CINCINNATI (AP) — Roger Espinoza scored and Sporting Kansas City clinched a playoff berth with a 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night.
Step 1: Clinch playoff berth ✅Step 2: Move to 🔝 of the West ✅Step 3: Clinch a 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞 playoff match ...See you Sunday, KC 😉 pic.twitter.com/WQAlpppKNg— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) October 29, 2020
Sporting Kansas City (11-6-3) also moved into the Western Conference lead. Cincinnati (4-13-4) lost its third straight match and was eliminated from playoff contention.
Espinoza's shot from close range deflected off goalkeeper Spencer Richey's left foot in the 57th minute.
Tim Melia made two saves to become Sporting's career leader with 510. Melia broke the record with his first save, a deflection off Jurgen Locadia’s left-footed shot to the near post in the 46th minute.
Cincinnati had chances in the second half. Siem de Jong's penalty kick hit the right post in the 63rd minute. Brandon Vazquez's chipped a shot off the post in the 88th.
It was Cincinnati's last game at Nippert Stadium. Cincinnati will play next season at West End Stadium.
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes also becomes the first head coach in MLS history to lead one club to nine playoff appearances.