Last Minute Drama in Round One of the MLS Playoffs
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Sporting KC hangs on in a (3-0) penalty kick win against San Jose Earthquakes.
Minnesota Utd had their way against the Colorado Rapids and looks dangerous moving forward.
FC Dallas comes back late to knock off the MLS Returns tournament champions, Portland Timbers, in an (8-7) penalty kick win.
Last night round-one of the MLS playoffs started for the western conference teams, and it was nothing short of drama. There were three Western conference games.
The Adrian Heath lead squad of Minnesota Utd. looked dominant and explosive in their 3-0 win against the Colorado Rapids to earn them their first-ever postseason win since their expansion into the MLS in 2017.
Sporting KC faced off against San Jose Earthquakes in a 1 seeds vs. 8 seed matchup. It was a back, and forth game being 2-2 at the end of the first half. The second half went 45 minutes scoreless and looked to be smooth sailing into overtime. Then stoppage time hit — in the 91st minute, Gianluca Busio hit a right-footed shot from the center of the box that beat the keeper. Sporting KC celebrated as if they were moving on and extended the stoppage time length from what should have been four minutes to seven minutes because of their excessive celebration. As the clock is continuing to go later and later and the Sporting KC fans and player begging for the final whistle a ball gets played into the box, and Wondolowski, which could be his last season in the MLS, headers it home In the 96th minute, and sends the game into overtime! The header happened from inside the six-yard box, and many fans believed that Tim Melia, Sporting KC goalkeeper, should have come out and made a play on the ball.
Overtime remained to be back and forth with game-saving stops from both goalies keeping the game tied. Once entering penalty kicks, Sporting KC felt confident as Tim Melia is an excellent stopper from the spot. Sporting KC had the first kick, and Johnny Russell sends the kick to the top right corner with his left foot putting KC up 1-0. When the Earthquake player walks up to the spot, his left-footed shot to the bottom right was saved by Tim Melia. That set the tone for the rest of the shoot-out, Sporting KC went on to make their next two kicks, while Tim Melia went to save the next two kicks from the Earthquakes, resulting in his third save in a row from the spot sending. The 3-0 PK shootout win from Sporting KC was the shortest ever shootout in MLS history thanks to the saves from Tim Melia.
The final game of the night, the Portland Timbers vs. Fc Dallas, had a chaotic ending, as well. The game was calm and slow-paced until the 82nd minute when the Portland Timbers had a wonderful combination play from the inside of the FC Dallas box, finished off by Jorge Villafana. It felt as if Portland Timbers would close the game out, but the 17-year-old Ricardo Pepi scored from a counter starting from a goal kick in the 92nd minute to send the game into overtime! Pepi was just subbed into the game in the 85th minute and is the second-youngest player ever to score a playoff goal.
Overtime was anticlimatic as Portland Timbers looked to be playing for the penalty kick shootout and were fighting to hold off Pepi's fresh legs and the other FC Dallas subs. The game reached the 120th minute, and the two teams were headed for a penalty kick shootout, the second PK shootout in the MLS on the night. The two teams seemed to be automatic from the spot scoring 15 straight spot-kicks. On the 16th PK, Jorge Villafana, who looked to be the Portland Timbers hero in the 82nd minute, has his left-footed shot to the bottom right corner saved by FC Dallas keeper, Jimmy Maurer, to send FC Dallas to the conference semis.