Saturday’s game was a big test for the Vancouver Whitecaps, and they passed with flying colors.
In a match that saw two late dismissals, the Whitecaps went into Children’s Mercy Park and picked up a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. The win, which sealed the Whitecaps’ postseason spot, keeps the Canadian side atop the Western Conference, four points ahead of Saturday’s opponent.
The game’s lone breakthrough came through Erik Hurtado. On a ball over the top from Jordan Harvey in the 53rd minute, Hurtado fired a first-time flick past Tim Melia to earn the three points.
It was far from the only chance. Diego Rubio fired a 10th minute penalty kick off the post in one of several missed opportunities for Sporting KC. Rubio was also robbed by a pair of strong saves from Stefan Marinovic throughout the first half, keeping the hosts off the board.
In the second half, Graham Zusi saw a shot clang the crossbar while Melia provided a big save of his own on Alphonso Davies to keep Sporting KC alive. In the 90th minute, Marinovic provided his biggest save of the match, tipping a Cristian Lobato stop up and over the bar.
Both teams finished with 10 men as both Zusi and Cristian Bolanos were sent off in the game’s waning moments. Zusi was called for a foul that was a clear denial of a goalscoring opportunity while Bolanos earned his marching orders for taking out Benny Feilhaber moments later.
Next up for the Whitecaps is a match against the New York Red Bulls while Sporting KC faces Minnesota United next time out.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Stefan Marinovic made a whopping seven saves with several being of the spectacular variety.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Diego Rubio’s early penalty kick miss set a bad tone for a Sporting KC side that failed to take chances on Saturday night.
MATCH TO FORGET
Rubio was thwarted several times throughout the match in what could have been, and probably should have been, a vital Sporting KC result.