Kansas City, KS (July 11th, 2017)- Sporting KC and FC Dallas faced off in their Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Quarterfinal. The previous two winners were drawn together in the Western Half of the bracket, setting up a cracking matchup.
Sporting KC defeat FC Dallas, Advance to US Open Cup Semis
The first half started off as most expected, Sporting KC were gladly on the front foot and attacking right at the FC Dallas backline. In the fifteenth minute, the matched changed entirely. Just as Michael Barrios crossed midfield with the ball, he tapped the ball pretty far ahead of him. Seth Sinovic was the last man before Melia, still 45 yards away, and his ill-timed tackle tripped up Barrios. Originally the referee pulled a yellow out of his pocket, but in the surrounding of him, he opted for the red card for Sinovic, leaving Sporting KC with 10 men to play for the remainder of the match.
Victor Ulloa was lucky not to see a red card himself on the stroke of halftime, as his late, high challenge on Rubio was deemed only worth a yellow.
The first half had a few chances, and Sporting KC should’ve been up 2-0 before the red card even happened. Gerso Fernandes served up a beautiful ball to Diego Rubio who blasted it into the stands at Children’s Mercy Park. The other chance left begging was Gerso Fernandes, who rounded Jesse Gonzalez but the shot was weak and Ryan Hollingshead came streaking in and saved it off the line.
After the red card, Sporting were still looking to get forward and attack. There were a few chances from distance, one from Latif Blessing went extremely close. Other than that, there wasn’t many clear opportunities for either side until extra time.
There was a big chance from Dallas at the end of regulation, but Tim Melia was equal to that challenge. The whistle for the end of regulation blew, and FC Dallas and Sporting KC were headed to extra time. Then it got wild.
Sporting KC were lucky to not concede off the restart, as Tesho Akindele just mistimed his jump. After that, Max Urruti lined up for a bicycle kick, but kicked Ike Opara in the face. It was a scary moment as Opara went down, unconcious in mid-air. He was stretchered off and taken to the hospital, while Urruti receieved a second yellow card. Almost immediately Sporting KC went on the counter.
Benny Feilhaber brought the ball forward, and slipped in the perfect ball to Latif Blessing, who finished perfectly to the left of Gonzalez. Children’s Mercy Park was complete bedlam after that, and Sporting KC looked to push on. Javier Morales followed shortly with a straight red card of his own for pulling down Benny Feilhaber as the last man. While it was close, if the referee sent off Sinovic for his, consistency would’ve called for Morales being sent off as well. Almost immediately after that, Sporting KC scored their second.
The ball came out to Daniel Salloi who fizzed one across the box towards the penalty spot, but nobody was there. Jimmy Medranda came crashing in late and hit a shot first time that squirmed to Latif Blessing who backheeled it into the net, thinking he was offside, however he wasn’t. Atiba Harris was late to backtrack, and Blessing was onside, finding a brace for himself. Daniel Salloi would bag one late in the second half of extra time to make it 3-0 in favor of Sporting KC.
Player of the Match: While Latif Blessing did bag the brace, one other player stood tall as the Man of the Match, and that was Erik Palmer-Brown. Brown had an incredible match, making tackle after tackle, and clearance after clearance while Sporting KC were down a man. The young center back was incredible, and stepped up big when Ike went down as well.
Sporting KC will now move on to face the San Jose Earthquakes, winner’s of last night’s quarterfinal. The match date and location has yet to be announced.