Sporting Kansas City struck early and held on, tacking on a couple more as the Cinderella run for the until-recently-winless Dayton Dutch Lions ended in a 3-0 win for the hosts at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Kansas City wasted no time in taking control of the game, dominating possession early. It paid off in only the fifth minute as Seth Sinovic took a long shot from outside the box. It took a deflection off of CJ Sapong near the six and ended in the net past Dutch Lions goalkeeper Matt Williams.
Dayton wouldn’t really get a clear chance on net until the 16th minute when the Dutch Lions earned a corner kick. Gibson Bardsley’s corner would be cleared away by Graham Zusi. It wouldn’t get very far, though, and landed at the feet of Nelson Dias, who took a shot that sailed well wide of the net.
The Dutch Lions’ best chance of the match came in the 26th minute. Eli Garner sent a cross into the box, where Dias hit it one time. He forced Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen into making a fantastic save, tipping the ball over the bar. It, however, would result in a goal kick after a Dayton player was called offside.
Kansas City wouldn’t let up the pressure in the match, even taking some chances. In the 40th minute, Zusi stole the ball in the Kansas City backfield, saw the keeper off his line, and fired from 60-70 yards away. It was sent wide right of the net.
Sporting would have one last good chance before halftime. Jacob Peterson turned with the ball in midfield and played a give-and-go with Sapong, carrying the ball inside the box and rifling a shot off the near post.
Dayton came out motivated in the second half, flying out of the gate at the kickoff. Bardsley sent a long lob pass to Garner, who sent a shot over the crossbar.
Sporting Kansas City would slowly take back control of the match, starting in the 50th minute with a failed counter attack. A minute later, Soony Saad turned and fired from around 25 yards out, but hit the shot wide of the net.
They kept pushing in the 54th when Sapong came in streaking on the left side past the Dayton defense and hit a shot, forcing Matt Williams to make a solid save.
Kansas City would finally break through for a second in the 56th, and it was all Zusi. After a pass from Peterson, he found himself at the top of the box with room to shoot, and shoot he did. His shot curled in to the corner to double Sporting’s lead to 2-0.
Just three minutes later, that two goal lead would change to three. A corner kick from Saad found Sapong in the center of the box, fighting off a Dayton defender. He rose over him just enough to head it home to give Kansas City a 3-0 lead from which they would never look back.
Dayton spent the rest of the match pushing for any opportunity they could find, which became more scarce as the game went on. This stretched out their defense, which Sporting almost took advantage of on multiple occasions. Shots from both Sinovic and substitute Teal Bunbury fell wide of the net during the late stretch.
Bunbury got one last chance to add a goal of his own in the 83rd minute. He took a shot from the six yard box, which Williams slid in to make a save, denying him a place on the scoresheet.
With the win by Sporting Kansas City, they now move on to play the Philadelphia Union in the Semifinals. That game will be on Wednesday, July 11 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, at 7:30 PM.
Sporting Kansas City 3:0 Dayton Dutch Lions
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kansas
KC – C.J. Sapong (Seth Sinovic) 5
KC – Graham Zusi (Jacob Peterson) 56
KC – C.J. Sapong (Soony Saad) 59
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Michael Harrington, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler (Konrad Warzycha 68), Seth Sinovic; Peterson Joseph, Michael Thomas, Graham Zusi (Roger Espinoza 59); Jacob Peterson, C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 74), Soony Saad
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Kei Kamara, Dom Dwyer
Dayton Dutch Lions: Matt Williams; Shane Smith, Mettin Copier (Daniel Holowaty 64), Nixon Dias, Gregory Preciado; Joel DeLass, Bret Jones, Mikael McNamara (Akeem Priestley 60); Eli Garner, Gerrit Bartels, Gibson Bardsley (Kyle Knotek 56)
Subs not used: Jeff DeGroot, Eric Kissinger, Toric Robinson, Corey Whisenhunt
KC: Shots 20, SOG 6, Saves 0, Fouls 7, Offside 1, Corners 3
DAY: Shots 4, SOG 0, Saves 3, Fouls 6, Offside 3, Corners 1
Weather: Sunny and 91 degrees