KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s no secret to fans, players or the coaching staff that the 2022 season has not lived up to expectations for Sporting Kansas City, but the latest loss to Austin FC is the beginning of the inevitable reality of playoff elimination.
Sporting KC are now mathematically eliminated from contention for the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Western Conference.
Sporting KC led Austin FC 3-1 at halftime before giving up three unanswered goals in the second period to lose 4-3. MLS goal-scoring leader Sebastian Driussi found his 17th of the season in the 94th minute to give Austin the win.
With just eight games and 24 points left to play for in the regular season, the No. 3 seed is next on the chopping block. The No. 3 and No. 4 spots have home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite being in last place in the conference, Sporting sit just 10 points behind current No. 7 seed Nashville SC.
To Sporting’s fortune, however, five of their last eight matches are against teams currently out of the playoff picture, including D.C. United, the only team with less points than Sporting.
Four of those five are at home, where in year’s past would have been a huge advantage, though this year, the club has only won four of their home games.
Sporting KC’s remaining schedule:
- 8/21 vs Portland Timbers – Children’s Mercy Park – 6:30 p.m.
- 8/27 vs San Jose Earthquakes – Children’s Mercy Park – 7:30 p.m.
- 9/4 at (6) Los Angeles Galaxy – Dignity Health Park – 7 p.m.
- 9/10 at Houston Dynamo – PNC Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
- 9/13 vs D.C. United – Children’s Mercy Park – 7:30 p.m.
- 9/17 vs (4) Minnesota United – Children’s Mercy Park – 7:30 p.m.
- 10/2 vs Seattle Sounders – Children’s Mercy Park – 4 p.m.
- 10/9 at (3) FC Dallas – Toyota Stadium – 4 p.m.
Points have been hard to come by for the club, but the mid-season signings have provided a few bright spots for the club.
Forward William Agada has scored three goals in two starts this season, tying him for third most on the team with Remi Walter and behind Johnny Russell (7) and Daniel Salloi (5).
Erik Thommy has provided consistency in the midfield, both in defense and in the attacking third. Previously, manager Peter Vermes compared his abilities to that of Gadi Kinda, who missed the 2022 campaign with season-ending knee surgery.
Though the season hasn’t been what most expected, and fans have more questions than answers about the club moving forward, the playoffs are not completely out of the question.
A stretch of positive performances could put Sporting KC into the mix of the postseason and end the season on a high note and not with the infamous “Wooden Spoon” award.