Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting begins Open Cup run at Union Omaha | May 8, 2024


Sporting Kansas City is set to begin the club’s run in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this week when the team travels to take on USL League One side Union Omaha at UNO Caniglia Field on Wednesday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be available to stream for free on The match will also be available on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English).


Sporting Kansas City is set to begin the club’s journey in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this week with a visit to Nebraska to take on Union Omaha at UNO Caniglia Field on Wednesday night in the Round of 32.

Sporting will welcome a change of pace this week with the club currently in the midst of a five-game winless run in the MLS regular season, going 0-3-2 since beating Toronto FC 3-1 at BMO Field on March 30. Sporting has a history of performing well in the Open Cup despite lacking form in MLS, having reached the Semifinals of the tournament while struggling in league play in 2022.

Sporting has won the Open Cup on four occasions in the club’s history (2004, 2012, 2015 and 2017), tied for the most among MLS clubs. The 2024 Open Cup will crown a champion in September after eight rounds of single-elimination play and the winner will claim the Dewar Challenge Trophy along with $300,000 in prize money and a berth in the 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup.


Sporting Kansas City shifts gears this week as the club’s run in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup begins on Wednesday night with a trip to take on USL League One side Union Omaha at UNO Caniglia Field in the Round of 32. Sporting are one of eight MLS teams participating in the Open Cup this year, qualifying as one of the top finishers in the 2023 Supporters’ Shield standings that did not qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup.

Sporting and Union Omaha have met once before in the U.S. Open Cup, with Peter Vermes’ side cruising to a 6-0 victory in the Quarterfinals in 2022. Daniel Salloi and Felipe Hernandez each bagged a brace to go along with goals from Kortne Ford and Khiry Shelton on June 22, 2022 at Children’s Mercy Park.

Omaha are one of the most competitive clubs in USL League One, finishing atop the regular-season standings in 2023 under first-year head coach Dom Casciato before falling on penalties to the Charlotte Independence in the USL League One Playoffs Semifinals.

With just four games played in 2024, Omaha are off to another flying start. The club has gone an unbeaten 5-0-3 in all competitions to start the year, including a 3-0-1 mark in the regular season and winning in penalty kicks following two of their three draws. Omaha’s roster contains three former MLS players, highlighted by former Sporting KC man Mechack Jerome along with PC (Orlando, Vancouver) and Missael Rodriguez (Chicago).


On his first start of the 2024 campaign, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper John Pulskamp stepped in nicely with a solid performance in the team’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake at America First Field on Saturday night.

Credited with three saves on the night, Pulskamp’s finest moment was one that the statisticians didn’t recognize as a save when he pushed Carlos Andres Gomez’s shot onto the post in the 78th minute. It was his third time denying the dangerous Colombian who entered the night with goals in his previous two matches.

Pulskamp last appeared for Sporting during the club’s Leagues Cup run in 2023, starting all three matches as Sporting drew 3-3 with FC Cincinnati and beat Chivas Guadalajara 1-0 in the Group Stage before falling 4-1 to Toluca in the Round of 32 on Aug. 4, 2023. The 23-year-old last appeared in MLS on March 25, 2023.

Since joining the organization in 2019, Pulskamp has made 34 appearances in all competitions for the first team and played in 44 matches with SKC II.


With Sporting Kansas City’s two primary defensive midfielders out ahead of the club’s match against Real Salt Lake at America First Field on Saturday night, newcomer Memo Rodriguez stepped into an unfamiliar role and acquitted himself nicely during the club’s late 1-0 setback.

After Remi Walter missed out through a knee injury, fellow midfielder Nemanja Radoja was ruled out day-of-game due to illness, forcing Rodriguez - typically an advanced midfielder - into the defensive midfield role.

Rodriguez - who arrived in Kansas City as a free agent this offseason following a lengthy MLS career with Houston, the LA Galaxy and Austin FC - led the team in fouls suffered (2), was second in touches (61), second in shots (2) and third in completed passes (43).

Following the match, Manager Peter Vermes praised his performance: “He was good. He actually played a really good game. Radoja was sick so we had to make a change last minute, but he did a really good job, I thought.”


Sporting Kansas City defender Jake Davis enjoyed a pair of major milestones this past week, first signing a new MLS contract through 2027 with an option for 2028 which was announced on Wednesday before making his 50th appearance for the club over the weekend in Salt Lake.

Davis becomes the sixth Sporting KC Academy product to reach 50 appearances for the first team, joining Daniel Salloi (225), Kevin Ellis (90), Felipe Hernandez (81), Gianluca Busio (70) and Cam Duke (59).

Davis, who has also played 62 matches for SKC II, made his MLS debut as a 19-year-old in 2021. The Homegrown defender enjoyed a breakout year in 2023 by cementing a starting role at right back and helping the club reach the MLS Cup Playoffs with an impressive late-season rally. Over the course of 2023, Sporting went 16-9-7 when Davis started.

A native of Rochester, Michigan, Davis moved to Kansas City in 2017 to join the Sporting KC Academy. He represented Sporting at the U-17 and U-19 levels before earning his first professional experience in 2019, inking an academy contract with SKC II. He took another step forward by signing a fully professional contract with SKC II in 2020 and subsequently signed with the first team in August 2021.