Team Celebration vs. Dayton - DL
Brian Davidson

Sporting KC advances to U.S. Open Cup semifinals with 3-0 victory over Dayton Dutch Lions

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 15,167
Weather: Sunny and 91 degrees





Sporting Kansas City 




Dayton Dutch Lions




Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Seth Sinovic, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler (Konrad Warzycha 68), Michael Harrington; Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph, Graham Zusi (Roger Espinoza 59); C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 74), Soony Saad, Jacob Peterson

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Dom Dwyer, Kei Kamara, Chance Myers

Dayton Dutch Lions: Matthew Williams; Shane Smith, Mettin Copier (Daniel Holowaty 64), Nixon Dias, PGregory reciado; Joel DeLass, Bret Jones, Mikael McNamara (Akeem Priestley 60); Thomas Garner, Gerrit-Jan Bartels, Gibson Bardsley (Kyle Knotek 56)

Subs not used: Jeff DeGroot, Eric Kissinger, Toric Robinson, Corey Whisenhunt.







Shots on Goal   










Corner Kicks    



Misconduct Summary:

Scoring Summary:
KC – C.J. Sapong 1 (Seth Sinovic 1) 5
KC – Graham Zusi 1 (Jacob Peterson 1) 56
KC – C.J. Sapong 2 (Soony Saad 1) 59

Sporting Kansas City advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cupsemifinals with a 3-0 victory over the Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO) at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Tuesday. Forward C.J. Sapong scored twice and Jimmy Nielsen posted his second consecutive U.S. Open Cup shutout to move Sporting KC into the semifinals against the Philadelphia Union on July 11 at PPL Park.

Sapong opened the scoring in the game’s fifth minute in fortuitous circumstance, finding himself in the right place at the right time to redirect Seth Sinovic’s long-range shot mid-route. The deflection shifted Sinovic’s shot to the opposite side of the goal, leaving Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams out of position and unable to recover in time.

Sapong, the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year, continued to threaten on a night that would see him record a single-game career-high seven shots. In the 12th minute, his header went over the bar on a cross from Michael Harrington. One minute later, his shot from the left side went right at Williams.

The Dutch Lions showed early signs of equalizing when Nixon Dias shot narrowly over the bar, the first of four shots for the visitors.

Defender Matt Besler, who made his return from a three-match absence while recovering from appendicitis, sent in a trademark long throw in the 18th minute. Sapong’s flick found Lawrence Olum at the back post but his header was quickly cleared away by an alert Dayton defender.

Dayton’s Thomas Garner made a strong run forward at the 27-minute mark, racing toward the endline on the right side of the penalty area and playing a ball back for Dias. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made a superb stop on the first-time shot, though Gerrit-Jan Bartels was ruled to be obstructing the Sporting KC captain in an active offside position.

Nielsen was called into action again four minutes later, coming off his line quickly tocollect a loose ball as Harrington held off the threatening Gibson Bardsley.

Zusi made an attempt at the spectacular with five minutes to play in the first half, letting loose on a shot from inside midfield in an attempt to catch Williams off his line. The long-range blast looked promising for a moment but sailedwide.

Sporting KC could have taken a 2-0 lead into halftime, but Jacob Peterson’s shot banged off the near post after a give-and-go with Sapong.

The second half saw more attacking from Sporting Kansas City which paid off with two goals and ample chances. Sporting KC’s first chance of the second half came in the 54th minute when Sapong charged down the left flank and shot right-footed for the near post but was denied by Williams.

Sporting Kansas City notched their second goal of the match in the 56th minute when Peterson received a cross from Sinovic and tapped the ball back to Zusi, who took a curling shot from 20 yards out that sailed around Williams and into the net.

Just three minutes later, Sapong scored his second goal of the match with a precise header off of a corner kick from Soony Saad. The goal, Sapong’s fifth in U.S. Open Cup competition, moves him into a tie atop the team’s all-time chart for goals in U.S. Open Cup play and the club improves to 13-0-0 in all competition when Sapong scores.

The chances continued to come for Sporting Kansas City, notably in the 66th minute with a cross from Peterson on the right that was served across the goal to the foot of Sinovic, who made a sliding shot into the outside netting.

