchups with Houston ended seasons.

NEXT UP: November 2 – New England Revolution vs. Sporting Kansas City, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., TBD. TBD.

Skylar ROLSTAD

Nationality:
USA
College:
Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.
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