The Storybook Season Comes To An End After A Whitecaps At Sporting KC 3-1 Devastating Loss
The Vancouver Whitecaps at Sporting KC would give everything they had Saturday afternoon but it wasn’t enough. Vancouver would fall behind 1-0 early in the match in the 17th minute. Khiry Shelton would pounce on a lost ball and poke it past Maxime Crepeau. The Whitecaps would equalize off a penalty kick in the 39th minute to te things up 1-1. Cristian Dajome would step up to the spot and deliver for Vancouver.
Sporting KC would score a late 1st half goal to take the lead. Jonny Russell would cross in a nice ball and it would fall to Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. He would slot it past Maxime Crepeau for the 2-1 lead. Graham Zusi would seal things with a great strike from distance. A 58th-minute goal and the Whitecaps were never able to come back. Let’s see how the Whitecaps at Sporting KC match went down.
Lineups, News, And Notes
Vanni Sartini and the Vancouver Whitecaps would go with a 3-4-1-2 formation. Maxime Crepeau would start in the net after his return from the Canada National Team. Jake Nerwinksi, Andy Rose, and Florian Jungwirth would start at the back from left to right. Bruno Gaspar and Marcus Godinho would start on the wings with Leonard Owusu and Russell Teibert in the middle of the pitch.
Ryan Gauld would sit in his normal holding spot and look to Brian White and Cristian Dajome for service upfront. Vancouver also had lots of options off the bench for Vanni Sartini if he needs a goal in the second half or has to defend a lead. Ranko Veselinovic is dealing with a slight injury but is still available off the bench for the match.
Sporting KC and head coach Peter Vermes would go with a 4-3-3 formation with Tim Melia between the sticks. Luis Martins, Andreu Fontas, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, and Graham Zusi would play the backline from left to right. Ilie Sanchez, Gadi Kinda, and Remi Walter would start in the midfield for Sporting KC.
Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton, and Johnny Russell would play at the top of the formation. Alan Pulido would be an attacking option for Peter Vermes off the bench.
The Home Side Gets A Late 1st Half Goal For A 2-1 Lead
Sporting KC would kick things off in the first half and win an early throw. They would play it back and try attacking down the left side but the ball would run long and out for a goal-kick. Crepeau would send it long downfield and Vancouver was called for a foul. Martins would try and cross it into the box in the 4th minute but Jungwirth was able to clear. Walter would get caught up in an aerial with Owusu and would need treatment as play stopped. Sporting KC would get the first shot of the match after the play resumed.
Salloi would turn and fire one from the top of the box but Crepeau was able to make the save. Vancouver would clear the ball but the home side was right back on the attack, Russell would find Kinda in the 7th minute but his shot was just off target. Sporting KC was clearly the more aggressive team to start the match. They dictated play and worked things around the back looking for space. A long pass down the right side would go out for a deep Vancouver throw. Dajome would win another throw in the 10th minute as Vancouver was able to regroup.
The Whitecaps were able to play it around the back but turned it over trying to attack. They would win it back right away and Gaspar and Dajome would try down the left side. It was defended well by Sporting KC and Vancouver would be forced back. Russell would take a foul for Sporting KC and the Whitecaps controlled things as we moved past the 13th minute of play. Despite the nervous start, it seemed like Vanni Sartini and company settled into the match. Sporting KC would regain possession but turned it over shortly after and Vancouver controlled once again as the match moved into the 16th minute.
White would take a nice pass from Teibert and find Godinho out wide to the right. His cross was blocked and Sporting KC was able to counter quickly and strike for the opening goal. In the 17th minute, Salloi would cross-play and a diving Zusi was able to cut it back into the box. Khiry Shelton didn’t get everything on it but he did get enough to beat Crepeau for the 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
Vancouver would try and respond off the restart but Dajome’s shot was easily saved by Melia. The home side would battle back but Jake Nerwinski was able to block the shot from Walter. With the 1-0 lead Sporting KC was sitting back and Vancouver was able to win a foul. Dajome played the floating ball perfectly and would give the Whitecaps a chance for a set piece. Gauld would send it in to the back post but it was cleared away from SKC before Godinho took a hard foul on Johnny Russell. The physicality would pick up in the 23rd minute as Gaspar was caught late by Walter.
