Corey Baird Brace Puts Major Dent in Sporting KC Playoff Hopes

Corey Baird
Photo Credit: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Corey Baird’s brace put a major dent in Sporting KC’s playoff hopes on Saturday night as Real Salt Lake pulled out a 2-1 victory in Kansas City.

Corey Baird Brace Leads RSL to 2-1 Win Over SKC

Sporting KC was all over RSL. Seven shots in the first half, two on target, and one hit the back of the net. Johnny Russell smashed a free-kick home from short distance to give Sporting the lead. Less than 10 minutes later, Albert Runak smashed a free-kick off the bar and Corey Baird reacted quicker too it than any Sporting defender.

Baird got his second in the 70th minute as Sporting were pushing for a goal and RSL went on the counter. Graham Zusi was pushed far into the midfield and Baird ran right at the space he would’ve been in if Sporting hadn’t gotten stretched. Fontás didn’t recognize or even check over his shoulder to see if anyone was there and Baird expertly finished into the lower corner.

Sporting was pushing hard for an equalizer, but the game changed when Daniel Salloi was sent off with a straight red card in the 84th minute. Sporting was unable to get the equalizer with ten men despite a few half-chances.

Three Things

  1. Sporting KC manager, Peter Vermes lamented the fact that the team should’ve been up 4-1 after the first half. Again, Sporting KC created a ton of chances and then didn’t finish them. Felipe Gutierrez’s penalty kick that was smashed off the post only exacerbated the goalscoring issues.
  2. Gerso was taken off five minutes into the match after taking a hard kick from an RSL player that was not called a foul. Luckily for Sporting, he likely won’t miss time as the challenge hit a nerve in his foot, and he did not go in for MRI’s or X-Rays.
  3. Sporting KC now has a 21% chance of making the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight’s prediction metric. They sit on just 28 points after 24 games played. With ten games left, it becomes increasingly important they pick up points. Home losses against teams that are direct playoff spot rivals don’t help.

What’s Next?

Sporting KC will have a double game week next week, as they travel to Orlando for a Wednesday night match, and then return home to face the surging San Jose Earthquakes. Real Salt Lake have a tough double game week as well, with a midweek battle against Seattle and a weekend match at LAFC.

 

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