Sporting Kansas City is guaranteed a spot in the 2014 MLS Playoffs for the fourth year in a row after defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0 Friday at Sporting Park.
Friday marked the team’s first home victory since mid-August. The game was scoreless until the 79th minute when team MVP Graham Zusi’s long range left-footed shot found the top left corner of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s goal.
Sporting KC’s Offensive Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner Dom Dwyer increased the lead after finding the back of the net with a header from an assist by Zusi, his franchise-best 21st assist of the season.
SKC goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum finished with a total of six saves and recorded his third consecutive shutout, extending his shutout streak to 306 minutes.
In the 38thminute, Sporting Park’s giant screens showed Alex Gordon’s double, which gave the Kansas City Royals a 4-0 lead against the Orioles in the ALCS before the crowd of 18,938 (52nd consecutive sellout) started chanting “Let’s Go Royals!”
“I heard the fans [chanting Let’s Go Royals] and I actually got caught watching the game on the big screen,” Zusi said in the postgame press conference. “But it was during a goal kick so…”
Head Coach Peter Vermes seemed pleased about his team securing a spot in the postseason. However, he emphasized the importance for the team to get into playoff form.
“The guys need to get a little break and make sure when we get to the playoffs we have as many healthy bodies as possible. It’s a very short progression to get there, but it’s very intense and we have to be ready for that,” Vermes said.
Before the playoffs, Kansas City has three more games around the corner, two MLS matches and a CONCACAF Champions League visit to Costa Rican champions Saprissa.
Next up, Sporting KC will visit the Philadelphia Union on Sat., Oct. 18 in PPL Park.