Wed, 29 Nov 2023

Sporting KC aim to keep playoff dreams alive vs. surging Dynamo

Field Level Media
23 Sep 2023, 10:05 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Forget about the often-used expression, "If the playoffs started today ..."

For Sporting Kansas City, even with four matches remaining in the regular season, the playoffs have started.

Sporting KC (9-13-8, 35 points) suffered a lackluster 3-0 home loss to Nashville on Wednesday night and likely needs a good result in every remaining match. Sporting's next opportunity is Saturday when the Houston Dynamo (12-10-7, 43 points) come to Kansas City, Kan.

Sporting is currently in 11th place, two spots back for the nine-team playoff field. To make matters worse, FC Dallas, which sits in ninth, has two games in hand over Sporting. Minnesota United, which is in 10th, has one game in hand.

Immediately behind Sporting, Austin FC (34 points) also have a game in hand and the Los Angeles Galaxy (33 points) have two games in hand. There's no room for error.

After the match, in which Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said his team looked and played "tired," Vermes was asked if his players were aware of the opportunity they let slip away. His response was rather blunt.

"Oh, they know," he said. "They know where we're at. The same thing was true this past weekend (when Sporting scored a late goal to win 1-0 at Minnesota). You could see the reaction of the guys after that game. They knew those three points were big."

To add to Sporting's problems, Houston comes in hot. The Dynamo defeated Vancouver 4-1 Wednesday to extend their unbeaten streak to seven matches, the longest current streak in MLS. During that stretch, Houston has outscored its opponents by a 15-2 margin. Houston appears to be on the way to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

The Dynamo scored two goals in each half, building a 4-0 lead against Vancouver before the Whitecaps scored a late goal.

"I'm proud of the guys," Houston head coach Ben Olsen said. "It wasn't perfect. But we figured it out in the second half. We made some adjustments at halftime, and we were efficient. We made the plays that mattered tonight."

--Field Level Media

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