Sporting KC crowned champions of 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Sporting KC prevails 3-2 in penalty kicks after 1-1 draw, secures second U.S. Open Cup trophy

Confetti Celebrate US Open Cup 2012

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 18,863 (sold out)
Weather: 92 degrees and rain
Quotes

Score

 2 

 1ET

2ET

 F 

 PK 

Sporting Kansas City 

0

1

0

0

1

3

Seattle Sounders FC

0

1

0

0

1

2

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen ©; Chance Myers, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic (Michael Harrington 100); Julio Cesar, Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza; Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 89), Kei Kamara

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Neven Markovic, Jacob Peterson, Michael Thomas, Soony Saad

Seattle Sounders FC: Michael Gspurning; Leonardo Gonzalez, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni; Alex Caskey (Brad Evans 69), Andy Rose (Christian Tiffert 69), Mauro Rosales ©, Osvaldo Alonso; Fredy Montero (Marc Burch 107), Eddie Johnson

Subs not used: Andrew Weber, Jeff Parke, Steve Zakuani, Sammy Ochoa

Stats

SKC 

SEA 

Shots

17

7

Shots on Goal 

7

2

Saves

1

6

Fouls

16

19

Offside

0

2

Corner Kicks

4

3

Misconduct Summary: 
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution; dissent) 4
SEA - Mauro Rosales (caution; reckless tackle) 57
SEA - Patrick Ianni (caution; tactical foul) 73
SEA - Zach Scott (caution; reckless tackle) 92
SEA - Patrick Ianni (caution; reckless foul) 118
SEA - Patrick Ianni (ejection; second caution) 118

Scoring Summary:
KC - Kei Kamara (penalty kick) 84
SEA - Zach Scott (Mauro Rosales) 86

(August 8, 2012) - Sporting Kansas City are champions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the second time in club history, prevailing 3-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in regulation against the Seattle Sounders in the 2012 tournament final on Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

After a scoreless first half, Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara scored the game's opening goal in the 84th minute from the penalty spot after a Zach Scott handball inside the penalty area. Seattle responded two minutes later with a header from Scott off a Mauro Rosales free kick. Both 15-minute extra time periods ended scoreless, leaving kicks from the spot to decide the 99th annual edition of the U.S. Open Cup. 

With the crowd behind them, it was Sporting Kansas City with the first chance of the match in the 12th minute from a heavily-marked Kamara from 25 yards out. His angled shot was just wide of the post.

Eager on the counterattack, the Sounders had a chance of their own in the 17th minute. Fredy Montero regained possession after having his run on goal disrupted by Kamara  and bent the ball in from deep on the right wing but Jimmy Nielsen was there to make the save. 

Kamara was back at it again in the 24th minute when Paulo Nagamura snatched the ball from Seattle and slotted it to Kamara, who took a dipping shot from 35 yards out that soared over Michael Gspurning and was saved by the woodwork. 

Seattle's Andy Rose responded with a long volley of his own three minutes later that soared narrowly over the crossbar. In the 29th minute, former Sporting Kansas City striker Eddie Johnson expertly headed down a corner from Rosales on goal, but Nielsen dove and pushed Johnson's shot with an even finer save that prompted uproarious applause from the packed crowd.

Johnson was back at it again six minutes later, beating Sporting KC's backline with his speed and taking a low shot from outside the box that was just wide of the far left post. 

The home side fought back in the form of a long-distance shot from Seth Sinovic in the 38th minute that hit the side-netting and had the crowd convinced it was a goal upon first inspection.  It was Sporting Kansas City with the final chance in the first half, coming three minutes into stoppage time when Graham Zusi played a pass back to Olympic hero Roger Espinoza, who took a blasting shot at the top of the box that was feverishly deflected by Gspurning. 

Sporting Kansas City opened the second half strong, with a chance just one minute in when Kamara fought his way to the corner flag and crossed the ball to Bunbury at the near post. Bunbury, marked by two men, did his best to create enough space for a shot and forced Gspurning to make the save. 

The 61st minute saw an excellent bit of defending from Matt Besler when Johnson tore his way down the left wing and lined up a shot on goal only to see Besler make a perfectly-timed tackle to stop the dangerous opportunity before it could escalate. 

Thirteen minutes later, Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso put Sporting's defense to the test when he skirted his way past three men and looked to shoot on the open net when Lawrence Olum blocked the ball out of play with a sliding stop. 

