Seth Sinovic and Matt Besler - US Open Cup Final 2012
Mike Gunnoe

USOC: Hometown Heroes

Seth Sinovic rode into Sporting Kansas City’s locker room on Matt Besler’s back, both of them grinning, two childhood friends sharing their biggest triumph ever with the club they grew up following.

“It’s incredible,” Besler (above, center) told after Sporting outlasted Seattle in a penalty-kick shootout to win the club’s first US Open Cup title since 2004. “This city deserves it. Bringing a championship here, the atmosphere was amazing.”

Besler went the distance at center back, connecting on his penalty attempt in the third round of the shootout, and Sinovic contributed 100 strong minutes at right back before taking a knock to his ankle and being lifted for Michael Harrington.

“It’s incredible,” Sinovic said. “When we came out for warm-ups, and right before the game started, it was like the [2011] Eastern Conference final times 10. It was great. Unfortunately, it had to come down to a PK shootout, but when you look at the scoreboard and the shots, I think we deserved the win.”

The shootout also gave Besler, who anchored Sporting’s backline against Seattle’s high-powered offensive trio of Eddie Johnson, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero, one more chance to play hometown hero.

He made good on it, banging his third-round penalty off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. It was the only high shot of the shootout that went in; Graham Zusi hit one over the bar for Sporting, and Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson both hit their attempts well high.

“We’ve been doing PKs all week, and that’s where I hit it usually,” Besler said. “I like to keep it lower than that. With the new balls that we played with, they rise. You saw that with their kicks, with Graham’s kick, but yeah – I’d been practicing it.”