Sporting KC begins quest for U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday
Sporting Kansas City will enter the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at 7:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park with a third round meeting against the reigning USL PRO champions Orlando City SC. Tickets are included for Sporting Kansas City season ticket members or are available to purchase online at TicketMaster.com and at the LSP Box Offices (10 a.m. – 4 p.m. CT on Memorial Day and after 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday).
Following a 2-1 win on Sunday over the San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City now turns the team’s attention to the 99th edition of the U.S. Open Cup. The oldest annual team tournament in American sports history, the single-elimination tournament is named after the club’s original founder Lamar Hunt.
This year’s tournament features the largest field in the competition’s modern era with all 32 professional clubs in the United States represented and 32 additional amateur teams chasing a spot in the final on August 7/8. The 16 domestic Major League Soccer teams each enter in the third round on Tuesday.
Sporting Kansas City made their seventh appearance in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup last season, led by rookie forward C.J. Sapong’s three goals in the competition. The club secured the trophy eight years ago in 2004, defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0 on a golden goal by striker Igor Simutenkov at Arrowhead Stadium.
Tuesday’s opponent, Orlando City SC, was founded in 2010 following a merger with the Austin Aztex and subsequent relocation. Orlando City SC finished in first place in the USL Pro American Division and secured the Commissioner’s Cup for the best regular season record in their inaugural 2011 season with Sporting KC midfielder Lawrence Olum among the club’s top performers. The Lions went on to be crowned USL PRO champions with a penalty kick shootout victory in the finals.
Coached by Adrian Heath, Orlando City SC features several former MLS players, including Kyle Davies, Jamie Watson and Matt Luzunaris, as well as English Premier League veteran James O’Connor. Anthony Pulis, son of Stoke City FC Manager Tony Pulis, and John Rooney, younger brother of Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, are also among the team’s active roster.
The club, in first place in the USL PRO standings this season with a 7-0-2 record, returns to the third round of the tournament after falling 3-2 to FC Dallas a year ago. The Lions advanced courtesy of a 7-0 win over the KC Athletics (USASA) last week with a pair of goals from both Rooney and UCLA product Max Griffin.
Sporting Kansas City supporters can follow the game online via @SKCGameday on Twitter.
Should Sporting KC advance to the fourth round, the club will host the winner between the Colorado Rapids (MLS) and Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) on Tuesday, June 5 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets would go on sale immediately following tomorrow’s match.