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Defending champs not defending anymore, SKC fall 4-2 in Houston

An early lead but SKC defense could not hold speedy attackers in the second half and Sporting KC drops out of the Open Cup

MLS: U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal-Houston Dynamo vs Sporting KC Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Defending U.S. Open Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City are not defending anymore. Sporting KC falls 4-2 in Houston after Romell Quioto and Mauro Manotas both score a brace.

It was a match that seemed flipped upside down from the start with Houston holding possession and Sporting KC the team on the counter looking for quick goals.

The first two minutes was a microcosm of the entire match, although in SKC’s favor to start. From near disaster on defense to a goal for Sporting Kansas City when Melia was pressured into turning the ball over. A quick scramble and all of sudden Johnny Russell was streaking down the field going one on one with Chris Seitz. Russell slid the ball under the Houston keeper and things looked good for SKC.

Most of the first half Houston held on to the ball and SKC tried to counter and exploit a defense for a change. Both teams had chances, Graham Zusi lifted one high, Daniel Salloi put one over the top as well. The Houston Dynamo had their chances as well with Alberth Elis putting one off the crossbar.

It was a set piece in the 35th minute that started finally leveled the match for Houston. Romell Quioto took the free kick from just outside the box over the 8 man Sporting KC wall. Tim Melia did not even dive it was so well placed.

The second half became a long and painful 45 minutes for the visitors. A number of players slipped through the SKC backline and despite some heroic stops and attempted stops from the energetic Tim Melia, the goals poured in.

66th Quioto slipped through the defense on a long ball from Darwin Cerén this time Melia was unable to stop the 1v1 attempt

69th Manotos iniatally stuffed by Melia but Manotos able to get another attempt with Melia far out of goal. No SKC players covered the line

88th Manotos again but this time assisted by Memo Rodriguez

Manager Peter Vermes went for it still, bringing in Felipe Gutiérrez and Yohan Croizet in the 71st. The subs did help generate some offense, Daniel Salloi had a pair of excellent chances before Houston added their fourth goal but could not quite pull the trigger.

SKC did add a late goal in stoppage time to narrow the lead but it was not enough.