Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sporting to Open US Open Cup Defense on the Road

If Sporting Kansas City is going to defend their 2015 US Open Cup, they'll have to start their run in unfamiliar territory. For just the third time since 2009, Sporting Kansas City will have to play a US Open Cup game on the road when they'll travel to either Minnesota or St. Louis for their fourth round US Open Cup match on June 15th. The game will be the first time that KC has played a US Open Cup proper game on the road against someone other than the Philadelphia Union. Since a 2009 trip to Seattle, Sporting KC has played just two of 16 US Open Cup proper games on the road, both against the Union (2012 semifinal and 2015 final). They've also played one US Open Cup qualifier against the Houston Dynamo at Texas A&M back in 2011.

The pair of opponents will be familiar to Kansas City though. Sporting has played both Minnesota United and St. Louis FC in the fourth round of each of the last two US Open Cup games, both wins for Sporting. Back in 2014 Sporting KC took advantage of a Cristiano Dias red card to defeat United 2-0 while last year after St. Louis topped Minnesota in the third round KC got a header goal from Graham Zusi to see them past a stingy St. Louis FC side 1-0 on their way to winning the US Open Cup.

No matter the match up KC get, it won't be easy. Minnesota is building their NASL roster ahead of their move up to MLS next season and will be looking to impress in that game. Meanwhile St. Louis will really utilize the cross state rivalry to really build up the game (and that's something plenty of Kansas City fans are looking forward to). And while it is great to have drivable road trips to do, part of the magic of the US Open Cup and cup competitions in general is playing teams you don't normally play. When you're only ever grouped with one of three teams each and every year it does lose just a bit of its magic, at least for me. The fact that it is on the road this time does add some intrigue to it though.

No comments: