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Bradley Wright-Phillips' second half brace led New York to a 2-1 victory over Sporting KC, ending their season.
A scoreless first half gave way to a dramatic second half, which found Sporting KC on the side of defeat as they fell to the New York Red Bulls 2-1.
Dom Dwyer provided the goal for Sporting KC while Bradley Wright-Phillips' brace propelled the Red Bulls to the victory.
Sporting KC was able to go ahead on a nice goal from Dom Dywer. Benny Feilhaber won the ball in the midfield and moved the ball down the field with Dwyer just in front of him. An excellent pass got the ball to Dwyer, who was open enough to finish the shot to give Sporting KC the lead.
The Red Bulls, however, pulled it back in the 78th minute. Bradley Wright-Phillips was on the receiving end of a low cross in the box and calmly put it away for his 28th goal of 2014. This had come after multiple frustrating attempts from the Red Bulls all game, having missed a couple of chances by mere feet.
New York finally claimed the lead for good in the 90th minute when an undefended cross from Oyongo found an open Wright-Phillips, who banged it off the post with a header for the lead.
Sporting KC would have a couple more chances in the dying moments off of corner kicks but weren't able to put it in, giving the Red Bulls the 2-1 final victory. The Red Bulls now move on to play DC United in the two-legged Eastern Conference semifinals, while Sporting Kansas City's season comes to a close in their worst performance since 2010.
We'll have offseason previews coming up in the next few days, including expansion and dispersal draft scenarios, as well as look backs at the 2014 season and how it all came to a close. Sporting KC are no longer the defending champions, and can now start the countdown until they are no longer "champions."




Follow along as Sporting KC fights New York for the right to face DC United.



The Teams



Sporting Kansas City
14-7-13, 8-1-8 on the road
49 Points

5th seed
Manager: Peter Vermes (6th season)

New York Red Bulls
13-11-10, 10-4-3 at home
50 Points
4th seed
Manager: Mike Petke (2nd Season)
Other Info
Lineups




#SportingKC XI vs #RBNY: Kronberg; Ellis, Collin, Besler (C), Sinovic: Claros, Nagamura, Feilhaber; Sapong, Dwyer, Zusi #NYvSKC #MLSPlayoffs
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) October 30, 2014



#SportingKC available subs vs #RBNY: Kempin, Juliao, Olum, Lopez, Peterson, Saad, Dovale #NYvSKC #MLSPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/Mi86oYPTID
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) October 30, 2014





Starting XI vs @SportingKC: Robles, Eckersley, Olave, Sekagya, Miller, Alexander, McCarty, Sam, Cahill, Henry, Wright-Phillips #NYvSKC
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) October 30, 2014





#RBNY Bench for #NYvSKC: Meara, Duvall, Armando, Bover, Luyindula, Lade, Oyongo
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) October 30, 2014



Date: October 30, 2014

Gametime: 7:00 pm central
TV: ESPN2
Location: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey




One team's season will come to an end tonight in Harrison, New Jersey.
The Blue Testament asks Once a Metro...
1) How different will the Red Bulls' lineup look with Henry in there as opposed to this past Sunday's?

The lineup for the Red Bulls' won't be much different than the one that took the field in Kansas City on Sunday. The only change should be Thierry Henry coming back from resting due to an achilles injury flare up. I would probably start Peguy Luyindula over Tim Cahill as Cahill has not played well for most of the year, but Mike Petke

2) New York has done so well against Sporting KC this year with two wins and a draw. How would Sporting be able to sneak a win in this match?

I don't want to say this as it could come back to haunt me, but I don't know if they can sneak a win. This isn't a slight against Sporting, it just seems like the Red Bulls have their number this year. The way to beat them though is to score early and force the team to press more than Petke wants to. It'll open up the Red Bulls to the counter, which they are susceptible too because their left & right backs like to get up and help in the attack.

3) If you're looking for one unexpected player on NYRB to step up and be a big factor in this game, who would it be?

