KANSAS CITY, KS – Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s remarkable 2021 MLS season came to an end on Saturday in the first round of the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, falling 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Sporting KC would take the lead in the 17th minute as Graham Zusi put the ball into the path of Khiry Shelton to side foot home the opening goal.
The ‘Caps would continue to press forward after Sporting’s goal, dominating possession and putting the home side on the back foot.
That pressure would pay off in the 39th minute as the ‘Caps were awarded a spot kick after Sporting KC fullback Luis Martins handled the ball in the box.
Cristian Dájome stepped up and calmly tucked the ball into the left bottom corner, scoring his first career MLS Cup Playoffs goal to give the ‘Caps the equalizer.
Right at the end of the half, Sporting would retake the lead in stoppage time as defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin tapped in a loose ball to give his team the advantage going into the break.
The ‘Caps would come out of the break on the front foot, as Brian White, Ryan Gauld and Dájome combined with some neat play in the final third.
Sporting would double their lead however, as Graham Zusi hit a bullet from outside the box into the top left corner past Maxime Crépeau to make it 3-1 – Kansas City's only shot on goal in the second half.
Despite the score line, the Blue and White continued to threaten Sporting’s backline, as White forced a big save from Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia right on the line with his headed effort.
The ‘Caps thought they pulled a ball back in the 86th minute as Bruno Gaspar got in behind the Sporting backline and put it into the path of substitute Lucas Cavallini to tap home, but the flag was raised for offside on Gaspar.
In the end, the final whistle sounded to put a curtain on the ‘Caps 2021 season.
GE Appliances VWFC Player of Quality: Cristian Dájome
Referee: Alan Kelly
17' – SKC – Khiry Shelton (Graham Zusi, Dániel Sallói)
39' – VAN – Cristian Dájome (penalty kick)
45'+3 – SKC – Nicolas Isimat-Mirin
65' – SKC – Graham Zusi (Dániel Sallói)
Possession: SKC 37.3% – VAN 62.7%
Shots: SKC 12 – VAN 6
Shots on Goal: SKC 5 – VAN 4
Saves: SKC 3 – VAN 2
Fouls: SKC 10 – VAN 9
Offsides: SKC 0 – VAN 1
Corners: SKC 3 – VAN 4
86' – VAN – Bruno Gaspar
89' – VAN – Lucas Cavallini
90'+2 – VAN – Érik Godoy
Sporting Kansas City29.Tim Melia; 8.Graham Zusi, 5.Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, 3.Andreu Fontàs, 36.Luís Martins; 54.Rémi Walter, 17.Gadi Kinda (15.Roger Espinoza 87'), 6.Ilie Sánchez; 7.Johnny Russell ©, 11.Khiry Shelton, 20.Dániel Sallói
Substitutes not used
1.John Pulskamp, 4.Roberto Punčec, 9.Alan Pulido, 13.Amadou Dia, 19.Grayson Barber, 28.Cameron Duke, 32.José Mauri, 96.Wilson Harris
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 26.Florian Jungwirth (Érik Godoy HT), 15.Andy Rose, 28.Jake Nerwinski (23.Javain Brown 73'); 2.Marcus Godinho (7.Déiber Caicedo 65'), 31.Russell Teibert ©, 17.Leonard Owusu (9.Lucas Cavallini 73'), 6.Bruno Gaspar; 25.Ryan Gauld; 24.Brian White, 11.Cristian Dájome
Substitutes not used
1.Thomas Hasal, 4.Ranko Veselinović, 19.Janio Bikel, 27.Ryan Raposo, 87.Tosaint Ricketts