Sporting Kansas City's golden opportunity arrived in the form of a penalty kick as a result of handball in the box from Zach Scott in the 82nd minute on a Bunbury cross. Kamara converted the penalty, putting Sporting Kansas City ahead with six minutes remaining in regulation.

It was too soon to crown the home side victors, however, as Seattle fought back in the 86th minute and capitalized on a Rosales set piece with a well-placed header from Scott to level the score in short succession.

Sporting Kansas City nearly bagged a dramatic game-winner in the first minute of stoppage time when second-half substitute C.J. Sapong chipped the ball to Kamara en route to goal, but Kamara's headed shot was just over the crossbar. 

With the two sides deadlocked at 1-1 and a trophy on the line, the match went into extra time. Sporting KC won a corner early in the first 15-minute period which Seattle headed out, but Nagamura intercepted and sent in a volley just wide of the goal.  

Despite bouts of pressure and danger from both sides, along with a late ejection to Patrick Ianni after being shown his second yellow card of the match in the 118th minute, neither team could break through. Extra time ended without a goal and the match progressed to penalties.

Sporting KC, shooting first in the best-of-five shootout, began with Kamara's second successful attempt of the night. The Sounders would match it with a make of their own through Brad Evans' shot to his left.

Gspurning gave his team the advantage with a stop on Espinoza and Seattle momentarily led following Marc Burch's blast down the middle. Besler pulled Sporting KC back level with a shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.

Alonso and Zusi both sent their shots over the crossbar in back-to-back attempts, and Nielsen made a superb save to his left to deny Christian Tiffert to send it to the fifth and final penalty kick with it all to be decided.

Nagamura's initial attempt was saved by Gspurning, but he was ruled to have come off his line early and the Brazilian calmly converted the ensuing second chance to his left to put Sporting KC ahead in dramatic fashion.

Johnson walked to the spot with LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in a frenzy, needing to score to keep Seattle alive. Back in Kansas City for the first time since he played with the then-Wizards in 2007, Johnson's shot sailed over the crossbar and brought an end to the shootout with Seattle's third straight miss from the mark.

Wednesday was the first U.S. Open Cup Final decided after regulation since Sporting Kansas City won the title 1-0 over the Chicago Fire in 2004 on a golden goal by Igor Simutenkov at Arrowhead Stadium. It was also the first U.S. Open Cup championship decided by penalty kicks since 1997 when the then-Dallas Burn prevailed over D.C. United.

Sporting Kansas City will have the team's named engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy, the oldest trophy in United States team sports, and earn a berth in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League for the opportunity to compete against the best club teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. 

Wednesday's title snapped a streak of three-straight U.S. Open Cup championships for the visiting Sounders FC and was Seattle's first falter in the competition since joining Major League Soccer in 2009.

This year, the U.S. Open Cup featured the largest field in tournament history with 64 teams -- 32 professional, 32 amateur -- competing for the crown.

FAST FACTS:

  • Sporting Kansas City won the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final for the second time in club history and are now 2-0-0 in the U.S. Open Cup Final.
  • Wednesday was the team’s first appearance in a U.S. Open Cup Final since 2004 when the team won the championship with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on an Igor Simuntekov golden goal in extra time.
  • Wednesday’s match was delayed due to weather for 37 minutes.
  • Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen started his fourth straight U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday and allowed his first goal in the competition after going 353 minutes without allowing a goal in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
  • Defender Chance Myers made his first appearance since a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 18th.
  • Myers and Matt Besler appeared in their tenth all-time U.S. Open Cup match, moving them past Jack Jewsbury into a tie for sixth place on the club’s all-time chart with Jimmy Conrad and Chris Klein.
  • Myers started his ninth U.S. Open Cup match all-time on Wednesday, moving in a tie for third place on the club’s all-time chart with Michael Harrington and Jimmy Conrad.
  • Defender Seth Sinovic has started all five games for Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
  • Sinovic led all Sporting KC players with 460 minutes played in the U.S. Open Cup this season.
  • Besler, midfielder Graham Zusi and forward C.J. Sapong have appeared in all five Sporting Kansas City games in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 18-12-4 all-time in U.S. Open Cup competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 8-8-1 (including qualifying) all-time against MLS competition in the U.S. Open Cup.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 12-5-1 (including qualifying) all-time at home in the U.S. Open Cup.
  • Sporting Kansas City has scored 67 goals all-time in the U.S. Open Cup and allowed 42.
  • Kei Kamara converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute, marking Kamara’s second goal scored in Open Cup competition for Sporting Kansas City. 
  • Wednesday marked the first final to go into extra time since 2004, when Sporting Kansas City beat the Chicago Fire 1-0.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 5-2-4 (including qualifying) when going into overtime in U.S. Open Cup competition.
  • The last time Sporting Kansas City went to penalty kicks was after a 3-3 tie on June 30, 2009 against the Minnesota Thunder in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup round of 16. Kansas City won 4-2 on penalty kicks. 
  • Aurelien Collin missed the match due to yellow card accumulation after receiving his third caution of the tournament against the Philadelphia Union in the semifinals on July 11, 2012. 