Richard Eckersley. It sounds crazy because he's been a mediocre defender for the last few years, and he was benched for most of the year. He's been somewhat of a revelation recently, but still has issues. Most of the other guys in the starting XI are solid players, but Eckersley is the guy to look out for. If he isn't mentioned a lot, then he'll have had a good game.

Once a Metro asks The Blue Testament...
1) Sporting KC has had a rough time the last few months, only managing 3 MLS wins since the beginning of August. What's been the biggest reason for the slide?

To me, the biggest reason has been all of the injuries and exhaustion finally catching up to Sporting, particularly on defense. Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic have essentially had three weeks off of soccer in the past year, getting called into USMNT camp right after MLS Cup, plus the losses of Chance Myers and Ike Opara for the year takes away a lot of defensive depth. Losing Uri Rosell on a transfer hurts because his defensive abilities to cover the whole in the middle have not been able to be replicated from Jorge Claros or Lawrence Olum. I firmly believe most of the problems are defensive, considering that Dom Dwyer is still scoring goals and the attack is basically on the same track it's been on all season. But a team won't win when they give up multiple goals against a decent defense.

2) Sporting had the best defense in the Eastern Conference (41 goals against) but let the Red Bulls score 5 against them. What do they need to do to improve the defense?

Honestly, get these guys into offseason rest. As mentioned in question one, two of the normally staunch defenders have had about three weeks off of soccer in the past year. This is essentially the same personnel as the past few years and 2015 will bring back Chance Myers to complete the fearsome foursome that has been so good since 2011. Specifically for this game, Jorge Claros needs to step up and cover the hole in the middle and stop attacks before they get to the back line. It would also be nice if the wing backs could shut down the flanks and not allow NYRB to attack down the sides.

3) How big of a factor will it be for Sporting to have to go on the road for the play-in game after the Red Bulls win on Sunday?

Strangely enough, it may be beneficial to Sporting to have to go on the road. They're 8-1-8 on the road compared to 6-6-5 at home, so going to Red Bull Arena may help Sporting KC just based on the way the season has gone. I will say that the Red Bulls win in what could be the final home match at Sporting Park in 2014 when Sporting had a chance to completely miss the play-in game was a gut punch but the ability to play the same team four days later could end up helping SKC. We'll see what kind of fire they come out with and if they can sustain that for 90 or possibly 120 minutes.
We talked with Jason Iapicco from Once a Metro about the MLS Cup playoff match between Sporting KC and the New York Red Bulls.
The Blue Testament asks Once a Metro...
1) How different will the Red Bulls' lineup look with Henry in there as opposed to this past Sunday's?

The lineup for the Red Bulls' won't be much different than the one that took the field in Kansas City on Sunday. The only change should be Thierry Henry coming back from resting due to an achilles injury flare up. I would probably start Peguy Luyindula over Tim Cahill as Cahill has not played well for most of the year, but Mike Petke

2) New York has done so well against Sporting KC this year with two wins and a draw. How would Sporting be able to sneak a win in this match?

I don't want to say this as it could come back to haunt me, but I don't know if they can sneak a win. This isn't a slight against Sporting, it just seems like the Red Bulls have their number this year. The way to beat them though is to score early and force the team to press more than Petke wants to. It'll open up the Red Bulls to the counter, which they are susceptible too because their left & right backs like to get up and help in the attack.

3) If you're looking for one unexpected player on NYRB to step up and be a big factor in this game, who would it be?

Richard Eckersley. It sounds crazy because he's been a mediocre defender for the last few years, and he was benched for most of the year. He's been somewhat of a revelation recently, but still has issues. Most of the other guys in the starting XI are solid players, but Eckersley is the guy to look out for. If he isn't mentioned a lot, then he'll have had a good game.

Once a Metro asks The Blue Testament...
1) Sporting KC has had a rough time the last few months, only managing 3 MLS wins since the beginning of August. What's been the biggest reason for the slide?

