Vancouver Whitecaps knock off Sporting KC in Western Conference Clash

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Vancouver Whitecaps
HARRISON, NEW JERSEY- FEBRUARY 22: Erik Hurtado #19 of Vancouver Whitecaps during the New York Red Bulls Vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC CONCACAF Champions League match at Red Bull Arena on February 22, 2017 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kan. (September 30, 2017)- Sporting KC lost at home for the first time since last May, dropping tonight’s match to the Vancouver Whitecaps by the score of 1-0. Vancouver holds on to first place in the Western Conference with the result.

Vancouver Whitecaps knock off Sporting KC in Western Conference Clash

The Vancouver Whitecaps came into tonight’s match with one clear intention: escape. They packed in a five man back line for the first 10-15 minutes of the match. Sporting KC had chances galore, and never converted. Vancouver was quite lucky to get through the first half unscathed, as Diego Rubio put a ton of chances on target.

Sporting KC looked like they would take the lead after Daniel Salloi earned a penalty kick thanks to the usual clumsy challenge from Kendall Waston. Initially the call was deemed outside the box, but Baldomero Toledo awarded a penalty kick after consulting with VAR. Diego Rubio stepped up as usual penalty taker, Benny Feilhaber, was on the bench as a sub to start the night. The shot cannoned off the upright and Vancouver had their first escape trick of the night.

The Vancouver goal came from nothing. They had been looking to play the long ball all night long, and for all but 10 seconds, Ike Opara and Erik Palmer-Brown were up to the task. But in the 53rd minute, Erik Hurtado finally got onto a ball over the top, and with a deft flick, put one past Tim Melia. Vancouver then knew what they had to do to grind out the result.

Vancouver time-wasted, cleared every chance, milked the clock every chance they got. It was a real, playoff level effort to bring the game to a grinding halt. They accomplished everything they wanted.

As the match came to a close, Sporting KC’s passing got sloppy, and then almost led to a Yordy Reyna breakaway goal. Graham Zusi fouled him and was deemed to have denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Zusi received a straight red. Moments later, Christian Bolaños rake his hands across Benny Feilhaber’s face as he tried to get around him. Baldomero Toledo was right there, and Bolaños received a straight red card as well. The match finished 1-0 and 10 men a piece.

For Sporting KC, this loss is their first home loss of the year, and keeps them on 47 points, which will be good for third place in the western conference at the moment. Seattle’s result tomorrow could see them leapfrog both San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting KC. They still are in prime position to get a home playoff match, which has been their stated goal all season long.

For Vancouver Whitecaps, the win solidifies them at the top of the Western Conference table, where they will likely end the 2017 season. The win also sees them clinch a spot in the Western Conference Playoffs for 2017.

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