Sporting Kansas City comfortably kept possession for the remainder of the half and looked to bag a fourth goal in the 84th minute with a point-blank shot from second-half substitute Teal Bunbury, but he was denied by a commendable, sliding save from Williams.

Dayton had theirbest chance in the second half in the 88th minute when Bret Jones’ header from the top of the penalty area looped narrowly over the crossbar.

Sporting Kansas City will return to MLS action at 7:00 p.m. CT on Friday against theChicago Fire at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets for the match, presented by U.S. Bank and nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network, are available at or at the LSP Box Offices.


  • The Dayton Dutch Lions made one change to their line-up from their last Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match replacing Kyle Knotek with Mikael McNamara.
  • Sporting Kansas City made four adjustments to the line-up from their last U.S. Open Cup match. Lawrence Olum, Michael Harrington, Michael Thomas and Soony Saad replaced Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, Julio Cesar and Teal Bunbury respectively.
  • Michael Thomas debuted in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition in tonight’s match starting in the central midfield.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 16-12-4 all-time in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.
  • C.J. Sapong scored the first goal of the match in the 5th minute of play.
  • Seth Sinovic earned the assist on Sapong’s goalmarking his second assist in U.S. Open Cup competition, moving him into a tie for fourth with Scott Sealy and C.J. Sapong on the club's all-time chart.
  • Sapong’s goal was the earliest goal scored by Sporting Kansas City in U.S. Open Cup play since Teal Bunbury scored in the 3rd minute last year against Chicago Fire PDL.
  • Graham Zusi scored the second goal for Sporting Kansas City in the 56th minute, his first goal in U.S. Open Cup play.
  • Jacob Peterson notched the assist on Zusi’s goal, his first in U.S. Open Cup competition since joining Sporting Kansas City in the off-season.
  • C.J. Sapong added his second goal of the evening in the 59th minute heading home a Soony Saad corner kick. With the goal, Sapong is now tied for first on the team’s all-time chart with Davy Arnaud and Igor Stimutenkov with five goals scored in U.S. Open Cup competition.
  • The assist by Saad is his first in MLS or U.S. Open cup competition.
  • Dayton Dutch Lion’s second-half substitute Akeem Priestley was a 2009 MLS SuperDraft (50th overall) pick by Kansas City.
  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals for the third time in team history and are now 3-4-1 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 10-4-3 versus non-MLS opponents in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 11-5-1 at home in Open Cup Competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City has scored 64 goals all-time in U.S. Open Cup play.
  • C.J. Sapong had a career high in shots in all-competition with seven.
  • Tonight’s win marks the 12th shutout for Sporting Kansas City in U.S. Open Cup play.
  • Tonight marks Jimmy Nielsen’s second straight shutout in U.S. Open Cup play, moving him into a tie for third all-time in USOC play with Tony Meola.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 13-0-0 in all competition when C.J. Sapong scores a goal.
  • Michael Harrington’s appearance in tonight’s match moves him into a tie with Davy Arnaud for third place in the club’s all-time USOC games played chart with 12.
  • With tonight’s start, Harrington moved into a tie with Jimmy Conrad for third place on Sporting KC’s all-time USOC games started chart with nine.
  • Sporting Kansas City outshot Dayton Dutch Lions 20-4.
  • Sporting Kansas City's fouls suffered (6) and fouls committed (7) were the lowest recorded in a match this season in all-competition.


Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Opening comments…

I thought from the beginning it was going to be a tough game, I thought Dayton obviously did a good job again here. They work hard,they’re pretty disciplined, but at the same time I had a lot of confidence in our guys and what I thought we could do against a team like this. They made it difficult in the first half for a while. We had some very good chances early and scored one. We could have actually gotten a few more but credit to the guys, we really didn’t give anything crazy away to them other than the one that was offside. Outside of that I thought we did a good job, we scored a second and third goal which was most important and we shut the game down. I thought it was a solid performance.

On the return of Matt Besler…

He looked good. I think the biggest thing for him is just the 90 minutes so that’s why we didn’t give it to him. We didn’t want to wear him out; we may need him on Friday. I just wanted to make sure that certainguys got a chance to rest. Myers has played so many games, it was great to be able to give him a break here for the next game. That’s one of the things I did with Sinovic in the Seattle game. All in all I thought Besler was good.

