Sporting KC plays host to Portland Timbers Tuesday

Sporting Kansas City plays host to the Portland Timbers in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.

The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Kansas City, Kan., and can be seen live on SportingKC.com or heard locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

Should Sporting Kansas City defeat the Timbers on Tuesday, the club will advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament and travel to the winner of the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC on July 8 or 9.

Sporting KC advanced to the fifth round of this year’s tournament after defeating North American Soccer League opponent Minnesota United FC 2-0 at Sporting Park.

Minnesota’s Cristiano Dias was shown a red card just after the halftime intermission. 21-year-old striker Soony Saad opened the scoring for Sporting Kansas City in the 76th minute and 11 minutes later, Alex Martinez doubled the lead with his first professional goal.

Portland defeated USL Premier Development League side Orlando City U23’s in their fourth round match by a scoreline of 3-0. Timbers forward Gaston Fernandez scored two first half goals and rookie Taylor Peay added an insurance goal in the second half in his first professional appearance.

Portland’s roster features two players who combined for more than 350 appearances in Kansas City in Jack Jewsbury and Michael Harrington. The two players each won an Open Cup while playing for Kansas City with Jewsbury winning in 2004 and Harrington in 2012.

Sporting Kansas City is a two-time U.S. Open Cup champion, having defeated the Chicago Fire at Arrowhead Stadium in 2004 and Seattle Sounders FC in a penalty kick shootout in 2012. The Timbers are seeking the club’s first Open Cup title. In 2013, Portland advanced to the semifinals of the tournament falling 2-1 to eventual runners-up Real Salt Lake.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Club Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The oldest annual team tournament in American sports history, the U.S. Open Cup has origins in 1914 and is named after Lamar Hunt, the original founder of Sporting Kansas City.

This year’s competition began on May 7 with the largest field in the modern era (1995-present) featuring 80 teams. The single-elimination tournament will continue through the championship match on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 with the winner receiving $250,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League and their name on the Dewar Challenge Trophy.

Sporting Kansas City will face a short turnaround this week as following Tuesday’s match, the club will travel to Portland to play the Timbers in the first league match following Major League Soccer’s two-week World Cup break. That match will kick off Friday night at 10 p.m. and can be seen on KMCI’s 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV.

Tickets for Tuesday’s match, starting at $14, are available online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.
– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City advances to fifth round of Open Cup with 2-0 victory

Sporting Kansas City defeated Minnesota United FC 2-0 Wednesday night in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Soony Saad and Alex Martinez tallied second-half goals in front of 15,307 fans at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Sporting KC will now play host to the Portland Timbers at Sporting Park on Tuesday, June 24, in the fifth round of the competition. Tickets for that match will go on sale to the public Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

Saad was a threat for Sporting KC all night and nearly put the home side ahead in the seventh minute. The 21-year-old striker picked up a pass from Seth Sinovic inside the Minnesota penalty box, shook off a defender and curled a ball to the far post. Minnesota goalkeeper Mitchell Hildebrandt took a step back, but could only watch as Saad’s attempt ricocheted off the crossbar.

Minnesota had a flurry of chances midway through the first half, but goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum – who made his first start for Sporting Kansas City – was up to the task. Gruenebaum caught Christian Ramirez’s floating shot in the 22nd minute and did well to stop Kevin Venegas’ near-post attempt in the 31st minute.

The visitors had one more opportunity before halftime to break through, but Daniel Mendes’ driven attempt to the far post skipped past a sliding Ramirez.

Victor Munoz made his Sporting KC debut Wednesday night, but the affair was short-lived. The Spanish midfielder suffered an apparent leg injury in the 36th minute.

The game turned in Sporting KC’s favor in the 50th minute when referee Tyler Ploeger issued Cristiano Dias a straight red card for a hard challenge on forward Dom Dwyer.

Following the ejection, Hildebrandt did his best to prevent Sporting KC from capitalizing on the man advantage. The 25-year-old goalkeeper stopped point-blank attempts from Dwyer in the 64th minute and Sinovic a minute later.

Sporting KC would not be denied, however, and broke through in the 76th minute. Lawrence Olum, who wore the captain’s armband with Matt Besler on national team duty, picked up a poor Minnesota clearance and quickly squared the ball to Saad. The young striker took a touch to tee up a 25-yard strike that skipped between Hildebrandt and the near post. The goal was Saad’s third in four career Open Cup matches.

Sporting KC doubled its lead in the 87th minute when Martinez tallied his first professional goal. The play developed in the midfield when Toni Dovale played a through ball down the wing to Sal Zizzo. The speedy winger’s initial cross was deflected, but Zizzo stayed with the play and found an open Martinez at the penalty spot. The rookie midfielder one-timed the ball into the open net to secure the victory.

– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC begins Lamar Hunt Open Cup campaign Wednesday at Sporting Park

Sporting Kansas City begins the club’s 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The fourth round match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on SportingKC.com. The match will also be broadcast on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Tickets for the midweek matchup may be available on www.Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park box offices on game day.

Because of the heat advisory expected today, all ticket holders will be permitted to bring one bottle of water into Sporting Park. The bottle must be sealed and no larger than 20 ounces, and the bottle’s cap will be removed at the gate upon entrance.

Sporting Kansas City has won the Open Cup title on two previous occasions. In 2004, Kansas City defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 at Arrowhead Stadium and in 2012 Sporting KC defeated the Seattle Sounders in a penalty kick shootout at Sporting Park.

In 2004, Igor Simutenkov’s second-half stoppage-time goal gave Kansas City its first Open Cup title. Eight years later, Sporting Kansas City hoisted the trophy for a second time after a series of late game heroics. Sporting KC opened the scoring in the 86th minute of regulation, but Seattle responded two minutes later with an equalizer forcing the match into extra time. After two scoreless 15-minute extra-time periods Sporting KC defeated Seattle 3-2 on penalty kicks with Paulo Nagamura’s conversion standing as the game-winner.

In 2013, Sporting KC lost to USL PRO affiliate Orlando City 1-0 in the fourth round of the tournament with Long Tan scoring the game’s lone goal in the second minute.

Minnesota United enters the fourth round of the tournament after securing a 1-0 result at Des Moines Menace on May 28. With the third round victory, Minnesota is one of six NASL teams remaining in this year’s edition of the Open Cup. The Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina Railhawks and the New York Cosmos have each defeated an MLS opponent in Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and the New York Red Bulls, respectively, to secure a spot in the Round of 16.

Minnesota United won the 2014 North American Soccer League spring season with a 6-1-2 record, edging out the New York Cosmos by a single point. Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos joined MLS for the League’s inaugural season in 1996 and was teammates with Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes at the New York-New Jersey MetroStars. 23-year-old forward Christian Ramirez led the NASL in goals (5) and assists (4) this spring and scored the game-winner in Minnesota’s third round victory over the Menace.

Minnesota’s roster also boasts several veteran players that have played professionally in Europe including: Richard Garcia (England), Juliano Vicentini (Italy) and Minnesota United’s all-time leading goal scorer Simone Bracalello (Italy).

Should Sporting KC earn a victory against Minnesota on Wednesday, the club will advance to the Round of 16 to host the winner of the Portland Timbers and the Orlando City U-23s. That match will be at Sporting Park on Tuesday, June 24, and tickets will go on sale to the public on Thursday, June 19, at 10 a.m.

The 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the 101st edition of the tournament, began on May 7 featuring 68 teams. The oldest annual tournament in American sports history, the U.S. Open Cup has origins in 1914 and is named after Lamar Hunt, the original founder of Sporting Kansas City.

– Story from Sporting KC