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Sporting Kansas City shocks St. Louis City in MLS playoffs

Sporting Kansas City, the eighth seed in the Western Conference, pulled off a stunning upset over the top seed St. Louis City in the first round of the MLS playoffs. Sporting KC won 2-1 on Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park, completing a sweep of the best-of-three series.

Ndenbe and Sallói score for Sporting KC

Sporting KC opened the scoring in the first half stoppage time, when defender Logan Ndenbe scored his second career goal and his second of the series. Ndenbe received a pass from Alan Pulido and fired a shot past St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Bürki, who was a finalist for the goalkeeper of the year award.

In the second half, Sporting KC doubled their lead in the 73rd minute, when Dániel Sallói scored his fifth postseason goal, tying him with Miklos Molnar for second most in club history. Sallói tapped in a cross from Gadi Kinda, who had been set up by Johnny Russell on a counterattack.

Pompeu’s goal not enough for St. Louis City

St. Louis City, who had an extraordinary first season in MLS, winning the Western Conference and recording the league’s fourth-best record overall, tried to mount a comeback in the final minutes. Rookie Célio Pompeu scored his first career playoff goal in the 86th minute, when he lofted a cross that sailed over Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia and into the net.

Sporting Kansas City shocks St. Louis City in MLS playoffs

However, Sporting KC held on to their lead, despite 12 minutes of added time due to an injury to Dany Rosero. Sporting KC defended well and frustrated St. Louis City, who could not find the equalizer.

Sporting KC advances to the Western Conference Semifinals

Sporting KC, who had to win on the final day of the regular season to secure a playoff spot, showed their resilience and experience in the postseason. Sporting KC has won four MLS Cups, the most of any active team in the league.

Sporting KC will face the winner of the series between the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Dynamo and Real Salt Lake are tied 1-1 after two games, and will play the decisive third game on Wednesday.

Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes praised his team’s performance and said they are ready for the next challenge.

“I’m very proud of the guys, they played with a lot of heart and determination. We knew it was going to be a tough series, but we showed our quality and our character. We’re not done yet, we have another goal in mind, and that’s to win the MLS Cup,” Vermes said.

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