Defender Logan Ndenbe scored his second career goal and Dániel Sallói delivered an insurance goal in the second half as Sporting Kansas City eliminated St Louis City, the top seed in the MLS Western Conference, with a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
Sporting KC grabbed a 1-0 lead at halftime when Ndenbe used assists from Alan Pulido and Sallói to score in the first minute of stoppage time. Sallói stretched the lead to 2-0 in the 73rd minute. It was the fifth postseason goal for Sallói, tying him with Miklos Molnar for second most in club history. Predrag ‘Preki’ Radosavljević set the record at eight in two separate stints with the club from 1996-2000 and 2002-03.
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Rookie Célio Pompeu scored his first career playoff goal when took a pass from Njabulo Blom in the 86th minute and found the net to get St Louis City within a goal. Pompeu had one goal and two assists in nine starts and 26 appearances during the regular season.
St Louis had an extraordinary first season in MLS, winning the Western Conference, and recording the league’s fourth-best record overall.
“It’s been a year where we’ve been challenged and we’ve managed to come out on top and we’ve grown one step further,” St Louis coach Bradley Carnell said after the game.
“We’ve had so many highs and a few lows that we grow from. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t recover from this little moment that we were in. But what I saw today gives me hope, gives me hope for the future, and gets me energized and excited for what’s to come.”
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Elsewhere, Dénis Bouanga scored a first-half penalty and Maxime Crépeau made it stand up against his former club as defending-champion Los Angeles FC finished off a first-round sweep of the Vancouver Whitecaps with a 1-0 victory. Bouanga, who scored 20 goals during the regular season to win the Golden Boot and was named a finalist for the MVP award, scored in the 24th minute to give LAFC the lead. Bouanga took the penalty after Mario González drew a foul on Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon. Crépeau, a member of the Whitecaps from 2018-2021, finished with five saves to earn his second career clean sheet in the postseason – both with LAFC.