Sporting Kansas City withstood an early error by goalkeeper John Pulskamp and won their first competitive game of 2023, defeating Tulsa Athletic 3-0 in front of 9,912 at Children’s Mercy Park.
Sporting KC equaled their MLS goal total for the season in the win, with Daniel Salloi, Alan Pulido, and Marinos Tzionis putting their names on the score sheet. Pulido’s goal was his first since 2021, having missed all of last season due to a knee injury.
In the 17th minute, Tulsa forward Jordan Watson latched onto a long ball over the top that put him in alone on Pulskamp, who brought Watson down in the penalty area. Referee Jose Lara immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Defender Chris Taylor stepped up to take the penalty, but his attempt was blocked by a good save from Pulskamp to keep the game scoreless.
Sporting KC drew first blood in the 33rd minute. Salloi dispossessed midfielder Roman Torres and unleashed a shot from just outside the 18. Tulsa goalkeeper Bryson Reed got a hand to the shot, but the ball went off the post and into the back of the net.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 54th minute through Pulido, making his U.S. Open Cup debut. Salloi received a pass on the left side of the penalty area from Sporting KC II loanee Ethan Bryant. Salloi then drove toward the end line and crossed it toward the back post. Pulido was waiting and redirected the ball past Reed for his first goal since 2021, having missed the entire 2022 season due to a knee injury.
When asked about Pulido’s goal after the match, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said, ?I’ll give a lot of credit to him because after the game on Saturday, on the plane he came to me right away and he said, ?isten, I really want to play on Tuesday. I have got to keep increasing not just my minutes, but I?e got to keep getting around the ball and be in the game and be around 11v11.?At the time, I was not even considering him for the game.?
Tzionis finished the scoring in the 68th minute. The Cypriot international ran onto the penetrating pass of midfielder Erik Thommy and put a low shot just past the near post from a sharp angle for his third career goal for the club.
Asked whether or not the confidence gained from the win will carry over to league play, Vermes said, ?ell, I hope it does. We had to change the team up again. That? normal; other teams are doing the same thing. You lose some continuity. We haven’t had a lot of that as well. But it was good for those guys, like I said, to hit the back of the net. I think that part was important.?
Sporting KC resumes league play on Saturday with a home match against CF Montreal. They will learn their next US Open Cup opponent on Thursday during the 4th round draw.