Sporting KC would get a great chance to add to their lead. Salloi would beat Jungwirth but a bit block from Andy Rose and Vancouver was able to clear the box. The first corner of the match would come in the 25th minute after some nice work from Brian White down the right side. Gauld would float it past all the dark blue shirts but Teibert was able to save it and play it back to Crepeau. The Caps keeper would play it up quickly and Vancouver would win a deep throw. Gaspar was able to win another corner kick and Vancouver would play it short.
It was a lovely training ground play but Gauld would float it over the box and Sporting KC could relieve the pressure. Vancouver was controlling the majority of the possession but Sporting KC had the 1-0 lead as we moved into the 29th minute. Johnny Russell would get a chance to double the lead but his shot was wide of the net and the diving Crepeau. The home side would continue the pressure as the ball would come to Russell at the top of the box. His shot was right into the arms of Crepeau and far too easy for the Vancouver keeper.
Vancouver would do some nice passing down the left side and the ball would come to Owusu. He would fire a shot from distance but it was well off target and Melia would get things going for Sporting KC. Shelton would do some nice work down the right side and play it back to Zusi but his swinging cross would run out for a Vancouver throw. Vancouver had 10 minutes plus stoppage time to respond in the 1st half as Vanni Sartini paced the sidelines.
Sporting KC was playing a strong defensive game but Zusi would take down Dajome for a foul. Gauld would send it to the back post and it appeared the ball came off the arm of the SKC player but it was called a corner kick. Drew Fischer the VAR official would have a look and a penalty kick was awarded for the Whitecaps. Cristian Dajome would step up and fire it past Melia to tie the match 1-1 in the 39th minute. It was the break Vancouver needed as they looked to head into the half even.
Sporting KC had other plans as Bruno Gaspar would concede a corner in the 40th minute. It was sent into the back of the box but Andy Rose was able to head the ball out for a throw. Florian Jungwirth would get into a bit of an altercation but Alan Kelly was quick to stop any shenanigans between the two sides. Sporting KC would take over as the match continued but the Whitecaps were playing smart to keep it 1-1. Some nice work to win the ball back and White would find Godinho on the right side.
It was played around to the other side and into the middle of the pitch. White was able to pick out Gauld but his cross was right into the hands of Melia. SKC would try and counter quickly but Godinho made a nice defensive play and the ball would run out for a goal-kick. The 4th official would signal an additional 2 minutes of stoppage time as the teams traded the ball back and forth. Nerwinski would make a great play in the box on Salloi and win the ball but Gaspar would be called for a foul on Kinda.
Russell would try a shot to the near post but Dajome was able to deflect it out for a corner kick. Sporting KC would restore their lead as the ball would bounce around the box before coming to the feet of Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. He would make no mistake from close range beating the Caps keeper. The Whitecaps at Sporting KC would go into the half down 2-1 and need a solid 45 minutes if they wanted their season to continue.
Sporting KC Finishes Things Off In The 2nd Half
The Whitecaps would make the only change at halftime bringing on Erik Godoy for Florian Jungwirth. Vancouver would kick things off in the 2nd half but quickly play it out for a KC throw. Both teams would trade turnovers before Sporting KC would try and break in. Crepeau was able to come off his line and win a goal kick for the visiting team. The scramble play would continue for both sides and the ball would come back to Tim Melia in the 49th minute. Sporting KC was very happy to kick it away and defend and Vancouver tried to take advantage.
Godinho would find Ryan Gauld on a nice run in the box but his cut-back was right to a light blue shirt. Sporting KC would clear and Vancouver would take over once again. A long pass to Dajome would deflect off and out for an SKC throw. Vancouver would win a 52nd-minute corner after some nice passing from Gauld and Dajome. Owusu would deliver it into the box but Rose couldn’t get his header on target. The home side would regain possession and win a foul in the Caps half. Khiry Shelton was taken down by Owusu as the match moved into the 54th minute.
Sporting KC would try and increase their lead in the 55th minute after some nice work by Johnny Russell. His ball was sent out for a corner but the Scottsman couldn’t pick out a target on his cross. Vancouver was able to clear momentarily but SKC was right back on the attack. Some nice passing and the ball would come to Zusi but his floater into the box would go out for a goal-kick. Crepeau would play it long downfield and Dajome would be called for a foul after colliding with Sanchez.
SKC was doing a great job exploiting the flanks and they would be rewarded with a 3rd goal. Far too much room for Sallói and he would find Graham Zusi. A brilliant strike and Sporting KC would take a 3-1 lead in the 58th minute. It would be an uphill battle if the Whitecaps wanted to see their season continue.
Vancouver would win a deep throw in the 61st minute as Vanni Sartini started looking to his bench. Teibert would win a free-kick after being taken down by Sánchez. Gauld would find Andy Rose with a free header but he would put it right into the body of the SKC Keeper. Vancouver would keep pressing looking for the 2nd goal. Brian White and Gauld would win a corner down the left side and Owusu would try and pick out a target. He found a light blue shirt and SKC countered quickly. The ball would come to Russell on the right but Teibert was able to send it out of touch.
Vancouver would make their change bringing on Deiber Caicedo for Marcus Godinho in the 65th minute. Sporting KC would restart things with a throw from the right side and happily waste time. The ball would finally come to Andy Rose and Vancouver could push upfield. A long ball for Dajome would run out for another throw as the home side would take over once again. The teams would trade turnovers before Caicedo would slow things down to Gaspar on the right side. The Whitecaps would work it around and look for space.
Gauld would find Dajome on the right side and he was cross was cleared by Martins. It would come right to Gaspar and he would cross it back into White. His header was stopped off the line by Tim Melia to keep the score 3-1. It was a great save by the SKC keeper to preserve the 2 goal lead. Vancouver would remain in possession as the match moved into the 71st minute. The Whitecaps would win a throw down the right side and play it back. Godoy would try and find Gaspar on a run down the right but SKC was able to clear.
Vanni Sartini would make two more attacking changes in the 73rd minute. Nerwinski and Owusu would be replaced by Javain Brown and Lucas Cavallini. Sporting KC would try and attack after the change but Vancouver would defend well and win a free-kick. The Whitecaps controlled in the 75th minute of play but couldn’t break the final third of SKC. They would play it around the back and look for space as Sporting KC dropped their players back. Some nice work from Graham Zusi would win a goal kick and Sporting KC could slow things down.
A quick giveaway and Vancouver would regain possession and work down the left side. Time was running out for the Whitecaps at Sporting KC down 3-1. The Whitecaps would get a great chance but no one could get on the end of the Caicedo cross. It would go out for a goal kick and Melia could waste more time as we moved into the 80th minute. Vancouver would win the ball back after an errant pass and look to keep their season alive.
Sporting KC was able to waste more time winning a free-kick in the Caps half. Martins was taken down by Cavallini and the home side was able to waste more time. Vancouver would press but leave themselves open to a counterattack. Khiry Shelton would try and take on 4 defenders and lose the ball to Russell Teibert. Vancouver wasn’t able to clear and Shelton would come right back in but his shot was just off the target, Vancouver tried to counter quickly and looked to get one back but the flag was up for Gaspar.
Sporting KC would make another change in the 87th minute. Roger Espinoza would replace Gadi Kinda as the home side tried to play out the remaining minutes of the match. Vancouver would try and cross the ball into the back post. Dajome was able to head it back into the box but Melia was quick off his line to punch it away.
Cavallini would show his frustration and receive a yellow card for throwing the ball at an SKC player. The 4th official would signal an additional 3 added minutes as Vancouver tried to close the gap. The room was open for Sporting KC to counter but Godoy was able to beat his man to the ball and play it back to Crepeau. The Whitecaps would win a free-kick and Crepeau would move up to take it.
Espinoza would win a free kick as things would get heated between the two sides. Melia would restart play as the final seconds would tick down on the Vancouver Whitecaps season. Alan Kelly would blow the final whistle and the Whitecaps at Sporting KC would fall 3-1 at Children’s Mercy Park. It was a tough loss for the Whitecaps who were outplayed and now have to ask what if?
Post Match Thoughts And Media
Vanni Sartini was clearly upset but could see the potential of his squad going forward. He spoke about the match post-game.
“The effort was really good, probably the first 10-15 minutes we had to adjust, you know a little bit of nervousness, a little bit of the environment, they were pushing them. But then we entered in the field, I would say really well. We conceded a goal on a transition, actually a really good goal, really good transition, but we were attacking when we conceded the goal. And then we keep pushing, we keep attacking and I would say we deserved the 1-1.”Vanni Sartini Speaking after the Whitecaps At Sporting KC 3-1 Loss
“Unfortunately, the 2-1 [goal] has been something we could have done better, but it’s okay. And in the second half, we did very well, we had four chances to score: the one with Andy, the one with Brian, great save by Melia, and another cross by Deiber went out for just a millimeter. We knew that they are a good team and probably the more used to this kind of game and a little bit disappointed for the result. But we put everything in it and we don’t have any regrets, to be honest.”Vanni Sartini On The Match For The Whitecaps At Sporting KC
Russell Teibert spoke at length about the match and where he thought his team could improve. It was evident he was disappointed and I didn’t help things by asking stupid questions.
“We always knew it was going to be a tough place to come play. Kansas City is a good team and we knew the first 15 minutes were going to be a challenge. Kansas City is a good team, you’ve got to tip your hat to them cause they played a good game, but we came back and all season long. Vanni mentioned for the 20 games there we were resilient and we show resilience in this game as well. Always fighting adversity, [if] we go down a goal we [can] always dig ourself out of a hole. I thought after Dájome scored a good PK that we settled into the match very well.”Whitecaps At Sporting KC Post Match Media
“And, you know, it’s unfortunate that it’s a small detail, conceding right before halftime and that’s always a challenge. But again, you know, we come out strong and we have some good chances and opportunities and if we capitalize on one of those, like Vanni said we might be doing a different interview here. But again, Zusi scores a good goal and what can you do. But even after that, this team showed tremendous fight.”Whitecaps At Sporting KC Post Match Media
“It makes you really proud to be on a team like that where every guy is pushing to the final whistle and nobody’s giving up, nobody’s putting their head down and everybody’s fighting for each other. This is what this sport is all about, that camaraderie. It’s that feeling of being a part of something and whether that’s with your teammates, whether that’s with your coaching staff, whether it’s with your fans, we all felt a part of something this year and we built something that we’re going to carry over into the next season.”Post Match Media Vancouver Whitecaps At Sporting KC
Maxime Crepeau spoke about the season for Vancouver after the 3-1 loss for the Whitecaps at Sporting KC.
“You know, it’s been challenging for the organization, for every single individual that was part of it. Salt Lake feels like years ago, but it was true, it did happen. Then coming back to Vancouver was really good to us, for individuals and for the collective coming back home was really good. We could see with our records, I would say the first half and then the second half of the season, we can see the results speak for themselves.”Maxime Crepeau Speaks After The Whitecaps At Sporting Kc 3-1 Loss
The Unnamed Moments Of The Match
A thought 3-1 loss for the Whitecaps at Sporting KC brings their season to an end. Luckily we had #CapsOnTour to support the squad Saturday afternoon.
The Unnamed Fan Of The Match
Peter is the president of the Southsiders and he made sure to show his support by traveling to the match as a road warrior. Despite the result, you always love to see the support from Whitecaps fans.
The Unnamed Thank You Of The Match
The Whitecaps may be out of the MLS playoffs but coverage will continue. It could be the announcement of Vanni Sartini as the head coach or it could be a signing. Either way, I will have you covered for the offseason. A special thanks to everyone who checked out my coverage of the Vancouver Whitecaps this season.
Sports Talk Line And The Vancouver Whitecaps
It was a storybook season for the Vancouver Whitecaps. After being at the bottom of the MLS Western Conference in August the team battled back under Vanni Sartini and finished 6th. The loss to Sporting KC 3-1 ends their season but there is still a lot to look forward to. The Whitecaps will hope to move on under Vanni Sartini who should be announced as the head coach sooner than later.
Sports Talk Line will continue to bring you coverage of the Vancouver Whitecaps and MLS. The Champion will be crowned in December but for teams that are out of things, it is time to rebuild and look ahead to the next season. Follow me on Twitter @JoshuaGriffith0 during the offseason to stay up to date with the latest from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
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