To me, the biggest reason has been all of the injuries and exhaustion finally catching up to Sporting, particularly on defense. Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic have essentially had three weeks off of soccer in the past year, getting called into USMNT camp right after MLS Cup, plus the losses of Chance Myers and Ike Opara for the year takes away a lot of defensive depth. Losing Uri Rosell on a transfer hurts because his defensive abilities to cover the whole in the middle have not been able to be replicated from Jorge Claros or Lawrence Olum. I firmly believe most of the problems are defensive, considering that Dom Dwyer is still scoring goals and the attack is basically on the same track it's been on all season. But a team won't win when they give up multiple goals against a decent defense.

2) Sporting had the best defense in the Eastern Conference (41 goals against) but let the Red Bulls score 5 against them. What do they need to do to improve the defense?

Honestly, get these guys into offseason rest. As mentioned in question one, two of the normally staunch defenders have had about three weeks off of soccer in the past year. This is essentially the same personnel as the past few years and 2015 will bring back Chance Myers to complete the fearsome foursome that has been so good since 2011. Specifically for this game, Jorge Claros needs to step up and cover the hole in the middle and stop attacks before they get to the back line. It would also be nice if the wing backs could shut down the flanks and not allow NYRB to attack down the sides.

3) How big of a factor will it be for Sporting to have to go on the road for the play-in game after the Red Bulls win on Sunday?

Strangely enough, it may be beneficial to Sporting to have to go on the road. They're 8-1-8 on the road compared to 6-6-5 at home, so going to Red Bull Arena may help Sporting KC just based on the way the season has gone. I will say that the Red Bulls win in what could be the final home match at Sporting Park in 2014 when Sporting had a chance to completely miss the play-in game was a gut punch but the ability to play the same team four days later could end up helping SKC. We'll see what kind of fire they come out with and if they can sustain that for 90 or possibly 120 minutes.




Sporting KC look to keep their season alive as they take on the New York Red Bulls in a winner-take-all game for the right to play DC United.
About the Teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City have been in a downward spiral for the past few months, culminating in a 2-0 home loss to the Red Bulls this past Sunday. They have some injury concerns with Benny Feilhaber and Igor Juliao both listed as questionable for tomorrow, which would change the midfield lineup considerably and likely force Kevin Ellis to play right back. Some good news for Sporting KC is that they will get Jorge Claros back after missing him for about a month due to some inappropriate comments that we still haven't gotten to the bottom of.
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls come into these playoffs as the four seed and full of confidence after defeating Sporting KC 2-0 on Sunday. They will have a rested Thierry Henry back for this match if his achilles are playable and also the MLS Golden Boot winner in Bradley Wright-Philips. They've fared well against Sporting KC this season, grabbing seven points from SKC over three games and will have the same lineup as Sunday after the addition of Henry. New York should be feeling comfortable going into this match.
Who to Watch
Sporting Kansas City- Jorge Claros
Sporting Kansas City are going to need to be strong down the middle of the field and that all starts with Jorge Claros. Claros needs to provide cover to the centerbacks while also providing a bit of spark on offense to Nagamura and either Feilhaber or Zusi in the midfield. It's a tall task for someone who hasn't played a full league match in the past three matches, but Claros is going to be a very important figure in this game. If he can stop Henry and help neutralize Wright-Phillips, Sporting KC may be able to sneak a win out of this match.
New York Red Bulls- Thierry Henry
If Mike Petke decides that Henry's achilles are alright enough to play, Henry could end up being a huge part of the Red Bulls' offense. With him behind Wright-Phillips, it sets up two very dangerous targets for Sporting KC's ragged defense to worry about, not to mention Lloyd Sam or Dax McCarty. The presence of Henry adds a new element to Sporting KC's defensive strategies, especially considering they were able to win without him only four days prior.
How They'll Win
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting KC will win this game by outscoring New York (Thanks, John Madden). Essentially, Sporting cannot rely on their defense to win them this game so they need to win this game in the attack. If Benny Feilhaber is able to play, he needs to play well. Graham Zusi needs to be incredibly dangerous on the wing and Dom Dwyer needs to be his usual bulldog self in the box, making life hell for Robles. Maybe Sporting's defense will be able to step up and shut down the Red Bulls but I foresee a 3-2 win happening more than a 1-0 win.
New York Red Bulls
New York needs to do exactly what they did on Sunday in order to take care of Sporting KC. They need to play a high-line and force the back line to make mistakes. Whether it's an inexperienced Igor Juliao or an out-of-position Kevin Ellis at right back, New York will have the opportunity to attack down the wing and spread Sporting's defense out. They have one of the better attacks in the league, they should be able to ride it to victory against Sporting KC in their current form.
Predictions
Lineups
Sporting Kansas City: Kronberg; Juliao, Collin, Besler, Sinovic; Claros, Nagamura, Feilhaber; Saad, Dwyer, Zusi.
New York Red Bulls (From Jason Iapicco): Luis Robles; Roy Miller, Ibrahim Sekagya, Jamison Olave, Richard Eckserly; Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander; Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Lloyd Sam; Bradley Wright-Phillips
Scoreline






