Top 20 Moments of the Decade | #20: Beating LAFC on Decision Day in 2018

Over the last 10 years, few professional sports franchises have experienced a more transformational journey than Sporting Kansas City. From Wizards to Sporting, from minor league baseball park to world-class soccer stadium, from MLS afterthought to perennial title contender, the 2010s ushered in a Kansas City soccer renaissance as Sporting enjoyed a meteoric rise both on and off the pitch.
Throughout this decade of success, everyone tied to the club—from players and coaches to owners and fans—made priceless memories that will last a lifetime. As the 2010s come to a close, is counting down the top 20 moments of the decade. The daily series will run from Dec. 12-31, looking back on the biggest matches, announcements and off-the-field developments that left lasting impacts on the club. The top 20 list was determined through voting among front office associates at Sporting. Click here to visit the top 20 as it unfolds.

One of the best regular seasons in Sporting Kansas City history offered up a scintillating finale at Children's Mercy Park.

Reduced to 10 men in the second half, Sporting earned a resolute 2-1 victory over star-studded expansion side LAFC on Decision Day to finish first in the Western Conference and lock up the top seed in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Roger Espinoza fired Sporting ahead with a stunning goal in the 37th minute, but the hosts suffered a blow on the hour mark when Seth Sinovic received a red card for a hand ball infraction inside the box. Carlos Vela buried the ensuing penalty kick to draw LAFC level, only for Daniel Salloi to strike back in the 79th minute to seal a thrilling win before an electric Children's Mercy Park crowd.

This Decision Day fixture was flexed into national television coverage on ESPN, as the winner would have locked up the West's No. 1 seed. Billed as a battle between a history-rich MLS original (Sporting) and a high-spending and ambitious new kid on the block (LAFC), the game certainly didn't disappoint.

"Going down a man and to show the resiliency that we did—not only to be able to defend but also to get a goal being a man down—that was top class by the group," Manager Peter Vermes said after the game. "We understood the situation where we could tie today and get first place. But we wanted to do it in style. We wanted to make sure that we won."