Sporting KC wasn't able to keep DC United from clinching a playoff birth, but they did limit them to one point and in the process earned a shut out in a 0-0 draw at RFK Stadium. It won't go a long way towards getting the team back on track, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
Sporting actually came out in the first half and had plenty of the run of play. Unfortunately they really didn't test DC keeper, Bill Hamid much. Kevin Ellis had a good chance early on off a free kick, but with a free header, instead of trying to put it on goal, headed it across the face of goal trying to find a teammate, but the ball was cleared. With KC getting the possession mostly in the first half, DC was looking to strike on the counter, and of the two teams probably had the better of the opportunities with it. Fabian Espindola had a few chances, one putting a shot wide of Andy Gruenebaum's net. Another came in the 28th minute when Taylor Kemp won the ball off Toni Dovale near midfield. He raced down field and squared the ball into the middle for Luis Silva who took a touch to round a sliding Matt Besler, the ball appeared to hit Besler's arm on the way through but no call was made. Silva kept the ball and laid it back to an on rushing Espindola who fired on goal but Gruenebaum came up with a big save. Overall KC did a good job of limiting Espindola's chances to shots from outside the box that allowed Gruenebaum time to react and make the save.
The second half saw DC continue to have the better of the chances, but really didn't force a huge test of Gruenebaum. Early on in the second half DC had a penalty shout as Espindola played a nice lofted ball into the box for Chris Pontius. Pontius brought the ball down as Igor Juliao went for the ball, Juliao missed and Pontius went down but no foul was called on the Brazilian right back. In the 58th Espindola again fired just wide on the counter after a Graham Zusi pass didn't reach CJ Sapong. Like the first half, DC's best offensive chances were coming through the Argentine, a couple more times in the game he fired wide of the net. Silva also got in on the action putting a free kick just wide of Gruenebaum's near post in the 71st minute. KC's best chance of the night came in the 76th. A cross by Seth Sinovic into the box was headed back into the middle by Dom Dwyer for Sapong. Sapong did very well to get power on his header and headed it down, but Hamid got down well and made the save. Late on, KC was the aggressor, looking for the winner, getting a number of late opportunities off of free kicks, but they failed to capitalize on them, the last one coming with basically the last kick of the ball as Zusi played a free kick into the box that no one got a touch on and went right into the arms of Hamid. Immediately after the final whistle blew. Disappointing not to get all three points, but a point at this point is a plus for KC.
Wizards Man of the Match - Andy Gruenebaum - Back in the starting lineup for Eric Kronberg who Peter Vermes said didn't have his timing back, Gruenebaum did well, recording 7 saves, a season high for Sporting.
Player Ratings - Gruenebaum 7, Juliao 5, Besler 6, Ellis 6, Sinovic 6, Olum 5, Nagamura 6, Zusi 5, Dovale 4, Dwyer 4, Sapong 5. Subs Feilhaber 4.