Sporting KC knocked out of U.S. Open Cup with 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers

Sporting Kansas City fell to the Portland Timbers 3-1 Tuesday evening at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Soony Saad scored the lone goal and Andy Gruenebaum made three saves in his second appearance for the club.

Sporting KC will return to action Friday night when it plays the Portland Timbers in the club’s first MLS match since June 6. The match will kick off at 10 p.m. and can be seen locally on KMCI’s 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV.

The home side nearly jumped out to an early lead and former Timbers winger Sal Zizzo was in the thick of the action. Spanish midfielder Antonio Dovale played a corner kick to the near post and Zizzo’s diving header was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Andrew Weber.

Sporting KC continued to create chances in the first half, but the Timbers got on the board first in the 30th minute. Kalif Alhassan’s cross from the endline fell into the path of Gaston Fernandez. The Argentine striker controlled the deflected ball and placed his shot into the far corner past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

Portland doubled its lead in the 57th minute when Will Johnson converted a penalty kick. Referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot after Aurelien Collin challenged Steve Zakuani inside the 18-yard box.

Fernandez scored his second goal of the match in the 68th minute, taping home a rebound attempt after Gruenebaum stopped Maximiliano Urriti’s initial strike.

Sporting KC made things interesting late as Timbers defender Danny O’Rourke was whistled for a handball inside the penalty box. Saad converted the spot kick for his third goal in as many games in all competitions and his fourth goal overall in the U.S Open Cup.

Following Friday night’s match at Portland, Sporting KC will return home to play host to the Chicago Fire on July 6. Limited tickets are available for the match, including recently released standing room only tickets, and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.
– Story from Sporting KC

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