The site puts forth their predictions as to who will win the MLS Cup and how Sporting Kansas City fits in. What say you?
We brought out our inner Nostradamus to predict the 2014 MLS Cup playoffs. After the site successfully predicted Sporting KC making the 2013 MLS Cup last year, we're back to see if our luck holds once again. What do you see the playoffs bringing? 
Ben Gartland








Winners
Losers



Eastern Conference Play-In Game


#5 Sporting Kansas City
# 4 New York Red Bulls








Western Conference Play-In Game


#4 FC Dallas
#5 Vancouver Whitecaps








Eastern Conference Semifinals


#1 DC United
#5 Sporting Kansas City



#2 New England Revolution
#3 Columbus Crew








Western Conference Semifinals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#4 FC Dallas



#3 Real Salt Lake
#2 Los Angeles Galaxy








Eastern Conference Finals


#2 New England Revolution
#1 DC United








Western Conference Finals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#2 Real Salt Lake








MLS Cup 2014


New England Revolution

Seattle Sounders FC







Jough Donakowski









Winners
Losers



Eastern Conference Play-In Game


#5 Sporting Kansas City
# 4 New York Red Bulls








Western Conference Play-In Game


#4 FC Dallas
#5 Vancouver Whitecaps








Eastern Conference Semifinals


#1 DC United
#5 Sporting Kansas City



#2 New England Revolution
#3 Columbus Crew








Western Conference Semifinals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#4 FC Dallas



#3 Real Salt Lake
#2 Los Angeles Galaxy








Eastern Conference Finals


#2 New England Revolution
#1 DC United








Western Conference Finals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#2 Los Angeles Galaxy








MLS Cup 2014


Los Angeles Galaxy


New England Revolution









Cody Bradley










Winners
Losers



Eastern Conference Play-In Game


# 5 Sporting Kansas City
#4 New York Red Bulls








Western Conference Play-In Game


#5 Vancouver Whitecaps
#4 FC Dallas








Eastern Conference Semifinals


#5 Sporting Kansas City
#1 DC United



#2 New England Revolution
#3 Columbus Crew








Western Conference Semifinals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#5 Vancouver Whitecaps



#2 Los Angeles Galaxy
#3 Real Salt Lake








Eastern Conference Finals


#2 New England Revolution
#5 Sporting Kansas City








Western Conference Finals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#2 Los Angeles Galaxy








MLS Cup 2014


New England Revolution


Seattle Sounders FC





Grace Rogers








Winners
Losers



Eastern Conference Play-In Game


#4 New York Red Bulls
#5 Sporting Kansas City








Western Conference Play-In Game


#4 FC Dallas
#5 Vancouver Whitecaps








Eastern Conference Semifinals


#1 DC United
#4 New York Red Bulls



#2 New England Revolution
#3 Columbus Crew








Western Conference Semifinals


#1 Seattle Sounders FC
#5 Vancouver Whitecaps



#2 Los Angeles Galaxy
#3 Real Salt Lake








Eastern Conference Finals


#1 DC United
#2 New England Revolution








Western Conference Finals


#2 Los Angeles Galaxy
#1 Seattle Sounders FC








MLS Cup 2014


DC United


Los Angeles Galaxy