On the team’s play…

I thought, if you look at the guys that played on the field and you look at the guys that played in Seattle, they did a fantastic job and they were good again tonight. They’ve been consistent. Depending on who you put in different positions, they bring different qualities to the position because they’re different than the other guy. I thought all the guys fit in well and they all competed.

Last year’s quarterfinals in comparison to this year…

I remember the game really well. I don’t know that you would say it was a different attitude. I think we’ve matured a lot as a team since last year and at the end, results are results. We’re in the business of winning and right now we’re in a competition where it’s all knockout so you have to come here to win. We’re now going to have to go to Philadelphia and play there again and I think it’s going to be basically a final for us because if we don’t win then we don’t go on to the next round. So we’ll go ready to play just like tonight.

The attitude was good and the mentality was right. At the end of the day I think those games aren’t easy to play. Playing teams in lower divisions is very difficult and it can happen all over the world where teams wind up losing to lower division teams because it’s their final. This was a huge event for those guys, but at the end we managed the game well and got the three goals and the great thing was that I was able to rest a few guys as well.

Sporting KC defender Seth Sinovic

Opening comments…

We wanted to come out hot and try to get an early goal because the longer you let a team like this in it, the more confidence they’re going to get. We were happy and fortunate to get a goal early. We got another early in the second half and we kind of went from there. There were a few little hiccups here and there but overall I thought it was a pretty good performance.

On his contribution to the first goal…

I was just trying to put it on goal. I’ll give Sapong the goal every time there, it’s his job. My job isn’t necessarily to score goals so anytime I can give Sapong a goal I’ll give it to him every time.

On getting into the flow of the game…

I think personally I went through a little bit of a lull as far as timing my runs and flow of the play but I’m trying to get that back a little bit. I think as a team we’re trying to get back, sometimes you just go through ups and downs throughout the season and hopefully we can get the rhythm of play back a little bit better. I thought we scored some good goals tonight. Zusi had a great goal tonight, a great finish. It’s fun to be a part of the attack.

On rebounding from the Philadelphia game…

I don’t think our confidence was down, I think more than anything we were embarrassed. We know we’re so much better than that and the way we played that game. We wanted to get back on the field as quickly as possible and get a win under our belt so I don’t think it was confidence, it was more embarrassment than anything.

On the rematch with Philadelphia …

That’s one thing we talked about at our team dinner. We wanted to do everything we could to get a win and hopefully see Philadelphia again at Philadelphia. It’s really important to us and we definitely want to get another shot at it.

Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong

On Sporting KC’s 3-0 victory over the Dayton Dutch Lions…

We showed good character tonight, responding well to our bad game Saturday. Even though they were a lower division team, they came here excited to play, and we stifled them. Tonight we played like we normally play, which is a very good thing to see going into our game Friday against Chicago.

On achieving his first multi-goal game for Sporting KC…

It feels great. Too many times I feel like I’ve scored a goal and then drifted out of a game. Today I didn’t want to be content with one. Even though it was an Open Cup game, I’m glad to finally have a multi-goal game. Hopefully I can do that in league play.

On Sporting KC playing several games in a short time span…

We’re definitely feeling the effects of the crowded schedule we have. But the good thing is everybody on this team can step up. Everyone on this team can have a positive impact. We have injuries and fatigue, but we can handle it.

On being two wins away from winning the U.S. Open Cup…

We want hardware. We want something to show for our hard work and our talent. Tonight we took a step closer to that. Obviously we are very excited to play Philadelphia again. We feel like we owe them somethingafter what happened on Saturday.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

On scoring a goal in the second half to give Sporting KC a 2-0 lead…

It was a good combination play at the top of the box. I took a look up to see where I was, and luckily I caught it well. It feels good to get on the score sheet.

On bouncing back after a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday…

We got back to business tonight. We’re glad this game came so quickly after our loss Saturday. We want to win this tournament, and tonight we took another step towards that. We were hoping (Philadelphia) would win so we’d get another shot at them. Now we’re just 90 minutes away from a cup final.

