Sporting Kansas City faced a Vancouver team on Sunday night who was under matched and had their third goalkeeper in net. Yet, the match came down to penalty kicks, which Sporting ultimately won. The win felt VERY fortunate.
Heading into their late Sunday night match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, it really looked like Sporting Kansas City would steamroll their way to the quarterfinals against a lesser matched team.
Well, there’s a reason teams play the game, folks.
No one would have predicted that the Whitecaps would hold off Sporting KC for the entirety of the match and force things to go to penalty kicks. That didn’t seem possible considering how much better Sporting looked on paper and the fact that Vancouver had their third string goalkeeper in and NO backup for him!
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Sporting KC had possession for 62% of the match and recorded 36 shots with eight shots being on goal.
This was compared to Vancouver’s 38% possession time and just eight shots with five on goal. Normally if someone sees those stats, they assume Sporting scored at least two or three goals, but they put up a goose egg during regulation.
That doesn’t mean Sporting didn’t come close though. Vancouver’s goalkeeper, Thomas Hasal – who the commentators were DROOLING over throughout the match to the point where it was getting quite annoying – had several incredible saves. It just didn’t feel like Sporting was catching any kind of break whatsoever.
So, after the six minutes of stoppage time was up, the two teams moved to penalty kicks.
- Vancouver kicked first and missed.
- Alan Pulido went first for Sporting KC and faked out Hasal, which helped him put the ball in the back of the net. 1-0 SKC
- Vancouver got their next kick.
- Illie Sanchez banged it through despite Hasal getting a hand on it. 2-1 SKC
- Vancouver missed attempt number three.
- Daniel Salloi couldn’t make it a perfect three for Sporting. Still 2-1 SKC
- Yordy Reyna missed the fourth attempt for Vancouver, which presented a winning opportunity for Sporting Kansas City.
- Gianluca Busio delivered, knocking the ball past Hasal and lifting the good guys to victory.
Sporting Kansas City were being painted as the villains in this match and I get it – Hasal’s story is a fun one and obviously the commentators were going to go nuts over what he had accomplished so far. At just 21 years old, he shut out Chicago in the final match of the group stage and then shut out a much better Sporting KC squad. That’s not easy to do.
But, when push came to shove, Sporting prevailed, even in the ugliest way possible.
This match shouldn’t have come down to penalty kicks, but once it did, fans had all the confidence in the world in Tim Melia, who stopped two of the kicks from going in (another one simply bounced off the crossbar).
Hats off to Hasal, but this was Sporting’s night and now they’ll face Philadelphia Union in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.