The time has come. Sporting Kansas City will begin another run for the US Open Cup trophy this week. Tuesday night Sporting will host FC Dallas, a team that SKC just had a 2-2 draw with on April 30th. The Open Cup has not been played since 2019 due to the pandemic, but it is back! Sporting has routinely taken the tournament seriously and have taken home the trophy in 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2017.
After three years, the U.S. Open Cup is back— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) April 21, 2022
Need a refresher on American soccer's longest-running tournament? We gotchu ⤵️
The big question that always arises when these extra tournaments come around is…how bad do we want to win? Do you rest the main players and give the kids a chance to get minutes, or do you go all out and risk injury and fatigue and play the regular starting players? Do the difficulties and struggles the team has faced this year make a difference in the approach the team takes this season? The Open Cup could be an opportunity for the team to continue to improve and build confidence. Or it could do the opposite.
Personally, I am always of the opinion that if you are going to participate in a competitive event then you should play to win. The team is coming off of a hard-fought 0-0 draw in New York City and are headed to Portland in the upcoming weekend. Add in Tuesday night’s match and that's a lot of minutes in seven days. With the number of injuries the team is currently dealing with, there aren’t a lot of options in switching things up too much. Without Pulido, Kinda, Isimat-Mirin, and Zusi there are already quite a few “second string” players getting regular playing time.
With Johnny Russell admitting to having a little nagging hamstring injury that he has been fighting through, maybe it is time to let him sit, but who takes his place? Do you give Daniel Salloi a rest in hopes that he stays healthy and ready to help the team claw its way back up the regular season standings? I would argue that this would be the perfect time to give Marinos Tzionis and Nikola Vujnovic a good stretch of minutes to show the SKC fanbase and coaching staff just what they are capable of. The minutes that they have been given have been late in a match or in moments where they are not giving the best opportunity to succeed, such as when Vujnovic started a match one day after arriving in town.
What do you think? Should SKC go all out and play the regular starters? Rest the regulars and play the kids or some kind of mix? How serious should the team take the Open Cup this year?
Whatever the lineup it is our job, as fans, to show up and be loud! Make sure you are at Children’s Mercy Park on Tuesday night to begin Sporting Kansas City’s quest for another Cup!