What. A. Match!
Sporting Kansas City looked dead and buried in this one. On several different occasions in fact. But they never gave up. SKC stunned the Vancouver Whitecaps with a four-goal second half fightback that saw the visitors give up 2-0 and 3-1 leads, before finally falling to a stoppage time Paulo Nagamura winner in a 4-3 loss. It was the second two goal lead Vancouver had blown this week after the midweek Montreal debacle.
It looked to be a Vancouver night though as the Whitecaps put together a wonderful first half keeping SKC at bay while scoring twice in building a comfortable 2-0 halftime lead. The fans would have none of it though as they pushed the home side to life. They were back in the game after Kevin Ellis pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute and were looking to have the fight back in them.
A stunning Pedro Morales free kick would quiet the home crowd and stall the rally putting the Whitecaps ahead 3-1 with only 15 minutes to play. Kansas City would rally back though as a Dom Dwyer header restored hope scoring in the 81st minute. That led to even more dramatics when Paolo Nagamura stunningly tied the game in the 87th as he fired home from the top of the 18.
Vancouver were stunned and the SKC crowd were going nuts. What an atmosphere it was as the 1st and 4th placed sides in the MLS Western Conference battled it out. The epic rally was not over though. Sporting Kansas City was not just happy with a two goal rally to split the points. They wanted the victory!
Deep into stoppage time they got just that. After Vancouver had a penalty claim denied at the other end, SKC found the dramatic winner. Another cross and finish goal that exposed the shoddy central defending by Vancouver as it was almost identical to the earlier Dwyer header. Nagamura rose and confidently headed home a cross from Soni Mustivar sending the players and the crowd into a frenzy. It was only the second time in MLS history that a team had rallied from a two goal deficit after the 80th minute to win a match.
“There's no doubt that the third and fourth goal are all because of the crowd,” Vermes told reporters during his postmatch news conference. “The crowd is what pushed the guys on. They kept the faith and the way they brought the energy, I think there's no doubt that it spilled onto the guys on the field. The 12th Man was unbelievable tonight. That's what really got us the three points. There's no doubt about it in my mind.”
What. A. Match!