Sporting just missed out on winning the 2013 Supporters' Shield after the New York Red Bulls beat the Chicago Fire 5-2 on the last day of the season. But there were a handful of plays, in certain games that kept KC from getting the Shield. Here's a list of five plays that helped to cost KC the Supporters' Shield this year.
Before I get started and before anyone comments. It is a two way road, while this list will contain moments where KC lost the Shield, there are similar instances where KC pushed themselves closer to the Shield. The late Ike Opara goal against Salt Lake for example. And I also understand that New York has moments like this, including giving up seven points in three games against the three worst teams in the league (3-2 away loss to Chivas, 0-0 draw in Toronto, and a 0-0 home draw with DC United). So let's get it out of the way that I understand that situation.
Now on with the list.
5. 8/3 - Lloyd Sam goal to make it 3-1
Having just given up a goal to allow New York to grab the lead just 6 minutes early, Sporting were throwing numbers forward looking for another equalizer. Off a Benny Feilhaber free kick, the ball stayed around the New York goal until Soony Saad took a shot that was right at Luis Robles. Robles quickly distributed the ball wide to Jonny Steele. With Seth Sinovic on him, Steele raced down the wing before curling a ball across the field for Sam. Peterson Joseph attempted to recover, but Sam used his first touch to cut inside Joseph and he fired a shot past Jimmy Nielsen and into the net. The goal turned out to be the game winner as Dom Dwyer scored late in the game to make it 3-2.
4. 3/9 Robert Earnshaw gives TFC a very early lead
After a season opening win in Philadelphia, where the team came from behind to win 3-1, Sporting went into the game against TFC with confidence. They faced a Toronto side who hadn't won a home game since July of the previous season. Even with what appeared to be a poor surface, most people expected Sporting to at least get a point out of the game. But less than four minutes into the game as KC was passing the ball around their defensive third, Matt Besler played a square ball to Aurelien Collin. Besler though didn't get enough on the pass and Earnshaw stepped in front of Collin winning the ball. Earnshaw walked in on goal and beat Nielsen to give Toronto an early lead. It was only the start of a nightmare first 25 minutes as later KC would give up a penalty that Earnshaw would convert to make it 2-0 and KC would end up falling 2-1.
3. 5/8 Seattle does it to KC again
Seattle has made a habit of scoring late goals against KC and it happened again this year. In their only match up against the 2012 US Open Cup finalist. In stoppage time the Sounders had a throw in deep in KC's end. the throw in was short, but got flicked into the middle of the box. Collin missed on a clearance and the ball fell to Djimi Traore who beat Nielsen as the Sporting keeper and other KC players were calling for a handball on Traore. But once again Seattle score late on KC.
2. 6/22 Late Dallas equalizer splits points
In front of the largest traveling supporters group that KC has probably ever seen, KC didn't play extremely well, but ended up being on top of Dallas 2-0 around the hour mark. A red card to CJ Sapong in the 68th minute put KC on the back foot the rest of the way. In the 88th minute, Dallas did finally find the net to get within a goal. But KC fans had to feel confident that they could still walk away with all three points, I mean this was the defense that was best in the league last year and while they'd had a few issues this year, was still quite good. A free kick near the corner flag was played into the middle, where rookie, Walker Zimmerman had been Kei Kamara to the ball and headed it past Nielsen and into the net as KC had to settle for just a single point.
1. 5/19 Ike Opara goal ruled out
Up to this point, all the plays have come down to mistakes on the part of a Sporting KC player that has led to the goal. And I can accept mistakes on the field, because they happen numerous times during the season. But this last one isn't due to a player mistake, it's due to a refereeing mistake. Now referee mistakes happen every game, but not all of them bring a response from the Professional Referee Organization. In the 30th minute, with the game 0-0, the ball was played towards the end line for Matt Besler who had made his way up field. Belser knocked the ball back to Jacob Peterson as he fell to the ground. Peterson played the ball through the box to the back post for Opara who tapped the ball into the net. Referee Matt Nelson though raised his flag calling the play offside. Replays showed at least three players between Opara and the goal.
All these plays and that's not mentioning any from KC's 3-2 loss at home to Portland, their 2-1 home loss to Montreal, or Camilo's free kick at the very end of the first half in Vancouver's 1-1 draw in KC.