KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Whitecaps are heading to the MLS playoffs.
Erik Hurtado scored in the 53rd minute and Vancouver beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff spot.
"Massive win on the road right now," said Hurtado. "We're going to take this win and then get ready for next week. We have to take it game-by-game. We have three games left in the season."
Vancouver (15-10-6) bounced back from a 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night. Sporting KC (12-7-11) had won three straight, and had its 24-game home unbeaten streak snapped.
"I asked them to rebound after Wednesday because I thought we were a little bit soft against Seattle, who are another good team and the response that they gave was phenomenal against a really good team," said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson.
"I'm proud today and really proud of this football club."
Jordan Harvey sailed the ball across midfield and over three defenders to Hurtado, who flicked the ball past diving goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Diego Rubio took five first-half shots for Sporting KC. Rubio's penalty kick attempt beat goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, but his shot hit the post in the tenth minute. Marinovic stopped Rubio's diving header attempt four minutes later. Rubio tried another header off a corner kick, but he bounced the ball right into Marinovic's stomach just before the break.
Marinovic finished with seven saves.
Robinson called upon Hurtado to replace Fredy Montero and it paid off.
"Unbelievable finish from the boy," said Robinson.
"He's a model professional for me. He doesn't complain when he's not in the team. He's disappointed which I wanted my players to be disappointed, but he doesn't come ask me why he isn't playing, he asks what he can do to get into the team. He's been behind Fredy this year because with the way we play and Fredy has been excellent.
The Associated Press