Two weeks ago, a two-goal Sporting Kansas City lead in Colorado was not enough as the Rapids scored two for the draw in league play. On Tuesday evening, Sporting kept Colorado off the board and took the Fourth Round US Open Cup victory with an own goal and another Teal Bunbury strike.
The hosts got on the board first in the 28th minute on a great play that turned unfortunate for Colorado. A Graham Zusi free kick to Aurelien Collin in the box was nearly knocked away by goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but the ball ricocheted off the post and then off Pickens, redirecting into the goal. The own goal was the first credited to a goalkeeper in the Open Cup’s Modern Professional Era (1995-present).
Colorado fought back with a close effort from Tony Cascio in the 36th and a Jaime Castrillon strike off the crossbar in the 52nd.
“I thought not only did we do a good job of getting the first goal but we defended extremely well and we really didn’t give them anything,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes after the game. “I don’t know how many shots they had but I’m sure that it was minimal; it really wasn’t anything dangerous except for the one that hit the crossbar. I loved the fact that up until the last minute of the game we were pressing them and not letting them control the game, so I was happy with that aspect of it.”
Soony Saad, who scored twice a week ago in the club’s 3-2 victory against Orlando City of USL Pro, started the play on the goal that gave Kansas City firm control in the 79th minute. Colorado defender Kosuke Kimura blocked his cross up, but it found the head of CJ Sapong, who headed it onto to Bunbury, who scored the two goals against Colorado last month. Bunbury fired a volley past Pickens from the middle of the box.
“He’s a goal scorer but the work that he puts in at the end to help us get the opportunities that we get up the field is invaluable and I feel that is one of the many things that he brings to this team outside of scoring goals. The work ethic is tremendous,” said Vermes of Bunbury.
The result is Colorado’s first loss to Kansas City in the tournament after two previous 3-2 victories. They won in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in the 1996 Quarterfinals and in a 2003 Fourth Round meeting in Colorado.
With the win, Kansas City wins back-to-back Open Cup games for the first time since they won the title in 2004. They advance to the Quarterfinals for the eighth time overall, the sixth in the past nine years dating back to the championship run of 2004. They will host the Dayton Dutch Lions of USL Pro, who were victorious, 2-1 in overtime, against the PDL’s Michigan Bucks. Last year Sporting KC were knocked out in the Quarterfinal stage at home by the Richmond Kickers of USL Pro, 2-0.
“For those lower tiered teams, all these games wind up being David and Goliath. If you don’t take those games seriously it’s easy for a team to jump on you and a lot of teams have done that so far with the lower division teams and that’s why they win,” said Vermes. “Credit to our guys. Having the ability to play at home helps as well but I also feel like our guys are pretty seasoned now. We know that this next team is going to come to play. They didn’t come this far because they’re not good. We’ll have to be up for that match.”
Sporting Kansas City 2:0 Colorado Rapids
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kansas
KC – Matt Pickens (own goal) 27
KC – Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong) 79
KC – Aurelien Collin (caution; reckless foul) 14
KC – Julio Cesar (caution; reckless foul) 33
COL – Jeff Larentowicz (caution; intentional handball) 58
COL – Hunter Freeman (caution; reckless tackle) 85
COL – Ross LaBauex (caution; reckless tackle) 88
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Seth Sinovic, Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler; Julio Cesar, Peterson Joseph (Lawrence Olum 73), Graham Zusi; C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury, Jacob Peterson (Soony Saad 73)
Subs not used: Jon Kempin, Michael Harrington, Kyle Miller, Michael Thomas, Konrad Warzycha
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens; Scott Palguta, Tyrone Marshall, Kosuke Kimura, Hunter Freeman; Martin Rivero, Jeff Larentowicz©, Jaime Castrillon (Ross LaBauex 85); Tony Cascio (Kamani Hill 46), Edu, Wells Thompson (Andre Akpan 75)
Subs not used: Steward Ceus, Eddie Ababio, Joseph Nane, Luis Zapata
KC: Shots 10, SOG 4, Saves 2, Fouls 19, Offside 3, Corners 4
COL: Shots 8, SOG 2, Saves 2, Fouls 13, Offside 5, Corners 2