The game in 100 words (or
less more): The Vancouver Whitecaps picked up one of the biggest wins of the season on Saturday — a result which pushes them four points clear of the rest of the Western Conference (for the time being) — a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. The result went a long way toward locking up home-field advantage during the West playoffs. What’s more impressive? They might have done so by ending the longest active home unbeaten streak in the league (third-longest in league history) to boot. What’s even more impressive than that? The trip to Children’s Mercy Park, matching up the West’s third- and first-place sides, came less than 72 hours after Carl Robinson’s side suffered defeat in Seattle. Sporting KC were denied a second penalty after a seemingly clear-cut foul following a penalty-area scramble post-corner kick. The game would finish with both sides down to 10 men after Graham Zusi and Cristian Bolaños were sent off during second-half stoppage time.
[ MORE: SKC, VAN face off for West supremacy; HOU still chasing playoffs ]
Three moments that mattered
10′ — Rubio smashes his penalty off the post — A couple inches to the right, and there’s a good chance Stefan Marinovic makes the save. This was only the beginning of Rubio’s frustrating evening.
14′ — Marinovic makes a tough save to deny Rubio — Zusi picked out Rubio eight yards from goal with a delightful cross, but the Chilean’s header wasn’t either side of Marinovic who stood his ground and made the save. Marinovic would make seven saves on the night.
53′ — Hurtado flicks one past Melia completely against the run of play — When using the phrase “completely against the run of play” in this instance, it means Vancouver hadn’t had a shot on goal all night, and had ventured into Sporting’s penalty area on only a few occasions.
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Man of the match: Stefan Marinovic
Goalscorers: Hurtado (53′)