Supporters' Shield in reach, Sporting KC, Crew SC settle for a share

KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Sporting Kansas City and Columbus Crew SC earned shares of the spoils in Sunday night’s marquee matchup, one that featured two teams vying to overtake the top spot in the 2018 Supporters' Shield race. After a 0-0 draw, both teams left with a point, and each felt like they should’ve had more.

Columbus was reduced to 10 men on the stroke of halftime, after Video Review led to a red card for Federico Higuain, following a foul on SKC midfielder Roger Espinoza in the sixth minute of stoppage time. SKC manager and technical director Peter Vermes expected his team to take off after that.

“We lacked urgency in the game tonight,” Vermes said. “You’ve got to credit Columbus. Sometimes you get down a man and you get galvanized and you defend really well in a block. At the same time, the lack of urgency on our part was a disappointment from my perspective.”

Vermes acknowledged feeling like SKC could've taken the full result, especially considering Tim Melia turned away a Gyasi Zardes penalty in the 43rd minute.

“Yep. For sure. Even if they were to score that [missed PK], my opinion is you’ve got to find a way to get back in the game, and you’ve still got time to win. So for sure, points dropped.”

Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter also felt his team had a chance to win – despite going down a man.

“Don’t forget, we missed a penalty,” Berhalter said. “We had some wide open chances as well. So to me, it was a shame. I think the game had a winner in it, if it stayed 11v11.”

It was Berhalter’s halftime talk that galvanized Crew SC's effort to escape Kansas City with a point.

“At half time, we regrouped and we talked about a plan and how we’re going to do it,” Berhalter said. “The team didn’t stop fighting. And give them credit for executing.”

Higuain’s sending off after a video review wasn’t the only contested incident in what developed into a chippy match.

Seth Sinovic came off the field in 58th minute after an incident behind the play. Upon replay, it appeared Cristian Martinez could have struck Sinovic in the face.

“I think they were breaking out a little bit,” Sinovic said. “He was running out and I was trying to step in front of his run, and felt something hit my face and went down. You’ll have to see the video.”

Vermes, meanwhile, held his opinion pending further review. “I only saw a little bit during the live version of the game. I want to see the replay.”