Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sporting KC to Face St. Louis FC in the US Open Cup

Sporting Kansas City will have an I-70 Derby for the fourth round of the US Open Cup at Sporting Park. St. Louis FC topped Minnesota United 1-1 (3-1) on penalty kicks to advance to take on KC.

Minnesota started the game on the front foot, pinning St. Louis back in their own end but were unable to take advantage of the early possession. From there though St. Louis controlled things, occasionally testing Mitch Hildebrandt. They also scored in the first half, but the goal was called back for some sort of foul inside the box. The teams went into the half time break level at 0-0.

The second half saw St. Louis continue to dominate play forcing Hildebrandt to make some good saves to keep the score 0-0. St. Louis had some good opportunities, including a cross that was missed at the near post, not collected by Hildebrandt and pinballed in the box before finally being cleared away. Then in the 53rd against the run of play United countered the other way and Geison Moura fired a shot off the post, the rebound fell to JC Banks to knocked the ball into the open net to put Minnesota on top 1-0.

After the goal St. Louis picked up the pressure and for much of the next 20 minutes kept Minnesota pinned back in their own end. Still St. Louis struggled with their shooting and couldn't find the net. Then in the 71st minute, Charles Renken cut around Minnesota's Tyler Polak and into the box, Polak made a lunging tackle, but got Renken bringing him down leading to a penalty kick for St. Louis. Bryan Gaul stepped up for St. Louis and slotted the ball into the corner to make it 1-1. St. Louis controlled the rest of regulation, but were unable to find a winner.

In extra time Minnesota was able to get the ball forward more than they had in second half, but Mark Pais was rarely tested in terms of shots, but did well collecting crosses into the box. In the second period of extra time, both teams played tight with neither side creating much in the way of chances. Things looked to take a big turn in the 114th minute when Gaul was fouled by Ibson near midfield. As Gaul came down after the tackle, Ibson caught his legs in a scissor and didn't let go as Gaul tried to get up to chase the ball. Gaul kicked out out Ibson and was promptly sent off by the referee for the kick, while Ibson got away with a yellow. Even down a man St. Louis pushed for a winner but the two teams went to penalty kicks.

Minnesota shot first, but Daniel Mendes had his shot saved by Pais. Brandon Barklage slotted his shot into the corner to put St. Louis on top. In the second round, Minnesota's Ibson skied his shot over the bar while Patrick Doody slotted his shot into the same corner as Barklage. Up third for Minnesota was US national teamer, Miguel Ibarra, who blasted his shot into the net to get Minnesota on the board at 2-1. Oskar Gasecki equaled Ibarra's effort with a third shot to the same corner to make it 3-1. Needing a goal to extend the shootout though Christian Ramirez fired his shot into the bar and the celebrations were on in St. Louis.

It should make for a fun game on June 16th at Sporting Park, St. Louis fans should travel fairly well and make for a good game.

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