Sporting KC played with urgency and passion, a reminder of what it's like to have a team that wants to win as badly as the crowd screaming its light-blue-covered head off. It was inspiring. Graham Zusi is still running. Roger Espinoza was America's best challenger since Matlock. But no moment was more indicative of Sporting's effort than the seconds following the game's only goal. Seth Sinovic, after notching his first professional goal, picked up the ball, sprinted to the center of the pitch, slammed it down and essentially told Houston, "game on." There was no pointing to the scoreboard, no real celebration. It was just a question of completing what the team set out to do.
Ultimately, the two-goal differential from Sunday's loss in Houston was too big a deficit to overcome. Sporting KC failed to finish a number of chances, and the referee swallowed his whistle on a foul that would have given Sporting a penalty-kick opportunity in the final moments of injury time. But that doesn't take away what Kansas Citians witnessed last night: a team that wouldn't quit until those three short whistle blasts.