For the third time in four years Sporting KC will be painting the wall at Sporting Park. This time they did it on the road. Overcoming a poor game overall by the team, KC found a way to win it on penalty kicks, 1-1 (7-6) with summer signing Jordi Quintilla scoring the deciding penalty in the eighth round to give KC the cup.
Things didn't start well for Sporting KC as just minutes into the game Tim Melia had to make a save on the line after Maurice Edu headed a Cristian Maidana corner on goal. KC though had some good chances early on, in fact Paulo Nagamura hit the post in the 12th minute after Graham Zusi brought down a Benny Feilhaber cross and touched it back to Nagamura. His effort pinged off the inside of the post and into the hands of goalkeeper Andre Blake. The Union though started to take over the game and in the 23rd minute grabbed the lead when Vincent Nogueira played a superb ball over the top for Sebastien Le Toux who got in behind Seth Sinovic. Melia was slow to come off his line and Le Toux made him pay burying a shot into the corner. The Union continued to control the half after the goal, pinning KC deep in their own end. Melia came off his line with a big save in the 37th on a similar ball to Le Toux a second time later in the half. Seconds later he was beating away a second shot from Tranquillo Barnetta. The Union went into the half up 1-0 and KC was desperately looking for answers.
In the second half KC came out and really started to play better against the Union. They pushed the game and finally started to get their front three involved in the play. In the 65th they were rewarded as Krisztian Nemeth tied it. Chance Myers got the ball down the right wing and played the ball in to Zusi. Instead of shooting Zusi pushed the ball the rest of the way across the box to Nemeth who one timed a curling effort into the net to make it 1-1. After the goal though the Union started to control the game again and forced KC onto their back foot. The KC defense though held out again with some help from Melia and the 90 minutes ended 1-1.
In extra time there weren't a lot of good chances for either side, the best coming when Edu forced Melia to make another goal line save off another corner kick. And after 120 minutes Sporting KC was headed to another PK shootout. And from there it was a PK clinic put on by both teams. The Union had inserted their USOC hero John McCarthy but really KC didn't give him much opportunity to be there hero with some fantastic PKs. The Union were just as good. Through the first five Le Toux, Feilhaber, Nogueira, and Dom Dwyer all left McCarthy and Melia with no chance. A poor penalty from Edu was saved with the third shot to give KC an edge but Nemeth equaled Edu's poor penalty and after three it was still 2-2. The good penalties continued after that though with Barnetta, Matt Besler, Conor Casey, and Nagamura all leaving the goalkeepers with no chance. Into sudden death teams went with Michael Lahoud and Graham Zusi both scoring to make it 5-5 after six. In the seven round again Raymon Gaddis and Kevin Ellis both scored well placed penalties. In the eighth round though Melia again came up with a save as Andrew Wenger didn't hit the penalty close enough to the corner. For KC, Jordi Quintilla stepped up and as he caught McCarthy leaning to his left slotted the ball calmly to the opposite side and the celebrations were on for KC.
The win is fantastic and will be the main highlight of the season for the team, but the team's play tonight was still rough and didn't instill a ton of confidence going forward for the rest of the season. But that is a discussion for another day after we've all sobered up and finished up celebrating the club's third US Open Cup and their sixth trophy in their history.
Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - A pair of penalty kick saves in the shootout and did very well to keep KC in the game throughout the night. Yes he could have done better on Le Toux's goal but he once again was there when KC really needed it.
Honorable Mention - Matt Besler
Player Ratings - Melia 8, Sinovic 4, Ellis 5, Besler 7, Myers 5, Mustivar 5, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 5, Nemeth 6, Dwyer 4, Zusi 4. Subs Quintilla 6, Abdul-Salaam 6, Peterson NR.