Sporting KC vs Des Moines Menace US Open Cup Third Round Preview

G. Newman Lowrance

Sporting Kansas City begins their US Open Cup defense with a third round match against the Des Moines Menace.

Sporting Kansas City will enter the 100th US Open Cup in the third round as they begin their 2012 title defense. Standing in their way is a cinderella team of sorts in the Des Moines Menace. The two teams will clash at Sporting Park tonight with the winner heading on to the fourth round and closer to the ultimate prize: The US Open Cup.

About the Teams

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City are the defending US Open Cup champions after beating Seattle Sounders FC in penalty kicks last year. This year they will look to defend their title and gain entry into the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League. Heading into the match Sporting will likely send out a mostly reserve lineup except for the forwards. Graham Zusi and Soony Saad are on international duty and Dom Dwyer is cap tied to Orlando City SC. This means there will likely be a Kamara-Sapong-Peterson combination at the top due to, get this, a lack of reserve forward options.

Des Moines Menace

The Menace are a team from the USL Premier Development League, a part of the fourth tier of the United States soccer pyramid. In the first round they knocked off PDSL side the Madison 56ers 1-0 then went and upset Minnesota United FC from the NASL 1-0. The Menace are a team that likes to sit back, play defense and wait for their opponent to beat themselves, a style Sporting KC has not done well against this season. In league play the Menace play in the same division as local club the Kansas City Athletics. They are currently in third place with four points in three matches played.

Players to Watch

Sporting Kansas City- Mikey Lopez

The first round draft pick for Sporting in the 2013 MLS Superdraft has not seen any minutes for the senior team but has been a highly lauded prospect for Sporting in the midfield. It is extremely likely, if not guaranteed, that Lopez will be in the midfield for tonight's game and it will be interesting to see what he can do for the first time in a Sporting kit.

Edit: Lopez received a call up to the USMNT U-20s but was in the 18 for Sunday's match against the Houston Dynamo which may signify he declined the call up.

Des Moines Menace- Scott Angevine

Scott Angevine is a Kansas City product, a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest, and a former Sporting Kansas City trialist. Angevine has been a solid keeper for the Menace so far this season, scoring cleansheets in his past three appearances and only allowing one goal in his four regular season matches. If Des Moines is able to keep Sporting off of the board, Angevine will be a big reason why.

How they will win

Sporting Kansas City

Pressure, pressure and more pressure. Sporting will have to use their normal, high pressure style of offense to force the back line of Des Moines to make a mistake and score a couple of goals. Sporting will more than likely have a pretty strong front line due to the absence of some of their reserve forwards. If Sporting can keep the pressure in the attacking half then they should have no problem burying a couple of goals to put the match out of reach.

Des Moines Menace

Sporting has not done terribly well against teams who have played defense as their main style. If Des Moines can frustrate Sporting in the back, they may be able to steal a goal off of a quick counter and escape Sporting Park with a win. It will take a heroic performance from their defense and from their keeper Scott Angevine in order for Des Moines to advance.

Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Des Moines Menace

The Sporting attack should have no problem with the PDL side. Things will happen in the US Open Cup that throw a lot of good teams out of the tournament, so here's hoping that doesn't happen tomorrow.

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