The atmosphere inside Children's Mercy Park was electric tonight as more than 16,000 fans piled in to watch Sporting make their fourth run for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against the San Jose Earthquakes in the semi-final match.
San Jose shook Children's Mercy Park early on with a goal in the opening minutes of the match. A through ball from Valeri Qazaishvili in the fourth minute found the feet of Danny Hoesen who cut inside Ike Opara then beat Tim Melia, rifling the ball into the side netting.
Despite the 0-1 lead for the Earthquakes, Sporting continued to dominate possession, with high-quality chances coming from Diego Rubio, Graham Zusi and others from all over the field.
Sporting finally found the equalizer in the 32nd minute after some great build up on the left wing by Jimmy Medranda and Latif Blessing resulted in a beautiful cross from Medranda to Rubio who flicked it straight into the back of the net.
The half ended at a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City having controlled 74% of the possession, compared to the Earthquakes mere 26%, and outshooting San Jose 11-4.
Sporting came out strong in the second half, continuing to control possession and firing off some dangerously close shots in and around the box. Back-to-back-to-back corner kicks for Sporting presented some close calls for San Jose, but Kansas City failed to find the finisher.
The Earthquakes posed as a threat to the Kansas City defense in the final minute of regular time. Despite the heightened pressure, they also failed to bury it home. At the end of 90-minutes, the score remained 1-1, sending the game into two, non-sudden death, 15-minute periods of extra time.
Sporting dominated each of the 15-minute stanzas in extra time, but despite this and Kansas City's numerous shot attempts, the game would be decided in penalty kicks after 120-minutes of play.
Benny Feilhaber was first up to the line, but the shot was blocked. He jogged back, head down as San Jose set up for their first shot. Melia got big on the line and made a huge save to make it an even playing field once again. Sporting went on to make their next five. As San Jose went for their fifth, Melia made a huge save yet again and Sporting Kansas City snagged the winner (5-4).
Sporting heads to Seattle this weekend to take on the Sounders on Saturday and will play either FC Cincinnati or New York Red Bulls in the Championship of the U.S. Open Cup back at Children's Mercy Park on September 20th.