It has been a difficult start to the year for Sporting Kansas City playing away from home as LIVESTRONG Sporting Park was being finished. In the final 2011 MLS qualifier for the US Open Cup though, the club was finally at home, albeit at the alternate site Blue Valley District Activities Complex, and took that frustration out amidst the rain on a second string New England Revolution side in a stunning 5-0 victory that gave them the eighth and final MLS berth in the third round of the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Two Chance Myers strikes in the first 19 minutes put Sporting on the path toward a record performance as they posted the largest margin of victory all-time in the league’s 30 qualification matches over the past five years. The only four-goal margin was Real Salt Lake’s 4-0 home win against San Jose in 2008. It was also only the second time a club has scored five in a game as DC defeated visiting New York 5-3 two years ago. CJ Sapong added two of the other goals and Aurelien Collin had the fifth.
Playing away from home in MLS, Sporting is 1-6-1 with two more games away from home before the debut at the new park. They have yet to post a shutout on the season in MLS play, but have now blanked two league rivals in qualifiers having edged the Houston Dynamo on the road, 1-0, in the previous round on a Sapong goal in overtime. Eric Kronberg, who has played only one league match, was in goal for both qualifier clean sheets.
Just minutes into the contest Omar Bravo worked the ball quickly down the left flank and sent a low cross through the area that found a slashing Myers at the far post for an easy finish past Bobby Shuttleworth.
Bravo again was a factor in the 19th minute when his initial shot on goal was knocked away by Shuttleworth, allowing Myers to put away the rebound to double the advantage.
Five minutes later, Sporting grabbed suffocating command of the match when Sapong redirected a cross from former Revolution defender Seth Sinovic for his second goal of the qualifying campaign. The goal marked the first time Kansas City had scored three in a qualification match, having scored twice in only one of its four previous play-in matches.
As halftime approached Pat Phelan had the first good opportunity for New England, sending a long, hopeful effort from 35 yards that nearly found the upper right corner only to sail just wide.
Just after the hour mark Ryan Smith moved up the middle quickly for Kansas City, firing on goal and forcing Shuttleworth to make a nice save to send the ball out of play. Two minutes later Graham Zusi took a shot that was flying toward the crossbar, prompting the keeper to tip it over just to make sure.
In one of the Revolution’s other rare chances, Alan Koger gathered the ball on the right side, turned and fired from 28 years, making Kronberg stretch out for a nice save in the 68th minute.
In the 81st minute Collin made it 4-0 when he headed in a Smith cross from close range.
Seven minutes later Sapong sealed the record performance on a play symbolic of the night, stealing the ball from defender Franco Coria at the top of the box and putting it into the upper corner from 16 yards for his third of the campaign, making him the leading scorer in 2011 MLS US Open Cup qualifying.
KC: Chance Myers (Omar Bravo) – 9th min.
KC: Chance Myers – 19th min.
KC: CJ Sapong (Seth Sinovic) – 24th min.
KC: Aurelien Collin (Ryan Smith) – 81st min.
KC: CJ Sapong – 88th min.
NE – Didier Domi (caution; Tactical Foul) 20
NE – Pat Phelan (caution; Reckless Foul) 45
NE – Alan Koger (caution; Reckless Foul) 74
New England Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth (Tim Murray 72), Ryan Kinne, Franco Coria, Otto Loewy, Didier Domi, Michael Augustine (Diego Fagundez 70), Pat Phelan, Andrew Sousa, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 60), Zack Shilawski, Alan Koger
Substitutes Not Used: Darrius Barnes
Kansas City Wizards – Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic, Omar Bravo (Ryan Smith 57), Craig Rocastle (Birahim Diop 72), Chance Myers (Kei Kamara 79), Luke Sassano, Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong
Substitutes Not Used: Jimmy Nielsen, Roger Espinoza
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Referee’s Assistants: Lance Mesman, Matthew Foerster
4th Official: Landis Wiley
Weather: Cloudy and 53 degrees