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Sporting KC comes up short, ends season

By Kelly McHugh

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City ended its season Wednesday night at Livestrong Sporting Park, despite a hard-fought, 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamos.

Sporting KC needed two goals to advance in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and its solo goal wasn’t enough to overcome the 2-0 deficit in which it entered the match.

Kansas City had lost 2-0 to the Dynamo’s in the first leg of the playoffs on Sunday afternoon in Houston.

The Dynamos may have been the team to advance, but Sporting KC manager Peter Veremes was anything but disappointed in his players, a group that had one of the best seasons in Kansas City soccer history.

“In the three years that I’ve been coaching the team,” Vermes said, “I think this was the best performance we had in a 90 minutes. We absolutely dominated the game. Guys played with incredible, incredible concentration and organization.”

Outshooting Houston 20-3, and out-possessing them 71 percent to 29 percent, Sporting Kansas City did just about everything right to dominate, except put away two much-needed goals.

“We left it all on the field today,” Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi said. “The end result wasn’t in our favor, but we battled to the end.”

Kansas City native, midfielder Seth Sinovic saw his first-career MLS goal in the 64th minute of action. After a cross from Zusi soared into the Dynamos’ 18-yard box, Sinovic sprinted in and dove for the ball. His diving header landed Sporting KC its only goal of the night. 

While scoring his first career goal was exciting, Sinovic jumped to his feet without celebration and the game continued.

“It’s the way it is,” Vermes said about Sinovic not celebrating his goal when it happened. “We needed to get the second goal, and we talked about that —  there’s no celebrating, you grab the ball, get back to midfield and start again.”

Despite the efforts to save time, Sporting KC wouldn’t find the back of the net again.

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