A showdown in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals awaits Tuesday as the winners of the previous two tournaments lock horns at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
The 2015 champion Sporting Kansas City will play host to reigning titleholder FC Dallas in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff that will stream live on SportingKC.com with local radio broadcasts on ESPN 99.3 FM (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).
Tickets for Tuesday’s quarterfinal showdown are available at SeatGeek.com as the top two teams in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference look to continue their run in the 104th edition of the United States’ oldest national soccer competition.
The reward for a 2017 Open Cup championship would be substantial, as this year’s winner will receive $250,000 in prize money and a berth in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.
Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas enter Tuesday on lengthy unbeaten runs as two of the premier sides in MLS.
Led by manager Peter Vermes, Sporting KC is 4-0-4 in its last eight games across all competitions since the start of June, while head coach Oscar Pareja has guided FC Dallas to a 4-0-2 mark over the club’s last six matches since June 14.
These streaks include a pair of Open Cup victories: Sporting KC ousted Minnesota United FC (4-0) and the Houston Dynamo (2-0) in earlier rounds just as FC Dallas defeated Tulsa Roughnecks FC (2-1) and the Colorado Rapids (3-1).
Tuesday’s opponents have met twice all-time in the U.S. Open Cup. The brief history paints a positive picture for Sporting Kansas City, which earned a 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Dallas in 2004 and a resounding 6-2 Round of 16 win in 2015 en route to winning the trophy on both occasions.
Sporting KC is a three-time Open Cup winner, having hoisted the title in 2004, 2012 and 2015, while FC Dallas was crowned champion in 1997 and 2016.
Despite going eight games without a loss, Sporting Kansas City will be hungry to return to winning ways Tuesday after drawing each of their last two MLS matches in the friendly confines of Children’s Mercy Park.
Vermes’ men settled for consecutive 1-1 draws against the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union, allowing FC Dallas to close the gap at the top of the Western Conference standings to a single point. Nevertheless, Sporting KC boasts a 7-0-4 home record with six shutouts this season in all competitions.
FC Dallas capitalized on Sporting KC’s dropped points last week with two convincing victories, defeating Toronto FC 3-1 and D.C. United 4-2.
First-year forward Roland Lamah bagged a brace in both wins, taking his goal total to eight in MLS. Prolific striker Maxi Urruti also continued his sensational run of form, extending his scoring streak to four straight league matches while moving to fourth on the MLS charts with 11 goals in 2017.
Both teams wield stout defenses that rank among the best in MLS.
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia has 11 shutouts in 22 appearances this season across all competitions, including two in the Open Cup. Domineering defender Ike Opara anchors the back line and also scored four goals during the month of June, notably netting in both Open Cup victories.
FC Dallas’s 1.00 goals against average ranks second only to Sporting KC’s 0.70. Center back Walker Zimmerman returned from injury last week and will patrol a defense that has shut out Sporting KC in both regular season meetings this season – a scoreless stalemate on March 11 at Children’s Mercy Park and a 1-0 home win on April 22 at Toyota Stadium.
The concurrence of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup means both clubs will be without key contributors on Tuesday.
Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler, Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi are with the U.S. Men’s National Team, as are FC Dallas duo Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges. The visitors will miss Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa, who headed home the game-winner in the most recent regular season matchup between the teams.
On a historical note, the home side in this particular fixture is 8-0-4 in the last 12 meetings across all competitions. Sporting KC is 4-0-1 in its last five home games against FC Dallas across all competitions, scoring 15 goals and conceding just three.
FC Dallas won on its first visit to Children’s Mercy Park in 2011, but has gone 0-5-2 here since then.
– Story from Sporting KC