Kansas City, Kansas (August 9th, 2017)- Sporting KC knocked off the San Jose Earthquakes in a Penalty Kick shootout to advance to the US Open Cup Final. San Jose scored early, and then Sporting KC responded. They then played 100 minutes of scoreless soccer. Tim Melia saved Victor Bernardez’s penalty to clinch the win.
Sporting KC Defeat San Jose Earthquakes on Penalty Kicks, Advance to 2017 USOC Final
Sporting KC came into this match after dropping frustrating points in their MLS match on the weekend. They then had 48 hours to prepare for an entirely different San Jose Earthquakes team that they hadn’t seen before. They concocted their gameplan, and executed for 120 minutes. If it hadn’t been for Andrew Tarbell standing on his head, making 11 saves and four punches clear, Sporting KC could’ve won this game 5-1.
San Jose got the party started early in the match, as new San Jose Earthquakes DP, Valeri Qazaishvili, or “Vako,” threaded in the perfect ball behind Ike Opara. Danny Hoesen ran onto it, cut back, took a few touches inside and unleashed a beautiful curling effort past Tim Melia. Children’s Mercy Park was stunned.
In the 31st Minute, Sporting KC finally got their response. In something that felt straight out of a FIFA game, Sporting completed an 18 pass move, in which every player touched the ball except the Goalkeeper. The final move was Jimmy Medranda dribbling around Imperiale and cutting to the byline. His pass was drilled across the area to Diego Rubio, whose deft flick on the ball, with his back to goal and momentum going away from the net, sent the ball past Tarbell.
After that, it was all Sporting KC. They out-possessed the Earthquakes 67% to 33%, and completed nearly twice as many passes, (749 to 364). They took 31 shots, opposed to San Jose’s 11. Yet Tarbell stood tall. Anything that didn’t make it through the Quakes back 3, Tarbell got a glove, fist, face, foot to it. With the 2017 form of David Bingham it could be conceivable that having him in the net, San Jose wouldn’t have gotten to a shootout.
But yet they did. Both Benny Feilhaber and Chris Wondolowski had their penalties saved. Then everyone made theirs until Victor Bernardez stepped up in the sixth round. Melia made a diving save, parrying Bernardez’s shot away, and sending Children’s Mercy Park into a frenzy.
Sporting KC and San Jose Earthquakes both have a short turnaround. Sporting KC will take on Seattle Sounders, in Seattle this weekend. The San Jose Earthquakes will go to Houston and take on the Dynamo. The 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final will be held at Children’s Mercy Park on September 20th. Time and opponent have yet to be determined.