On Sporting KC playing several games in a short time span…

We’re a little banged up, but that’s nothing we aren’t used to. We’ve got a lot more games coming up during this busy stretch, and we’ll try to win them all. Our squad is big enough to deal with those challenges.We’ve got a couple league games coming up, then we’ll turn our attention to that semifinal in Philadelphia.

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler

On returning to action after 17 days off due to injury…

I felt really good. My abdomen region where I had my surgery felt fine all night. We were keeping an eye on my fitness level because I had been out 10 days with no running, so I didn’t want to go back and force anything or pick up another injury.

On Sporting KC’s mentality before the game…

We were really hungry. We got embarrassed on Saturday, so we wanted to come back home and make a statement. This is the quarterfinals of the cup, too. We had no trouble getting up for this one.

On Manager Peter Vermes’ message before the game…

He didn’t say much. He gave us a little bit of the silent treatment before this game, and he let us figure things out ourselves. Now we get another shot at Philadelphia at their place. The stakes will be high, but we’ll be ready.

Dayton Dutch Lions head coach Ivar van Dinteren

Opening comments…

To be honest, Kansas City was of course in every aspect five or 10 percent better. We knew that and we tried to cover it with work ethic but I think we had some players today who were not there, maybe they were a little bit nervous. You see the stadium and the fans but this is what it is all about. I think they did well; well-deserved win too. I’m very satisfied with the way we played despite that we didn’t get a lot of chances.

On their approach to the game…

I think we got chances 1-on-1. Of course, our game plan was to keep it zero-zero through the first half like we did against Columbus, but small details on top of soccer is the most important. It’s difficult but they are getting there.

On their club’s progress…

This is our third season as a team. For us, our core business is the youth academy. It’s all about development. We try to combine the mental and physical part of soccer, because I think the Americans are mentally stronger and physically stronger, but we think we are better in technique and tactics. To play in the quarterfinals in America I think we did very well.

Dayton Dutch Lions midfielder Joel DeLass

General thoughts on the match…
It was real tough when you give up a goal in the first five, especially when you’re the inferior team. A deflection goal takes a lot out of you. We came out tough in the second half and gave up a real nice goal on the second one and then the corner kick on the third. We were definitely outclassed. We had moments when we were ok but Sporting played really well.

On playing at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…

This was really nice. Fans were great and it was really loud.  At the end of the day you try and tune that out, but it was fun to play here.

On making it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup…
I’m really proud of these guys, especially with the way things are going in the league. We are able to get wins in the Open Cup, we beat Columbus and a tough one at Michigan and then this loss. I mean it’s tough to lose but it was fun. Hopefully we can translate that into the league and come back next year.

Dayton Dutch Lions defender Nixon Dias

General thoughts on the match…

I think it was a good experience for all the guy. For me it was great, it was an experience for me because it was the first time I’ve played in the states.  I’ve played in Netherlands and  this stadium is like the Ajax stadium.

On giving up three goals…

I think the first half we played well, for me the first goal was a lucky goal. We did well and we had a few chances.  Kansas City was much better in the second half and we got tired and scored two goals and finished us. We got tired.

On making it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup…

I think this is good for Dayton, a lot of people were watching and we will get a lot of compliments. It’s good for the club and the players.

Dayton Dutch Lions goalkeeper Matthew Williams

General thoughts on the match…

I thought that we were unlucky to give up a goal so quick. Normally when we play we try tokeep a clean sheet going in to the second half. When you go down a goal like that it gets you out of your element. But credit to Sporting- they played very well. We couldn’t counter. They made it very hard for us. They played a hell of a game.

On playing at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…

I’ve played at Red Bull Arena and Columbus, but this facility is incredible.  Sporting’s brand is incredible. We felt very welcome at the game. I went and talked toopposing fans after the game and they were all very nice. We a good amount of friends and fans coming out to the game.

On making it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup…

I just think it’s important we made it this far. When you’re in cup competitions you get an opportunity to do something special.  When you’re not doing well in league competition like us, you get an opportunity to do something different. A lot of people didn’t expect us to get this far at the beginning of the year. Once you get that belief going in the locker room and once you get going, anything is possible.