Portland, Oreg. (September 7, 2019) – For roughly 15 minutes on Saturday night, it looked like Sporting KC’s 8th life of 2019 was still tact. It took 10 minutes for that life to expire and now, Sporting KC are on their ninth life of the season.
Sporting KC on Brink of Playoff Elimination after Blowing Lead in Portland
With a cagy first half, it seemed like it would either take a stroke of genius, or a stroke of luck to break the deadlock. Sporting KC got the latter from Benny Feilhaber in the 65th minute. Whether or not he’ll claim that as a shot, the stat sheet will. A completely misplayed cross ended up a goal of the week candidate to give Sporting KC the lead. But a one-goal lead, in Portland with that much pressure coming down-hill, is tough to defend.
What an opening goal! Benny Feilhaber's expression says it all. #PORvSKC
— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) September 8, 2019
Jeremy Ebobisse leveled for the timbers in the 83rd minute after Sporting KC’s backline fell asleep, and Brian Fernandez came off the bench to get the winner.
“We did more than enough to get out of here with at least a point,” Sporting KC manager, Peter Vermes, said after the match. “Obviously we didn’t do enough to get out of here with three points, which we should have.”
Sporting KC’s season isn’t over by any means. Crazier things have happened in MLS’ postseason race history. But they’ve made their hill to climb that much tougher. The onus now is on their remaining matches, and accumulating as many points as possible, which will include a reverse 6 pointer against Portland, at home, in the penultimate week of the 2019 season.
But Sporting’s push to the brink tonight was reminiscent of the issues that have plagued them all season long. A backline that was once the best in the league, had become the most inconsistent in the league. And despite not conceding for more than 300 straight minutes, they showed the chinks in their armor, again, late in the match.
Sporting has five games remaining, all against Western Conference opponents, and four against teams above them in the standings, another loss would burry them.
We’ll see if Sporting KC at full strength can make the stretch run and find themselves in the postseason, but at this point, they’ll need help. But it starts with them.
They’re on their ninth life of 2019. The question is: how many weeks can they stay alive, and can they survive through their ninth life of 2019?