 

Quotes

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the significance of the winning the tournament…

I'm extremely excited for the ownership group, for the club and the staff, the players and the fans. And more importantly, Kansas City. We really set out on a mission to make soccer a major sport in this community and this city. I think that when you look at the event tonight, it just demonstrates the commitment that this organization and this ownership has and that our fans do, as well. It's an incredible reward for the great job that everyone did.

On the importance of the home crowd…

It was fantastic. Staying through the bad weather early on and continuing to keep the noise up and supporting us throughout the whole entire game. It was fantastic. Just putting a lot of pressure on Seattle, especially on the penalty kicks, a big credit to them.

On the penalty shootout…

We knew going in who our guys were going to be. But we had to make a change because Teal (Bunbury) was one of them. He wasn't out there because we had made a sub. All-in-all, I thought the guys did a good job. They stayed focused. They got the job done at the end of the day. They committed to what we need to do.

On the importance of the berth in the CONCACAF Champions League…

It's what we set out do as a club. First of all, to be in competitions like that. This made is a straight berth into it for us. Bringing that kind of competition to this facility and to this club is the next step in the direction that we want to go in.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen

On Sporting KC’s penalty shootout victory over Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup Final…

I’m so happy right now, just extremely happy. It’s well deserved for this whole organization and this whole city. There are a lot of hard-working people in this organization, and they’re doing an excellent job to promote the soccer team. This is not only Sporting Kansas City’s victory and night, it’s the whole city’s night. It’s unbelievable how this team has grown in the last year-and-a-half. It’s unreal. I’m happy for so many people on and around this team.

On his strategy in defending the Seattle penalty kicks…

I had a plan A and a plan B for the shootout. I didn’t’ really feel like plan A was working, so I changed a little bit. I tried to mess around with them a little bit and get into their head.

Sporting KC midfielder Paulo Nagamura

On preparing for the penalty kick shootout…

We trained for penalty kicks during the whole week and Peter (Vermes) made his selection right before the shootout. We are just glad to bring this Cup home to our fans. They have done so much for us, so it is good to give them something in return. We were confident we could do this tonight. We are a good team. Seattle is a good team, too, but we thought we could do this. It was a very hard game and it has ended very well for us.

On Sporting KC’s penalty shootout victory over Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup final…

This win ranks pretty high in my career. I’ve won this trophy once with Los Angeles but this one is pretty special because of the home crowd and this stage. This win is for Sporting KC, and it’s very big.

On the injury he suffered to his face in the first half…

I think I’m going to have to have three stitches. But there was no chance of me leaving the game. I knew I had to be on the field to help my team win.

On retaking his penalty kick during the shootout…

The second time I took the shot, I was pretty confident. I knew he was off his line the first time, and I didn’t think he could stop me two times. I trained really well this week, so I knew I just needed composure. I thought he came off his line more than once.  But I’m glad it worked out for us. We’re the winners, and we’re very happy with that.

Sporting KC forward Kei Kamara

On Sporting KC’s penalty shootout victory over Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup final…

This is a dream come true. We wanted to do this for the fans. They’ve been fantastic for us for the longest time. Things didn’t come easy, Seattle’s a tough team. They’re organized and hard to beat, but we came out tonight knowing we had to win. There wasn’t really a choice. We had to do this for SKC Nation.

On making two penalties, one in the 84th minute and one in the shootout…

I’m comfortable taking penalties. It’s my job on the team, so when Peter (Vermes) decided I would go first, I knew I had to deliver just like I did earlier. Jimmy (Nielsen’s) save was the momentum swinger in the shootout. Once he made that save, you kind of felt like we were going to do it.

On where this win ranks in his MLS career…

This is about as good as it gets. Winning a major trophy in front of the best fans in the League, you couldn’t ask for more than this. Everyone on the team deserves this moment. Everyone out in the crowd deserves this moment. I’m so happy for everyone.

