32.6 F
Wichita
Thursday, December 3, 2020

Sporting Secures Top Playoff Seed in West With Snowy 2-0 Road Win Over RSL on Decision Day

Sports Headlines

Royals Agree to Terms with Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler; Non-tender Six Players

KANSAS CITY, MO (December 2, 2020) – The Kansas City Royals announced tonight that they will not tender a Major League contract...

COVID-19 Causing High School Basketball Schedule Changes

Even as the first high school basketball games are set to tip off later this week, changes are already announced as the Marysville home...

Jayhawks Battle Back, Take Down No. 20 Kentucky, 65-62 in Champions Classic

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics INDIANAPOLIS – Despite falling behind by double-digits in the first half, No. 7 Kansas was...

Royals sign LHP Mike Minor to a two-year deal, with a club option for 2023

KANSAS CITY, MO (December 1, 2020) – The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have signed left-handed pitcher Mike Minor to a two-year Major...

Cats Start Strong, Defeat Kansas City 62-58

Courtesy of K-State Athletics MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State started strong and placed three in double figures to pick...
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

(Nov. 8, 2020) — Sporting Kansas City (12-6-3, 39 points) clinched the Western Conference’s top seed in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday night, posting a 2-0 road victory over Real Salt Lake (5-10-7, 22 points) at snowy Rio Tinto Stadium as the MLS regular season concluded on MLS Decision Day 2020 presented by AT&T.

Forwards Khiry Shelton and Erik Hurtado both scored their fifth goals of the campaign and goalkeeper Tim Melia tabbed his third consecutive shutout, leading Sporting Kansas City to their first MLS away win at Rio Tinto Stadium since 2013. The club’s coldest regular season match on record completed Sporting’s jump from 11th place in the West last year to first place in 2020 — the largest single-season improvement in the 25-year history of MLS.

Sunday’s result gives Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes four first-place conference finishes over the last 10 seasons, two more than any other MLS head coach.

With a successful regular season in the books, Sporting Kansas City has earned homefield advantage in the Western Conference going into the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. Sporting’s first-round matchup will come against the No. 8 seed San Jose Earthquakes on Nov. 21, 22 or 24 at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting KC Season Ticket Members will have exclusive access to a presale for the match starting Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT. Tickets will then go on sale to the general public beginning Thursday at noon CT.

With temperatures hovering around 32 degrees and snow steadily accumulating on the Rio Tinto Stadium pitch, Sporting Kansas City deployed a reshuffled lineup that included five changes from the 1-0 away win over FC Cincinnati on Oct. 28. Center back Winston Reid notably reprised his role in place of Andreu Fontas, while Luis Martins took left back duties as Amadou Dia was sidelined with a minor injury. Further up the field, midfielders Roger Espinoza and Gianluca Busio replaced Felipe Hernandez and Gadi Kinda, and Gerso Fernandes joined a three-pronged attack in the absence of injured striker Alan Pulido.

Justin Meram was RSL’s danger man in the first half, dashing down the left wing pulling the ball back to Corey Baird on two separate occasions, but the homegrown attacker fired high on his first attempt in the 12th minute and slotted wide of the near post a dozen minutes later.

At the opposite end, Johnny Russell orchestrated a pair of half-chances for Sporting inside the first 26 minutes. A clever flick over the head of defender Donny Toia set the Scottish international free down the right side in the 14th minute, but his low cross caromed safely into the hands of RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa. Near the half-hour mark, his in-swinging free kick was nodded high by the leaping Ilie. Busio then forced Ochoa into a save, settling his repelled corner kick and unfurling a long-range blast beyond the left edge of the box.

The visitors landed their all-important first punch on the stroke of intermission. After Shelton’s strike near the penalty spot deflected off defender Marcelo Silva and spun inches wide, Espinoza latched onto Russell’s out-swinging corner and prompted Ochoa to make a reflex stop. Ilie was first to the loose ball in a crowded box, smashing a low shot that took a slight deflection off the boot of Shelton and trickled into the net. Shelton was credited with his career-high fifth goal of the year on the play, giving Vermes’ side a pivotal lead to defend in the final half of an unprecedented regular season campaign.

Hurtado entered as a halftime substitute for Gerso and wasted no time stamping his name on the latest regular season game in Sporting’s history. The hulking forward ran onto a well-weighted pass from Jaylin Lindsey, rounded Ochoa on the right edge of the box and side-footed a brilliant finish into the gaping net to double the advantage. Hurtado has bagged a goal every 75 minutes this year, the best clip among players with at least six appearances.

Busio went incredibly close to adding a third for Sporting in the 66th minute. The 18-year-old received an impudent ball from Russell and calibrated a thunderous shot that smashed off the near post and skipped clear of Ochoa’s goal. Less than 60 seconds later, Hurtado did wonderfully to leave an RSL defender grasping for ice only to see his right-footed effort saved.

Sporting saw out the final 20 minutes in comfortable fashion, with Espinoza notably becoming the fifth player in club history to eclipse 20,000 regular season minutes for his storied career. The midfielder is one of nine active MLS players to hit 20,000 minutes with a single club, joining longtime teammates Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

Kansas Headlines

CDC Announces Shortened COVID-19 Quarantine Periods

Counties may opt in to similar guidance in Kansas TOPEKA – In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control...

KDHE Makes No Changes To Kansas Travel Quarantine List Criteria

TOPEKA – There are no changes this week to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s (KDHE) travel quarantine list. Those needing to quarantine...

Safety Is The Secret Ingredient To Holiday Traditions

TOPEKA – With the arrival of the holidays there are many memories to be made and traditions to follow, and having children participate in...

Kansas Organizations Launch Effort to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Kansas

(Nov. 23, 2020) - Stop the Spread Kansas is a public awareness campaign urging Kansans to do their part in slowing the rate of...

Governor Kelly Makes $38.5 Million of CARES ACT Funding Available to Kansas Small Businesses, Slow COVID-19 Spread

TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced that the State Finance Council unanimously approved the Kansas Office of Recovery recommendations to allocate $20 million...

Kansas News Service

Kansas Hospitals Seek Help From Nearby States, But The Whole Midwest Faces A COVID Surge

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen - Kansas News Service Hospitals in Colorado and Nebraska are calling Kansas in desperate search of beds for coronavirus patients. But Kansas...

Kansas Republicans Keep Their 3 Congressional Seats; Davids Reelected In Kansas City Suburbs

By Stephan Bisaha Stephen Koranda, Nadya Faulx, Aviva Okeson-Haberman - Kansas News Service Democrats and Republicans in Kansas will keep their seats in the U.S....

Republicans Keep Kansas’ Open Senate Seat By Electing Roger Marshall

By Jim McLean - Kansas News Service OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Kansas Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall is moving up to the U.S. Senate after...

‘It Is Not Sustainable’: Kansas’ Online Teachers Are Overworked And Quitting

WICHITA, Kansas — Less than a week into the new school year, the warning came: the school district’s COVID-19 learning plan expected too much from...

Kansas Nursing Homes Still Waiting On Coronavirus Testing Gear From The Feds, And Can’t Afford Labs

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen - Kansas News Service Phillips County Retirement Center got a coronavirus testing machine this month from the U.S. Department of Health and...