In a frantic finish at the end of regulation and a dramatic, and controversial, penalty kick shootout, Sporting Kansas City won their second US Open Cup title and deny the Seattle Sounders an unprecedented fourth straight championship. Eddie Johnson sent his penalty kick attempt high over the bar to give Kansas City a 3-2 shootout victory after the match finished tied at 1-1 after 120 minutes.
The match was played in front of a sold-out LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The announced attendance was 18,863, which ranks fourth-best in the Modern Era (1995-present).
A rather defensive match came to life late when Kei Kamara put the home team ahead in the 83rd minute when he converted a penalty kick after a cross inadvertently struck the arm of Seattle defender Zach Scott, making his first appearance in the tournament final despite 11 years and 25 tournament previous games played with the USL/MLS Sounders, inside the box. The goal was Kamara’s second Open Cup tally of his career, previously scoring in a 3-0 win against the Chicago Fire PDL last year.
With the crowd still buzzing, however, Scott redeemed himself by heading home from 13 yards a free kick by Mauro Rosales two minutes later to equalize. It was the third career tournament goal for the Hawaiian, who scored twice as a USL Sounder in 2007 and 2008.
The 2012 Final was the first to go into extra time since 2004, when Kansas City (then known as the Wizards) lifted the trophy on a golden goal by Igor Simutenkov in the 95th minute against the Chicago Fire at Arrowhead Stadium.
The match was the first US Open Cup Final to be decided by penalty kicks since 1997 when the Dallas Burn defeated DC United. Despite losing the shootout, the match is officially a draw, therefore the Sounders keep their Modern Era record unbeaten streak intact at 22 games.
The penalty kicks proved to be the most dramatic, back-and-forth portion of the contest that was particularly slow in the second half before the pair of goals in the final six minutes. Kamara and Brad Evans converted the opening attempts before things got interesting. Roger Espinoza, freshly back with KC after a standout performance for Honduras at the Olympics, saw his effort in the central portion of the goal stopped by Michael Gspurning, allowing Marc Burch to give the Sounders the advantage. The tables turned in the third round, however, with Matt Besler scored for Sporting and Osvaldo Alonso, a regular penalty taker for Seattle, sent his well over the goal to tie things up at 2-2.
The fourth round was one both sides wanted to forget. Graham Zusi attempted attempted to chip the keeper, much like Andrea Pirlo in the Euro championships, but he sent his shot over the crossbar. After that, Jimmy Nielsen bailed out Zusi by stopping Seattle newcomer Christian Tiffert with a diving save to his right.
Then came the most dramatic moment with Gspurning stopping Paulo Nagamura initially only to have the attempt retaken as the keeper was a foot off his line before the kick was taken. Nagamura, who lost to Chicago in the 2006 Final as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy, buried his second effort with Eddie Johnson’s skied effort coming shortly after, sending the hosts and their fans into a frenzy. Nagamura was the only player on the squad who had previously played in a US Open Cup Final.
The result, in some fashion, was redemption for the Sporting, who were eliminated at home by the third division Richmond Kickers, 2-0, in a quarterfinal contest that was interrupted by a lengthy delay for a thunderstorm. Wednesday night’s contest was delayed prior to kickoff for 45 minutes to due a storm that included hail during what should have been pregame warm-ups.
2012 US Open Cup Final Highlights
Patrick Ianni’s red card was the 7th handed out in the Modern Era and the first since Josh Wicks of DC United in 2009 (vs. SEA)
1995 – Kevin Scott (Richmond Kickers vs. El Paso Patriots)
1995 – Hector Cervantes (El Paso Patriots vs. Richmond Kickers)
2001 – Jay Heaps (New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy)
2002 – Chad McCarty (Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy)
2006 – Diego Gutierrez (Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy)
2009 – Josh Wicks (DC United vs. Seattle Sounders)
2012 – Patrick Ianni (Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC)
2012 – Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) 1:1 (2:3 PKs) Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
August 8, 2012 | LiveStrong Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kansas
SKC: Kei Kamara (PK) – 84th minute
SEA: Zach Scott (Mauro Rosales) – 86th minute
Penalty Kick Shootout
SKC: Kei Kamara (GOAL – upper left)
SEA: Brad Evans (GOAL – bottom left)… 1-1
SKC: Roger Espinoza (SAVED – center)
SEA: Marc Burch (GOAL – upper center)… 2-1
SKC: Matt Besler (GOAL – upper right)
SEA: Osvaldo Alonso (MISS – high)… 2-2
SKC: Graham Zusi (MISS – high)
SEA: Christian Tiffert (SAVED – bottom right)… 2-2
SKC: Paulo Nagamura (GOAL – bottom left)
SEA: Eddie Johnson (MISS – high)… 2-3
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen (GK); Chance Myers, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza (Michael Harrington 100), Graham Zusi; Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 89), Kei Kamara.
Not used: Eric Kronberg, Neven Markovic, Jacob Peterson, Michael Thomas, Soony Saad
Seattle Sounders: Michael Gspurning (GK); Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose (Brad Evans 69), Alex Caskey (Christian Tiffert 69), Fredy Montero (Marc Burch 106), Eddie Johnson.
Not used: Jeff Parke, Steve Zakuani, Sammy Ochoa.
Osvaldo Alonso (yellow, Dissent) – 4th minute
Mauro Rosales (yellow, Tactical Foul) – 57th minute
Patrick Ianni (yellow, Tactical Foul) – 74th minute
Zach Scott (yellow, Tactical Foul) – 93rd minuet
Patrick Ianni (2nd yellow, Red, Tactical Foul)
Shots – SEA 8:18 SKC
On Goal – SEA 2:6 SKC
Saves – SEA 5:1 SKC
Fouls – SEA 19:16 SKC
Corners – SEA 3:4 SKC
Offsides – SEA 2:0 SKC
Attendance: 18,863 | Referee – Ricardo Salazar | Linesmen – Corey Rockwell, Peter Manikowski | 4th Official – Michael Kennedy
Weather: Rain, 87 degrees (45 minute delay due to lightning)