Vancouver Whitecaps 0, Sporting Kansas City 1 | MLS Match Recap
VANCOUVER, BC - Sporting Kansas City spoiled the Vancouver Whitecaps’ homecoming party with a 1-0 victory at BC Place after the Caps returned from played five straight games on the road. Vancouver dominated the first half but were made to pay for failing to convert their numerous chances when Kevin Ellis headed home what proved to be the match-winner in the 52nd minute.
The victory made it four wins in their last five matches for Kansas City (8-3-6; 30 points), who remain in sixth place in the West, but close the gap on the Whitecaps to just two points, with three games in hand.
In a weekend that saw those immediately around them falter, Vancouver (10-8-2; 32 points) will feel disappointed that they couldn't capitalise, although they remain tied at the top of the Western Conference standings with Seattle.
Led by Mauro Rosales, the Whitecaps took the game to the visitors in the early going, with Octavio Rivero and Cristian Techera having a couple of chances and centre back Tim Parker seeing his goalbound header cleared off the line in the 13th minute.
Sporting KC weathered the storm and finally settled into the match as the action slowed after the opening Vancouver onslaught.
Kansas City were still having trouble with the home side's fast paced attack but chances were proving hard to come by for both teams and they went in at the break scoreless.
The pace of the game now suited Sporting to perfection and they took the lead in the 52nd minute after Vancouver sat deep and failed to clear a spell of pressure from the visitors, allowing Ellis to rise between Kendall Waston and Tim Parker to head home a Krisztian Nemeth cross.
Nemeth came close to doubling KC's lead six minutes later when he crashed a low effort from 25 yards off the right post.
Vancouver then came within inches of tying things up in the 62nd minute when Techera's shot was blocked by Tim Melia before hitting off the chest of Matt Besler and being cleared off the goalline by Amadou Dia.
Techera came close to finding the equalizer again in the 76th minute when his dipping free kick was tipped over the bar by Melia.
The Whitecaps tried to push for an equalizer in the closing moments and Parker came close with another header but Melia produced a fantastic save to turn the ball around the post.
That was to be their last clear chance and Kansas City held on for three huge points in the Western Conference playoff race with just one defeat in their last 10 matches.
Vancouver's time at home remains brief and they now need to regroup before heading back on road to face the Portland Timbers next Saturday in a big Cascadia Cup clash. Kansas City face further Canadian foes next weekend, with the Montreal Impact heading to Sporting Park on Saturday.