Sporting Kansas City shored up their defense in Salt Lake City on Sunday night, but was unable to clinch a playoff berth with two games left as the club played to a 0-0 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium. What that means is that heading into next week's final slate of games, there are four teams vying for three playoff berths as KC host San Jose, Portland travel to Vancouver, and Seattle host Salt Lake. Kansas City's defense, that has been in question over the last few weeks showed up strongly as they pitched a shut out on the road in Salt Lake 0-0.
Neither side really created much in the way of chances in the first half, but the few that were created went in favor of RSL. The best came in the 20th minute as a free kick was headed across goal where Yura Movsisyan first missed before Burrito Martinez headed a ball on goal that Dom Dwyer saved on the line. KC's chances in the first half were minimal and shots they did get ended up being placed right at Nick Rimando. Late in the first half RSL had another golden opportunity off a free kick but the flick header by RSL went wide and the two teams went into the break tied at 0-0.
The second half saw RSL continue to get the better of the chances going forward, but shooting either wide of the goal or goalkeeper Tim Melia coming up with some good saves to keep the game tied at 0-0. The best chance of the game probably came in the 56th minute when some good passing by RSL eventually found Yura Movsisyan in the box with a chance on goal, but the ball got stuck under his feet and he couldn't get a shot off before KC knocked the ball away and then Joao Plata put a shot wide. Minutes later RSL had another great chance as Plata got himself under a deflected cross and fired a shot on goal but Melia got down well to parry the shot away and keep the game scoreless. KC had a good chance in the 64th as Dom Dwyer got played in behind the RSL defense but couldn't put an effort on goal from a wide position against Nick Rimando. Minutes later KC probably should have had a penalty kick in their favor as Benny Feilhaber was brought down in the box, but no call was made. RSL continued to put on pressure and in the 79th Melia was again called on to make a big save from point blank range against Plata, making himself big he was able to knock the header away and keep the game scoreless. Late on KC created some good opportunities, first Dwyer connected on a header on a cross but his downward header hit the ground too early and bounced up into a good spot for Rimando to parry the shot away. Then in stoppage time after RSL counldn't clear a corner, the ball got crossed in to Kevin Ellis who had a free header but put his effort at a late winner wide.
Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Came up with the big saves that Kansas City needed him to make at the right time. He stepped up exactly when KC needed him to.
Honorable mention - Matt Besler
Player Ratings - Melia 8, Sinovic 7, Besler 8, Ellis 7, Abdul-Salaam 7, Mustivar 7, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 5, Espinoza 6, Dwyer 5, Zusi 5. Opara NR.