Mauro Manotas of the Houston Dynamo celebrates after scoring a goal against Sporting Kansas City in the 2018 US Open Cup Quarterfinals. Photo: Houston Dynamo
The Houston Dynamo knocked off defending Lamar Hunt US Open Cup champions Sporting Kansas City in the Quarterfinals with two goals each from Romell Quioto and Mauro Manotas in a 4-2 win before 6,431 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“A good win for us versus a good rival and tough opponent,” said Houston manager Wilmer Cabrera after the Dynamo advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 2009, are now two wins away from the club’s first ever Open Cup championship.
Road weary Sporting Kansas City was staked to a very early lead with Johnny Russell scoring in the second minute but Houston controlled most of the match, outshooting SKC 24-12 in the contest including a 11-5 shots on goal advantage.
Sporting Kansas City keeper Tim Melia made seven saves in the match but he watched helplessly as Quioto struck for a beautiful free kick goal in the 35th minute. Quioto, who hadn’t scored since May 20 in MLS action and had three goals on the season, put the Dynamo ahead for good in the 66th minute.
Houston kept the pressure on with Manotas scoring in the 69th and 88th minutes. Manotas is Houston’s all-time Open Cup leading scorer with seven goals now in eight appearances.
Sporting Kansas City, looking tired in the final 30, tacked on a goal in stoppage time with substitute Yohan Croizet scoring in stoppage time.
Houston’s win prevents Sporting Kansas City from winning a record-tying fifth Open Cup. Sporting has claimed the Open Cup title in three of the previous six seasons.
Wednesday’s match, played in muggy conditions with a kick off “feels like temperature” in the triple digits, was the fourth straight season the two Major League Soccer Western Conference rivals had met in the competition with the clubs splitting those meetings now 2-2.
Both teams opted to play strong line-ups despite having just played in MLS action over the weekend.
Romell Quioto of the Houston Dynamo celebrates after scoring a goal against Sporting KC in the 2018 US Open Cup Quarterfinals. Photo: Houston Dynamo
Sporting Kansas City shocked the Dynamo with a goal in the second minute as Gerso Fernandes tackled the ball away deep on SKC’s end after a Houston corner kick and found Russell running free up the right side.
Russell had the edge on the Dynamo back line and raced into the Houston 18 all alone, forcing Dynamo keeper Chris Seitz to come off the goal line. Seitz tried to cut down the angle, but Russell calmly slotted the ball just to the left of Seitz for the quick lead. It would be Sporting Kansas City’s only shot on goal in the first half.
Houston was knocking on the door to tie most of the first half with Oscar Boniek Garcia hitting the crossbar on a header in the 10th minute. Five minutes later, Manotas fired for the far post but Melia made a nice save, pushing the shot wide.
By the 30th minute hydration break the Dynamo already had 10 shots — two more than they had in all 90 minutes of a listless 0-0 tie Saturday in Colorado.
Houston finally got the equalizer in the 35th minute after a Sporting Kansas City foul just outside of the 18, at the top of the penalty arc. Quioto stepped up and fired a right-footed rocket over a six-man wall. Melia hardly made a move as the ball rifled the netting in the upper lefthand corner.
Quioto’s teammate, defender Adolfo Machado, saw some divine inspiration in his free kick goal, teasing Quioto after the game: “In the name of Jesus, galazo! Golazo, I say!”
By the 60-minute mark it was clear that Sporting Kansas was running out of gas as there was a lot of stabbing at the ball and Houston kept constant pressure on Melia.
“You’re not going to win a game when have certain players that just give up or don’t put the effort in like they have to. That’s the result you get,” Kansas City manager Peter Vermes told the Kansas City Star after the loss.
Manotas looked like he would get the go-ahead goal in the 62nd minute when he picked the pocket off a Sporting Kansas City defender and came in 1-on-1 against Melia. Manotas’ shot just nicked off of Melia and went wide right for a corner kick.
On that ensuing corner kick, Houston had two great shots but SKC defender Seth Sinovic blocked a Manotas shot off the line and Quioto’s rebound attempt was stopped by a Melia reflex save.
Houston finally broke through for the lead in the 66th minute as Quioto chested down a long pass from Darwin Ceren and then beat Melia with a quick one-time shot.
Three minutes later it appeared that Melia had kept the Houston advantage when he made yet another save on a Manotas right-footed shot but Manotas tracked down his own rebound towards the edge of the penalty area and, with his back to the goal, swiveled around and hit the ball with his left foot through traffic. The shot, which was heading for the far post, took a slight deflection off a SKC defender but had enough steam to make it over the goal line.
Houston had some nifty defensive work of their own in the 77th minute when centerback Alejandro Fuenmayor saved the ball off the goal line and moments later he had a sliding block off another shot.
The Dynamo could have finished with half a dozen goals as Melia was pressed to make back-to-back nearly point-blank saves in the 83rd minute.
Manotas got his second goal on a header in the 88th minute off a cross from Memo Rodriguez.
Sporting KC added the final tally in stoppage as Russell fed Croizet on the right side, who then beat Seitz with just about 60 seconds left in the contest.
The loss continues a tough patch for Sporting Kansas City which has now gone 0-4-1 in all competitions in July with their last win coming on June 23 at home, 3-2 over the Houston Dynamo.