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Sporting KC earns playoff berth, beating FC Cincinnati 1-0

Roger Espinoza scored and Sporting Kansas City clinched a playoff berth with a 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

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.

FC Cincinnati defender Tom Pettersson (3) passes the ball as Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda (17) defends during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Cincinnati. (Albert CesareThe Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

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.

FC Cincinnati defender Tom Pettersson (3) attempts to head a ball as Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) hits him on the head during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Cincinnati. (Albert CesareThe Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

FC Cincinnati midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo (15) passes the ball past Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda (17) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Cincinnati. (Albert CesareThe Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

FC Cincinnati midfielder Joseph-Claude Gyau (36) works against Sporting Kansas City defender Amadou Dia (13) in the box during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Cincinnati. (Albert CesareThe Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

FC Cincinnati midfielder Joseph-Claude Gyau, right, takes the ball down the pitch as Sporting Kansas City defender Amadou Dia (13) defends during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Cincinnati. (Albert CesareThe Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)