Sporting Kansas City defeated Argentine coach Matías Almeyda’s San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday in the first round of the MLS playoffs in a penalty shootout in which goalkeeper Tim Melia saved three maximum penalties.
At the end of a dramatic game that ended 3-3, US goalkeeper Melia sealed Kansas City’s pass by stopping all three Earthquakes pitches, thrown by Mexican Oswaldo Alanís, American Jackson Yueill and Argentine Cristian Espinoza.
In regulation time, Kansas City scored through the Honduran Roger Espinoza in the 4th minute, the Spanish Ilie Sánchez (47) and the American Busio (90 + 1) while the Mexican Carlos Fierro (22) saw the goal for Earthquakes , and the Americans Shea Salinas (34) and Chris Wondolowski (90 + 7).
Without their Mexican figure Alan Pulido due to injury, Kansas City took the lead early on the scoreboard with a header from Espinoza just off a corner.
Before the break, the Earthquakes managed to turn it around with the targets of Salinas and Fierro, who hit an empty goal after several rebounds in the rival area.
The second half had just begun, Sánchez made it 2-2 by finishing off a corner kick at the far post.
In a hectic stoppage time Busio, 18, made it 3-2 that seemed to give Kansas City qualification but at 90 + 7 veteran Chris Wondolowski postponed Sporting’s celebration by sending the game into extra time.
After overtime ended scoreless, goalkeeper Tim Melia was the hero of the penalty shoot-out, unleashing the celebration of the spectators who partially occupied the stands at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.
Sporting will play the semifinal of the Western conference against the winner of the cross between Minnesota United and Colorado Rapids, which is also played this Sunday.
The Earthquakes, for their part, say goodbye to the championship after finishing eighth in the Western regular season, in the first playoff classification since Almeyda took over the team in the 2019 campaign.
Sporting Kansas City: Johnny Russell (goal), Ilie Sánchez (goal), Khiry Shelton (goal)
San Jose Earthquakes: Oswaldo Alanís (save), Jackson Yueill (save), Cristian Espinoza (save)
– Program of the first round of the playoffs in MLS
Saturday, November 21
Orlando City SC to New York FC 6-5 on penalties (1-1)
Columbus Crew beat New York Red Bulls 3-2
Tuesday, November 24
Toronto FC – Nashville SC
Philadelphia Union – New England Revolution
Sunday November 22
Sporting Kansas City – San José Earthquakes 3-0 on penalties (3-3)
Minnesota United – Colorado Rapids
Portland Timbers – FC Dallas
Tuesday, November 24
Seattle Sounders – Los Angeles FC
gbv / cl