One game in 100 words: D.C. United came out of the gate with multiple chances on goal, and at one point, it seemed as if the Eastern Conference’s best squad would be able to muster the go-ahead goal to ultimately grab three points. Referees received blame from both sides, and the major occasion of the contest arrived when Chris Pontius fell after contact inside the box, only to have no PK call. Nonetheless, the 0-0 tie still allows United to capture a playoff birth, while Sporting will try to retain either a second or third-place playoff position amidst the typical close-quartered postseason rush.
D.C. United: None
Sporting KC: None
Three moments that mattered
76’ — Hamid with excellent reactions — Bill Hamid is one of the better goalkeepers in MLS, and with this save, he showed why many respect his talents and importance to his squad’s success. Seth Sinovic’s moon ball connected with Dominic Dwyer at the near post, and when the Englishman headed it back into the middle of the five-yard box, C.J. Sapong hit a fast-moving header on frame. Hamid collapsed to his left on a dime, making the noteworthy stop.
54’ — Pontius falls to turf inside the box, but no call — If this opportunity swung in United’s favor, the club could’ve seized a victory, but Sporting could’ve regained life and netted a late equalizer to turn this competition in essentially the same direction. Fabian Espindola put Pontius behind Sporting’s back line with a lobbed ball several yards outside the box. The American midfielder jumped to collected the pass, and Sporting defender Igor Juliao collided with him. But according to the referee, the contact didn’t warrant a PK chance.
28’ — Great scoring opportunity for Espindola — This instance begged a finish. The high work rate of Taylor Kemp along the wing gave him enough space to penetrate the penalty area before dropping a pass off to Luis Silva, who couldn’t corral the ball with a lane to shoot. Thus, he fed Espindola in the center of the box, and Sporting goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum successfully moved forward to cut down the forward’s angle on net. Espindola blasted effort was stopped and whipped out of bounds.
D.C. United: Bill Hamid; Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp; Sean Franklin, Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 64’); Luis Silva (Eddie Johnson 72’), Fabian Espindola
Sporting Kansas City: Andy Gruenebaum; Igor Juliao, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Lawrence Olum, Graham Zusi; Toni (Benny Feilhaber 78’), Dominic Dwyer, C.J. Sapong