Tim Melia stopped three straight penalty kicks in a shootout that Sporting Kansas City won 3-0 over the San Jose Earthquakes, launching the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed into the semifinal round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. Meanwhile, Sporting made all three of their attempts, with the spot kicks coming after the clubs battled to a 3-3 draw and neither could pull ahead in extra time.
Sporting appeared to have a 91st-minute game-winner from Homegrown midfielder Gianluca Busio, but MLS all-time goals king Chris Wondolowksi had other plans in the 97th minute, equalizing at 3-3 deep into second-half stoppage time. Wondolowski drifted to the back post and deftly headed home a left-footed, in-swinging cross from Cristian Espinoza.
Before then, Busio capped off a wonderful team move, latching onto a back-heel flick from Khiry Shelton at the near post and supplying a right-footed blast that gave the West’s No. 1 seed a 3-2 advantage. The entire sequence was orchestrated by Johnny Russell and Gerso, who combined on the left flank before the 18-year-old found net.
The goals flowed early, too, and corner kicks proved fruitful for Sporting, starting when Roger Espizona made it 1-0 in the 4th minute. He made a near-post run and flicked his header past San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski.
SKC’s other corner-kick goal came in the 47th minute via Ilie Sanchez, who also pulled off a near-post flick that drew the sides level at 2-2. Winston Reid was at the back post for a tap-in finish, but let the initial shot bounce in.
As for San Jose, Espinoza was the architect of their first two goals, starting with Carlos Fierro’s strike in the 22nd minute that equalized the score at 1-1. Espinoza crossed from the right flank, Sporting failed to clear and Fierro cleaned up the mess with a left-footed shot that center back Roberto Puncec headed in.
The Earthquakes then grabbed a brief 2-1 lead in the 34th minute, with Espinoza charging down the right before picking out Shea Salinas near the penalty kick spot. Salinas one-timed it home, giving the visitors momentum.