2012 US Open Cup Final: Sporting KC wins 2nd title in PKs, ends Seattle Sounders’ historic run

Posted by | August 9, 2012

Photo: Steve Olson | SoccerSTL.net

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.

Sporting Kansas City: 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup champions. Photo: Steve Olson | SoccerSTL.net

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.

Eddie Johnson of the Seattle Sounders reacts after missing a penalty kick that clinched the 2012 US Open Cup championship for Sporting Kansas City. Photo: Steve Olson | SoccerSTL.net

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

Scoring Summary
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)


  • Soccergirl says:

    Anyone who is a fan of the sport should be ashamed of the obvious push for KC to win. From the schedule, to the officiating, to the lack of easy access to the broadcast, this was just shameful. Referee Salazar should be under full investigation for this match. It is disgusting for an official to be so blatantly biased, but obviously there was an agenda

  • DynamoDan says:

    Soccergirl, that’s just sour grapes talking. Clearly, you’re a Sounders supporter. As a neutral to the match, I’ll tell you the fouls and, in particular, the PK that led to Kamara’s goal in regulation was warranted.

    Nagamura’s second opportunity was also unequivocally warranted. Look at the video. Gspurning came way off his line early. Frankly, that was an easy call.

  • Soccergirl says:

    What about Iannis second yellow? What about KCs keeper coming off the line for Tifferts PK? I am a sounders supporter, but more importantly, I am a supporter for the MLS being taken seriously on a higher level. This game just goes to show that the MLS is just not there yet. Obviously you are a KC fan otherwise, why respond on this thread. Nice try bud

  • KC Cowboy says:

    Nice try Soccergirl but your obvious bias is showing. Take the loss and quit with the ridiculous conspiracy theories that make you look stupid. Iannis deserved the second yellow and your goalie was off the line, both the head ref and the assistant ref saw it. Suck it up and quit bitching.

  • MLS Fan From The 308 says:

    Soccergirl, you clearly know very little about the game of soccer. In my opinion, it’s idiots like you preventing the MLS from, as you said, ‘…being taken seriously on a higher level.’ (Which, by the way, makes no sense at all. It sounds like your just repeating mundane rhetoric that escapes from Alexi Lalas’ mouth.)

    Iannis received a second caution because he got beat on the edge as KCS was entering the attacking third of the field NOT because Ricardo Salazar was biased or because of some hidden agenda. Your boy had two choices: 1.) commit the foul to slow down the attack, or 2.) allow the KCS player to go forward.

    As far as the PK is concern, I personally didn’t see anything wrong with the save your keeper made. In fact, I was a little shocked by the decision but guess what? If Ricardo Salazar says he came off the line too early, I’m willing to give him the doubt based on his track record. The guy was in charge of the MLS Cup final for god sakes. You realize referee’s don’t just get assigned to these games without some kind of merit based achievement, right?

  • joel413 says:

    As a Sounders fan, let me begin by applauding Sporting FC And their fans for a well fought final and win. The bitterness from questions on officiating are what make this tough.

    I can accept the handball call because we answered right away. Kasey Keller said McGuire the PKs that the goalie needs to make stops AND players have to make their shots. Alonso and Johnson missed.

    Congratulations Kansas City, you earned it.

  • Hallier says:

    The reason Nagamura got to retake the PK wasn’t because the Seattle goalie moved off his line too soon. It was because he was never on the line to begin with.

  • Joel413 says:

    As a Sounders fan I want to applaud the Sporting KC fans and organization for their atmosphere and tenacity in accomplishing this win.

    Heartbreak and bitterness at loosing the Open Cup final are inevitable for fans when your team strives so hard and takes it so seriously. It’s an amazing run, and something we should be proud of. (Unbeaten in regulation since 2005 and unbeaten as an MLS team 15-0-2 [1-1 PKs]).

    As often is the case when you lose, you look for reasons for the loss, and I think the sour grapes and taste come because there are questions about the officiating, but that happens all the time.

    With the handball, you have to accept the call if it was a god one or not and deal with the adversity, and the Sounders did, pulling the goal back right away.

