Sporting KC advances to U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals
KANSAS CITY, KAN. — This time, two scores were enough.
With each team fielding starting lineups closely resembling those of their May 19 2-2 draw in Colorado, Sporting Kansas City defeated the Rapids, 2-0, at Livestrong Sporting Park on Tuesday to advance to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi helped begin the scoring for Sporting in the 27th minute. Zusi sent a free kick toward the net from 40 yards out, which Collin headed into the left goalpost. The ball then deflected off Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens for an own goal.
A series of early attacks kept the pressure on the Rapids, who, for their part, couldn’t seem to match Sporting’s opportunities.
Later, in the 80th minute, Teal Bunbury finally made good on the best of his many chances against Colorado. To set up the score, Soony Saad lobbed a pass to C.J. Sapong, who headed it toward front of Bunbury for the easy goal.
Sporting received stellar defensive play from Collin and Matt Besler, each stifling the Rapids attack on several occasions.
As the match wore on, its intensity grew in concert with its chippiness. Sporting would finish with 19 fouls and Colorado was whistled for 13. In the first half, Collin and Julio Cesar each received yellow cards on behalf of Sporting. Later, Colorado would earn three such warnings itself, with two yellow cards coming in the final five minutes of regulation.
Sporting finished with a slight advantage in shots with 10 (4 on goal) to Colorado’s 8 (2).
The victory was Sporting’s first back-to-back win in the 99-year-old tournament since the team won it all in 2004. Sporting will now host a U.S. Open quarterfinal match against the Dayton Dutch Lions of the United Soccer Leagues at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26.
Sitting at third place in the Eastern Conference, Sporting (8-3-1) returns to Major League Soccer play at home against Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. on June 16.
Livestrong Sporting Park to host World Cup qualifier
The United States Men's National Team will play Guatemala on at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in the final match of the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
"We are very excited to play such an important World Cup qualifier in Kansas City," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a news release. "They have an amazing new facility in Livestrong Sporting Park, and the fans have really demonstrated incredible support for soccer in the area. We expect it's going to be a fantastic atmosphere."
This will be the U.S. team's second appearance at Livestrong Sporting Park, and first World Cup qualifier at the stadium. The team also played a World Cup qualifier in Kansas City, Mo. — a 1-0 victory against Costa Rica in 2001.
The U.S. will begin World Cup qualifying at 7 p.m. EST on Friday against Antiqua & Barbuda in Tampa, Fla. U.S. and Guatemala will then play at 10 p.m. EST in Guatemala City on June 23 on pay-per-view ustream.tv.
The Oct. 16 qualifier will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and TeleFutura.
Stay tuned for more on this match.