Sporting Kansas City 0, Colorado Rapids 2 | MLS Match Recap
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sporting Kansas City are down to their last chance to book a trip to the 2015 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Sporting could have clinched their fifth straight postseason berth on Wednesday night, with a win against the last-place team in the Western Conference, but twice got burned on late counters and fell 2-0 to the shorthanded Colorado Rapids on goals from Dillon Powers in the 77th minute and Marcelo Sarvas in the 86th.
Kansas City (13-11-9) sit in sixth place, just one point above the red line and seventh-place San Jose. They need a home win over the LA Galaxy in Sunday's regular-season finale to guarantee a postseason spot. Wins on Wednesday and Sunday would have given them second place in the West and a first-round bye.
Sporting struggled with giveaways through the first 25 minutes leading to several chances on the counter for the Rapids – including Kevin Doyle's diving header in the 21st that forced a sprawling save from Tim Melia. More often the visitors were undone by poor passing and finishing – as when Luis Solignac put an open look well high in the opening minutes.
Kansas City settled into steadier possession later in the half, but late misfires against Colorado's physical, packed-in defense kept them scoreless before the break for their ninth-straight league match.
Sporting shouted hard for a penalty in the 60th minute, when Graham Zusi's cross into the area appeared to hit the arm of defender Axel Sjoberg, but referee Fotis Bazakos allowed play to continue. The no-call fired up the home side, who responded with a quick burst of aggressive possession. Kansas City continued to struggle with balls on the ground in the crowded penalty area.
Sporting got another flurry of chances after the 70th minute after switching tactics to look for 1-v-1 mismatches – but they went for naught.
Zusi sprung himself for a chance from close range in the 71st minute, only to fire high over the bar. Zac MacMath got down to stop Soni Mustivar's deflected shot from distance after Benny Feilhaber's laid-off free kick in the 73rd, and Krisztian Nemeth shot high in the 75th on another open look.
With Sporting continuing to push forward, desperately needing three points to book their postseason trip, the Rapids made them pay for it.
Juan Ramirez's long ball found Doyle and Powers in space for a 2-v-1 break against center back Matt Besler, with central defender Kevin Ellis and Mustivar caught out of position up the field. Doyle took the pass and laid it off to Powers, who drove on goal and chipped around Melia from just inside the top of the 18.
Quintilla nearly equalized just after entering in the 82nd minute, but rolled his shot from distance just wide of MacMath's right post. In the 86th, two minutes after Cronin's sending-off, another break out from the back led to Sarvas' insurance strike.
The Rapids close out the season on Sunday at Portland.