On a night where multiple MLS teams fell to lower division opponents, the defending US Open Cup Champion took care of business. Sporting Kansas City made a 12th minute goal by Kei Kamara stand up before adding an insurance strike from Claudio Bieler to defeat the Des Moines Menace 2-0 in front of 13,000 fans at Sporting Park.
The home side started well with Kamara nearly opening the scoring after just three minutes. Chance Myers, starting on the wing instead of his normal right back position, whipped in a dangerous cross, finding Kamara at the back post, but the forward’s shot only found the side netting.
Five minutes later it was Myers missing a golden opportunity. A deflection found the winger at the back post with Des Moines goalkeeper Scott Angevine out of position. Yet Myers could only throw up his hands in disbelief as Albet Edward managed to block his attempt on goal.
Sporting continued to push and was rewarded in the 12th minute. In a carbon copy of the third minute chance, Myers sent a cross to the back post that Kamara was able to acrobatically poke home.
From there, Des Moines settled in, but never managed to seriously threaten Kansas City’s lead.
“We were obviously hoping to survive the first 15 minutes better than we ended up,” said Des Moines coach Mike Jeffries. “What I will say is I thought the guys reacted incredibly well after giving up the first goal. We always felt that as the half wore on we’d be able to settle into the game a little bit better.”
The best chance for the Menace came when Abel Sebele was played into the box in the 28th minute, but his first touch let him down and he sent a shot wide from a tough angle.
Sporting continued to dominate the game, but wasted numerous chances to extend its lead, finishing with 21 shots, eight of which were on target.
“You’re always concerned when you’re in a situation where you have as many chances as we did,” said Sporting head coach Peter Vermes. “I just felt more that we needed to finish another one as opposed to maybe the problem of taking one in. You still have to put those goals away to put a team away.”
Kansas City got the goal to put Des Moines away from Designated Player Bieler shortly after subbing him on for Kamara.
“You could see the class in his play when he went out there, how simple he made the game,” said Vermes.
With the win, Sporting advances to the US Open Cup fourth round where it will host USL affiliate Orlando City SC on June 12.
There will be plenty of storylines for that contest as four KC players are currently on loan with the third division club, although Vermes said he wasn’t sure whether the quartet would be eligible to play against their parent club.
“I think it’s going to be more from the league,” he said of the decision. “That’s something the league has to be involved with to be sure.”
As a consolation prize, the Des Moines Menace will be awarded the $15,000 Division 4 prize money. All four PDL teams lost in the Third Round, but they won the prize based on being the only one to defeat a Division 2 team (Minnesota United FC) in regulation.
KC: Kei Kamara (Chance Myers) 12’
KC: Claudio Bieler (Jacob Peterson) 73’
KC: Michael Thomas (caution) 33’
DM: Michael Thaden (caution) 40’
DM: Chris Harmon (caution) 54’