Photo: Kellie Sullivan | KellieSullivanPhotography.com
The Kansas City Athletics scored three unanswered goals to overcome an early deficit to defeat the PDL’s Real Colorado Foxes, 3-1, at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. In doing so, the Athletics became the first USASA club in the Modern Pro Era (1995-present) from the state of Kansas to win a US Open Cup game.
You couldn’t have picked a better day in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains for a US Open Cup match with a game-time temperature of 85 degrees under cloudless skies; and you couldn’t have finished with a more classic storyline as the undermanned amateurs from Missouri rallied for the win. Kansas City had only 12 eligible players and was six hundred miles from – not to mention 4,000 feet above – home.
At the 15-minute mark, it didn’t look good for the visitors. Outplayed in every way in the early going, Colorado was one goal up on a pretty finish from defender Michael Lind of a perfect cross from the left corner.
The Foxes had virtually all of the possession, and had peppered KC keeper Steven Grow with seven shots as the first half closed with the Foxes in control of the ball and seemingly the game. It appeared that the home team had a clear edge in skill, speed and sheer numbers. It seemed a matter of time until they overwhelmed their opponents. But unfulfilled chances left them with only a one-goal advantage, which they would rue.
If Kansas City was employing the rope-a-dope, they ran it to perfection. Less than a half-hour into the second half, the game was over.
It started innocuously enough. In their first sustained foray into the Foxes’ penalty area, goalkeeper Roberto Perez was unable to handle a shot and had to lunge at a KC player-coach Kyle Perkins for the rebound, and got it wrong. Kansas City’s Kevin Shrout converted the penalty without incident in the 52nd.
Ten minutes later, an excellent shot from 12 yards cannoned off the crossbar and into the net. Marty Johnson took the ball from the right flank and beat the Foxes back line before dropping the ball off to Perkins for the go-ahead goal.
Their sustained attack produced another in a line of dangerous crosses in the 67th minute that deflected in for their final score. A give-and-go between Peter Karioris and Miguel Rodrigues created an opportunity for Rodrigues to fire a well-paced ball into the area that would be inadvertently redirected into the goal in the 68th minute.
At that point, it became all about running out the clock as the visitors bunkered down and prevented Real Colorado from finding any good opportunities, sending the Athletics on an even longer trip to Orland, Fla. for the Second Round.