Chicago’s young boys came oh so far, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
In front of a crowd of 4,487 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, MLS side Sporting KC blanked Chicago Fire PDL 3-0 with goals from Teal Bunbury, Milos Stojcev and Kei Kamara to give the club its first-ever US Open Cup victory in the venue while sending them to the Quarterfinals.
The match did not start out as hoped for the Fire PDL team. A scrappy yet determined group of college kids knew from the start it was never going to be an easy task overcoming a Sporting KC side made up of a top-flight professionals, let alone their regular starting 11.
Playing in their outdated 2010 replica away kits, the visitors fell behind early. Via a foul on Kei Kamara just outside the box, Luke Sassano played the ball to an awaiting Bunbury, who managed to slot in low and inside the far post to give the home side a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
The score stood still for the remainder of the first half. The Fire PDL side were kept on their heels for the majority of the time as Sporting KC continued searching for their second.
Despite being outshot nine to one, Chicago managed to create some hope just before halftime. Following some disarray in the home side’s box, Fire PDL forward Paulo Voz knocked one in the back of the net but was deemed offside and had his goal called back. Sporting KC led 1-0 as both teams were headed into their respective locker rooms.
Graham Zusi saw the field in the second half when he replaced a struggling Sassano, who seemed to be bothered by an ankle injury. Peter Vermes must’ve been satisfied of this change as Zusi’s appearance had bolstered a clear impact on the game.
Roughly 12 minutes later Sporting KC’s offensive ammo exploded into all sorts. Midfielder Milos Stojcev orchestrated a well-worked effort on his own as he drove a screamer into the net with his left foot to make it 2-0 Sporting.
Just a minute later, Chicago’s frustration rose. Following a rather nasty foul from Jonathan Raj, Sporting earned a free kick from a comfortable distance. Zusi then sent in a perfectly driven cross into the box that saw Kamara dive to beat David Meves, giving the hosts back to back goals in a matter of seconds.
The visiting side showed minimal danger following that three-goal deficit.
It was a chance for Peter Vermes to experiment with some debutantes, allowing Kevin Ellis significant playing time when he came on in the 63rd minute for Kamara.
The score finished 3-0 in favor of the home side when referee Landis Wiley blew the final whistle. Chicago Fire PDL’s Cinderella run had unfortunately ended for them but there are inevitably a lot of talented prospects in the young Chicago side.
Sporting KC now will now move on to the quarterfinals, where they will host the Richmond Kickers on July 12 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The USL side upset the Columbus Crew 2-1 Tuesday night.
TheCup.us Match MVP: Milos Stojcev
SKC: Teal Bunbury (Luke Sassano) – 3rd min.
SKC: Milos Stojcev (unassisted) – 58th min.
SKC: Kei Kamara (Graham Zusi) – 59th min.
Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Scott Lorenz, Aurelien Collin (Matt Besler 83), Shavar Thomas, Michael Harrington; Luke Sassano (Graham Zusi 46), Birahim Diop, Milos Stojcev; Korede Aiyegbusi, Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara (Kevin Ellis 63)
Subs not used: Jon Kempin, Omar Bravo, Chance Myers
Chicago Fire PDL: David Meves; Hunter Gorskie, Kevin Cope, Jonathan Raj, Tyler Polak; Jacob Bushue (Callum Mallace 46), Ian Christianson (Josey Portillo 72), Andrew Ribeiro, Chris Estridge, Harrison Petts (Brendan King 63); Paulo Vaz
Subs not used: Jordan Godsey, Drew Russell, Goffin Boyoko, Bryan Ciesiulka
Shots: SKC 14; CHI PDL 5
Shots on Goal: SKC 5; CHI PDL 1
Saves: SKC 1; CHI PDL 2
Fouls: SKC 8; CHI PDL 11
Offside: SKC 0; CHI PDL 4
Corner Kicks: SKC 3; CHI PDL 1
CHI: Jonathan Raj (Caution; Reckless Foul) – 59th
SKC: Birahim Diop (Caution; Reckless Foul) – 87th