Daniel Salloi converted Sporting Kansas City's decisive penalty kick as SKC defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 in the tiebreaker after a scoreless 90 minutes on Wednesday in the Western Conference wild-card match at Kansas City, Kan.
Sporting KC keeper Tim Melia, who has saved 14 of 36 regular-season penalty kicks in his MLS career, stopped an attempt by Cristian Espinoza to open the shootout. The Earthquakes' Jackson Yueill misfired too high in the second round before Jack Skahan and Carlos Akapo converted their shots.
Sporting KC advance to face St. Louis City in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs in a best-of-three series. The first match will be Sunday evening in St. Louis.
Coming out of a scoreless first half, San Jose picked up the pace in the second half, generating its first two shots on goal and first two corner kicks in the first 15 minutes. The stat sheet was much more even than the first half, which Sporting dominated.
San Jose had its best scoring opportunity of the match in the 66th minute. Cade Cowell, who was a second-half sub, picked up the ball on the left side of the formation and dribbled it through the SKC defense. However, his shot was deflected by SKC defender Andreu Fontas.
Cowell had another chance in the 70th minute, but Melia made a one-handed save.
Russell nearly put Sporting KC up in the 79th minute when his free kick from just outside the box hit the post.
The final five minutes of regular time and the five minutes of stoppage time were spent mostly deep in San Jose territory, but it proved fruitless for SKC.
Sporting were on the attack from the outset. They had two shots that were deflected for corner kicks in the first three minutes of the match. They finished the half with all the shots (7-0) and the only shot on goal.