    The cards, you deal with the adversity, did the cards change the game? Not really, the number of fouls called was even but I don’t think the cards themselves changed the outcome of the game, because both defenses were doing what they had to do.

    I was listening to the Radiocast, and in the break between OT and the PKs Kasey Keller was saying that to win a shootout two things need to happen: The goalie needs to make saves AND the players need to make their shots. The fact is that Alonso and Johnson missed their PKs which makes the call on Gspurning being off his line moot. If you don’t put the PK on target then it doesn’t have a chance of going in.

    Congratulations, Kansas City, you earned it!

  • Soccergirl says:

    You deserve a yellow card now for a 50/50 ball where no foul was committed? No wonder American soccer is where it is. Can’t wait to see this game reviewed and read some intelligent posts from people that understand the game rather than rabid fans who take pride in an obviously stacked situation. I would have been embarrassed had that happened in Sea. But hey, that’s the way it goes I guess. Should be used to the crap fest that is the MLS by now

  • Mountian man says:

    The problem with the penalty Gspurning saved was that he wasn’t on his line to begin with. If you look at his starting position in the video his feet are not on the line at all, they are three to four inches in front. Unfortunate cause it was a good save, but it was the correct call.
    Even on the retake he barely has his heels on the line.

  • T says:

    DynamoDan did you actually watch the game or are you just imagining what you wanted to see? There was absolutely no evidence of a handball, unlike the KC one earlier that didn’t even warrant a mention. The PK save was also exactly the same as the one that KC had just made, exactly the same. Both keepers came off the line at the same time; as the ball is kicked. I watched the replay a dozen times in slow-mo and you can lay the footage on top of each other and the keepers match up perfectly. Stating that the match wasn’t called entirely one sided completely flies in the face of all the evidence. Still, Sounders let the ref decide by not dominating, they should have never given him the opportunity to give the KC team the win.

  • Nathan says:

    Just watched the penalties. I have no idea about the rest of the match. And, I have no pony in this race, being a Crew fan.

    The only reason that I can see for that penalty save being called back is because the GK for SEA STARTED the play off of his line. He didn’t come out any further than the previous attempts and nor any further than KC’s GK did. The only difference was starting position. And I have a feeling, if he started on the line and everything else being the same, the save would have stood.

  • Jon Danforth says:

    Five yellows to zero, obvious bias. Nielsen was off his line just like Gspurning but only we get called. your city sucks, your women are ugly, and the classlessness in piping in we are the champions in the visitors locker room is appaling.

  • Rengar says:

    Sporting KC played terrible, Sounders played worse, and the officials were worse the both teams. I mad at I am about the officials the Sounders certainly didn’t play their A,B or even C game. I’m just as angry at at the Sounders poor play as the God awful officiating in that game. Neither team deserved to win the game but the Sounders Via their play on the field deserved to lose it. Freddy Montero needs to stop disappearing in big games.

  • Rengar says:

    Sporting KC played terrible, Sounders played worse, and the officials were worse then both teams. The Sounders certainly didn’t play their A,B or even C game. I’m just as angry at at the Sounders poor play as the God awful officiating in that game. Neither team deserved to win the game but the Sounders Via their play on the field deserved to lose it. Freddy Montero needs to stop disappearing in big games.

  • kginkc says:

    Joel413: Credit goes to your organization for raising the expectations and the interest level of this tournament before and within the Professional era of soccer in this country. Any final should be a battle between the two bests. I think that was the case in this match: worthy opponents, not unfamiliar with each other. Both clubs did what they had to do to reach the winners podium. Looking forward to next year’s tournament as well as continuing to follow the CCL. Good luck qualifying for the next round.

  • Joe says:

    If Gspurning was off the line to begin with, Salazar shouldn’t have blown the whistle to start play.

  • Ryan says:

    Coming from a neutral Joel413 is absolutely right. Blame the officiating all you want, and yes it was a very poorly handled game, he didn’t make Alonso and Johnson sky their penalty kicks. That is what cost the Sounders the match. Did KC outplay the Sounders for 120 minutes? Yes. Was it pretty? No. Did they deserve to win? Absolutely.