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MLS playoffs: Sporting KC defeats Earthquakes in shootout to advance

Sporting Kansas City players rush to congratulate goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Sporting Kansas City players rush to congratulate goalkeeper Tim Melia, right, after defeating the San Jose Earthquakes on penalty kicks Sunday.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Tim Melia stopped all three of San Jose’s shootout attempts and Sporting Kansas City converted all of its tries to beat the Earthquakes on Sunday after they finished overtime tied at 3 in the Western Conference semifinals.

Top-seeded Sporting advanced to play No. 4 Minnesota.

Gianluca Busio scored in the first minute of stoppage time to give Sporting Kansas City a 3-2 lead, but Chris Wondolowski scored about six minutes later, heading home a high cross to the far post by Cristian Espinoza to force extra time. It was just the second career playoff goal for Wondolowski, who has an MLS-record 166 goals in the regular season.

In the shootout, Johnny Russell opened the tiebreaker with a goal, Melia stopped Oswaldo Alanis, and Ilie Sanchez connected for Sporting. Jackson Yueill was stopped, Khiry Shelton scored, and Melia stopped Espinoza to end it.

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LAFC forward Brian Rodríguez has tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty in South America and will miss the club’s playoff opener.

Melia is 6-0 in shootouts. The 34-year old goalkeeper went into the match allowing goals on just 54% (14 of 26) of the penalty kicks he’s faced, the lowest percentage in MLS history.

Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Carlos Fierro answered in the 22nd, and Shea Salinas scored in the 34th minute to give the Earthquakes a 2-1 lead.

Sanchez put away a corner kick by Busio in the 47th minute. It was the 10th goal off a corner kick by Sporting Kansas City this season, most in MLS.

Minnesota 3, Colorado 0

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kevin Molino scored two goals and Robin Lod added another as Minnesota claimed its first playoff victory in franchise history.

Fourth-seeded Minnesota, unbeaten in its last nine games, will play top-seeded Sporting Kansas City in the conference semifinals. Sporting beat San Jose in a shootout earlier Sunday.

Molino rolled a left-footer from the top of the area inside to post to open the scoring in the 22nd minute.

Dayne St. Clair, a 23-year old in his first playoff appearance, had six saves for Minnesota.

Lod ran onto a long through ball from Emanuel Reynoso at the top of the area, cut back to evade a defender and flicked in a left-footed side-netter to make it 2-0 in the 54th minute. Jan Gregus tapped a cross to a charging Molino who chipped it over sliding goalkeeper William Yarbrough to cap the scoring in the 79th.

Molino also scored twice in Minnesota’s 3-0 win over Dallas in the regular-season finale.

Colorado had won three in a row heading into the playoffs.


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