Down a man for most of the match, Sporting Kansas City put in a resilient defensive performance and turned on the attack in extra time, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 in the US Open Cup quarterfinals.
This was the third time in six seasons that Sporting Kansas City had advanced to the US Open Cup semifinals. Both times they have ended up as eventual winners of the tournament.
The opening minutes of the match were fast and fluid. Both teams were missing core players due to the Gold Cup, but the ones who stood in the starting lineup on Tuesday night put on an exciting match.
In the 13th minute Sporting Kansas City almost took the lead when Gerso Fernandes, all alone in the box after beating the keeper, did not put enough power on his shot and FC Dallas defender Ryan Hollingshead was there to clear the ball off the line and keep the match scoreless.
Hollingshead breaking #SportingKC 's hearts as he saves the ball off the line. Gerso tried to just tap it in. #USOC2017 #SKCvFCD pic.twitter.com/kE4hwuxUqN— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 12, 2017
A couple of minutes later, Sporting KC was dealt a serious blow when they went down a man. Seth Sinovic committed a clinical foul on Michael Barrios as he advanced past the midfield line and toward the goal. As Sinovic was one of the last men in between Barrios and the goal, it was considered to be a denial of goal scoring opportunity and Sinovic was shown a red card.
STRAIGHT RED?!?!?!? In the 15th minute the refs just crippled SKC's chances of winning the #USOC2017 #SKCvFCD pic.twitter.com/rxcKmjyIHS— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 12, 2017
Still, Sporting Kansas City still held their own, matching FC Dallas on shots and holding them to one shot on goal in the first half.
Toward the end of the half, Sporting KC almost went ahead. A free kick led to a collision between Sporting KC forward Diego Rubio and FC Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzales. The ball was knocked loose and put into the net for an apparent Sporting KC goal, but was waved off as Rubio was called for the foul.
Just before the half #SportingKC have a goal called back for a foul on Rubio. #USOC2017 #SKCvFCD pic.twitter.com/F7b2Scd6WH— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 12, 2017
The two teams went into the half scoreless.
In the second half, FC Dallas started to take advantage of the man advantage. They controlled possession and put more pressure on the Sporting KC defense but still the home side held strong. Despite some attempts like the one shown below from FC Dallas, Sporting KC was able to keep the match level at the end of regulation, which meant 30 minutes of extra time.
TIM MELIA!!!! Huge Save to keep it scoreless in the 91st minute! #USOC2017 #SKCvFCD pic.twitter.com/EnI2IF5RZP— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 12, 2017
In the 100th minute, the match leveled up in terms of players of the field. Urruti attempted a bicycle kick toward the top of the box but missed the ball and hit Sporting KC defender Ike Opara right in the face.
Urruti was shown a second yellow card and ejected from the match while Opara was down on the ground for substantial period. Urruti was visibly distraught after he injured Opara and Opara had to be stretchered off the field.
Opara gave a thumbs up as he left the field, showing that he was at least conscious. Opara would later be transferred to KU Medical Center to be evaluated for a concussion.
[Update: Apparently Ike Opara is alert. He was knocked unconscious from the kick and during the broadcast they indicated he showed signs of a “severe concussion.” He will stay overnight in the hospital as a precaution.]
Back on the field, Sporting KC grabbed the lead two minutes later. Benny Feilhaber, who had subbed in at the beginning of extra time, stole the ball in the midfield and raced across the field. As he reached the final third he slotted the ball to Latif Blessing, who tapped the ball from the top of the box past the keeper for the score.
AMAZING!!!!!!! Benny to Blessing for the first goal of the game!!!!! 1-0 SKC!!!! #USOC2017 #SKCvFCD pic.twitter.com/qqjwC6Eboc— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 12, 2017
More good news came for Sporting Kansas City just a couple of minutes later when FC Dallas was hit with another red card. Javier Morales, in a very similar play that saw Sinovic sent off earlier, obstructed a goal-scoring opportunity at midfield and he was sent off, giving Sporting KC a man advantage.
The action-packed stoppage time continued as Blessing added a second goal. Jimmy Medranda sent a ball toward the goal and Blessing was in the right place at the right time as he redirected the shot to put it in the net for his second goal of the night.
A second look at Latif's second goal. Definition of right place right time. @latif_blessing #USOC2017 #SKCvFCD pic.twitter.com/7jPTI6ciOT— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 12, 2017
The second half of stoppage time did not look to be as action packed as the first, until Daniel Salloi found the net. Feilhaber was on the assist once again as he found Salloi on the through ball and Salloi’s shot deflected off of Gonzales and into the net for the score to give Sporting KC the 3-0 lead.
That would end up as the final scoreline, sending Sporting KC to the next round. With the win, Sporting Kansas City advanced to the US Open Cup semifinals for the third time in six seasons. They’ll meet the San Jose Earthquakes in the semifinals. The location of the semifinals and final will be revealed Friday following the completion of the other two quarterfinal matches.