2021 Major League Soccer, Western Conference Playoffs - First Round
  • Khiry Shelton (17')
  • Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (45'+3')
  • Graham Zusi (58')
  • Cristián Dájome (39' PEN)

Sporting KC advance in MLS Cup playoffs with 3-1 win over Vancouver

Graham Zusi scores an absolute rocket for Sporting KC (1:02)

Right back Graham Zusi strikes one from distance to give SKC a 3-1 lead over Vancouver. (1:02)

Sporting Kansas City got goals from three unlikely scorers, including the first career postseason goal by 13-year veteran Graham Zusi, as they defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs Saturday afternoon.

All three goals were the first postseason goals of the goal scorer's career.

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Sporting KC will face the winner of Tuesday's Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake match Nov. 28. The match will be at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City or in Seattle.

Zusi fired one over the outstretched arm of leaping Vancouver keeper Maxime Crepeau from about 30 yards out in the 58th minute, giving Sporting a 3-1 lead. Zusi started his 19th career postseason match, almost double the entire Vancouver roster (10), but he'd never found the back of the net in those matches.

Vancouver appeared to cut into the lead in the 86th minute, but Bruno Gaspar was ruled offside. Gaspar then drew a yellow card for kicking the ball into the stands.

Sporting KC saw a season-long trend continue. The club was 17-0-0 when they scored at least two goals, but they were 0-10-7 when they didn't.

Khiry Shelton put Sporting on the scoreboard with a beautiful cross-footed shot in the 17th minute. The play was set up by a steal in the defensive end by Zusi. He fed it to Daniel Salloi on the left flank racing forward. Salloi crossed it to Zusi just outside the box near the right end line. Zusi sent it to Shelton in front of the 6-yard box.

Vancouver tied it in the 39th minute on a penalty kick by Cristian Dajome. The penalty was awarded after a VAR review ruled that Luis Martins committed a hand ball in the box.

But Sporting responded in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin deflected a loose ball in front of the net with his knee after a scramble off a corner kick. It was Isimat-Mirin's first goal for Sporting in all competitions.