A late goal and some stoppage time goalkeeping heroics kept honors even in Minnesota United’s home finale against Sporting Kansas City.
Diego Rubio opened the scoring just before half time for visitors, but that was cancelled by Brent Kallman’s header in the final minutes as Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City played out a 1-1 draw.
The first half didn’t provide much in the way of action until the tail end of the frame. The two sides combined for a total of eight shots, with only a single one from Minnesota finding the target, before SKC broke through just before the whistle.
Diego Rubio smashed home the opening goal in the second minute of added time after a wonderful build up from the visitors.
Christian Ramirez tried to finish off a quick counter attack with a shot off an Ethan Finlay cross before the half was up, but Tim Melia was up to the challenge, thus keeping the 1-0 scoreline at the break.
The second half was fairly quiet in terms of scoring chances. Possession slowly drifted in Minnesota’s favor, but they couldn’t muster anything resembling an opportunity to level the score.
The same could be said for SKC’s more methodical, possession based attacks. Content with the one goal lead, they took few chances going forward and aimed to keep the ball off Loon feet for much of the half.
Minnesota pushed harder as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes. In the 80th minute, Ramirez forced a fingertip save out of backup keeper Andrew Dykstra, who replaced the injured Melia near the hour mark, but the real fireworks came three minutes later.
Rookie Abu Danladi flipped a perfect cross for Brent Kallman, who thumped a header past a flailing Dykstra to level the score.
Minnesota’s attempts to flip the scoreline were halted at the end of the 90 minutes when Joseph Greenspan took down Rubio just outside the penalty area to earn his second yellow card on the night, leaving the Loons with ten men.
SKC got the bulk of the chances in the seven minutes of stoppage time. Their best came at the 93 minute mark when Bobby Shuttleworth was called into action to make a massive save on a point blank header from Roger Espinoza.
Despite the barrage of shots on and around the goal after that, nothing went in for Kansas City and they had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
The lone point puts Sporting a point above the Timbers into second place in the Western Conference. They are three points back of Vancouver Whitecaps the top spot with one game in hand. They play that extra match on Wednesday when they travel to Houston to play the Dynamo.
The Loons are now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with only two matches left to play. They close the season at LA Galaxy next Sunday and at San Jose Earthquakes a week later.
MAN OF THE MATCH
It’s hard to look past Diego Rubio, who opened the scoring in this match and injected some life into proceedings heading into the half.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Bobby Shuttleworth’s 93rd minute robbery of Espionza’s would be winner to keep the score tied.
MATCH TO FORGET
Andrew Dykstra was less than impressive after being thrust into action in place of Tim Melia, who left injured in the 59th minute. He struggled with the ball at his feet and, although his central defense didn’t do him any favors, will feel he could have done more to stop Kallman’s tying goal.