Seattle Sounders FC defender Zach Scott

General comments on the match…

Obviously it was a great run. It didn’t end like we hoped it would, but we’re still very proud. The quality we put into this game, we gave ourselves a good chance to win. The circumstances just didn’t work in our favor. But now our focus has to be quickly back to League play and on our game on Saturday versus San Jose.  That is the most important thing at this point.

On scoring the team’s equalizer…

I knew their marking wasn’t as tight as they wanted it to be and we have so many guys who are good in the air. As long as Mauro (Rosales) put it into a good spot, which he always does, we knew we would have a chance. Fortunately, I was the guy in the right place at the right time and I was able to get just enough on it to tuck it into the corner.

On conceding a penalty kick…

I have a ton of respect for the refs in our League, Ricardo (Salazar) in particular. I think he’s a great ref. I think you guys saw the game. I think you guys saw the replays. I am not going to comment any further on that. Sigi (Schmid) can comment on the refs all he wants. But as for me, I will be the first guy to put my hand up when I make a mistake, and I hope the refs do the same.

Seattle Sounder FC striker Eddie Johnson…

On his penalty kick…

It’s those moments that you dream of as a soccer player, being able to make those moments, wanting to contribute to the team in pressure situations. But I wouldn’t change anything about my approach to that. I was confident taking it, I sent the keeper the wrong way. Maybe from a psychological standpoint, he probably got in my head a little bit, because he was reading a piece of paper.   But for me, I didn’t want to change anything. I was comfortable going that way and I just hit it a little too hard. But, I wouldn’t change anything about the approach. I wouldn’t change anything about the way we played as a team.

On the team’s performance…

I thought we came out and we showcased ourselves well and played them well with them having the home-field advantage and having the fans behind them. I think we still created chances and gave ourselves a chance to still get something out of the game.

On the penalty kick shootout…

On a perfect day, the save that Gspurning made that got retaken goes our way. But it didn’t go our way this time. If you ask me, or the other four guys that took penalty kicks, we’re all confident. But it didn’t go our way.

On bouncing back from the setback…

It’s not the end of the world for us. We know we’re a good team. We’ll turn things around. I have never seen this team put our heads down after a loss. We have never lost two games in a row. We will take all the positive out of this game and look forward to our game against San Jose this weekend.

On being the one to take that last kick…

No, it doesn’t hurt. The coach put me their for a reason. I am confident in my own ability, the team is confident in me. It is a lose-lose situation. If I don’t take it I get criticized, if I take it and miss I still get criticized. Those are the things you have to deal with. Everyone has high expectations. I stepped up, I took it. It didn’t go my way. It’s not going to stop me from playing confidently and doing what I have been doing to get us here and stop us from playing the way we have been playing to get us to this point as a team.

Seattle Sounders FC Manager Sigi Schmid

On his team’s performance…

Congratulations to Kansas City on winning the championship. I think their players battled and fought hard. I think it was difficult for us. It’s our third game in six days so just that little bit of sharpness was missing. It’s difficult when your playing against a team at home so the crowd helps them. And then when your playing against the referee as well and he makes some absolutely ridiculous calls, it is very tough to win. 

On the refereeing…

The hand ball that he called, I don’t know how he could see it. He’s not at a good angle to see it. Nobody that I have talked to has seen a replay that shows a definite handball or not. Our assistant coach said it hit him in the chest, so you don’t know. And then you can always call a goalkeeper for moving, so you don’t know. Nielsen moved ahead of every shot as well. But he didn’t call anything back there.

How does a team commit an equal amount of fouls as an opponent and one team gets five yellow cards and the other gets zero? There were some things I didn’t understand this whole tournament for us. Our backs were against the wall this whole tournament. It was as difficult a road as it could be. I’m very proud of guys for getting to this point and battling and not giving up and taking the game into overtime. They battled through all the obstacles that we had to face.

On the team’s determination…

Even when we went down 1-0 tonight, we came back right away and got the equalizer. Obviously, there were guys out there playing on fumes because of the fact that they have played so many minutes over the last 10 days. It is what it is, but I am very proud of what we accomplished. I think we had a good chance to get four in a row. We missed our last three penalty kicks so that is something that doesn’t help. And certainly if he doesn’t call the one back, we’re still taking penalty kicks right now.

On the equalizer…

It showed the character of the team. We went down 1-0 and we got one back. It was a little bit of fate as well, because I thought theirs was undeserved and we ended up getting it right back and equalizing the game. Obviously Zach (Scott) did well, and it was a great free kick from Mauro (Rosales).