Match Recap

Recap: Sporting eliminated from U.S. Open Cup with 1-0 loss at Houston Dynamo FC


Sporting Kansas City saw their 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run come to an end on Wednesday night as the team was eliminated in the Round of 32 with a 1-0 loss on the road to Houston Dynamo FC at Shell Energy Stadium. Thor Ulfarsson’s 12th-minute goal was enough for the Dynamo, who had to see out the final 55 minutes a man down following a red card to Chase Gasper.

Sporting made 10 changes from the team that beat Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, with Gadi Kinda the only player maintaining his spot in the lineup. John Pulskamp was back in goal with veterans Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza at outside back, while Nemanja Radoja made his return from injury in the midfield and Stephen Afrifa earned his professional debut up front.

Sporting began the match on the front foot and should have taken the lead in the sixth minute. Graham Zusi played a delightful ball over the top to find Marinos Tzionis streaking down the right wing and his low cross picked out Afrifa in front of goal but the 22-year-old was unable to hit the target on his debut.

Houston took the lead in the 12th minute as Ulfarsson picked up a second ball 25 yards from goal and lashed a powerful low effort into the bottom corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Sporting center back Chris Rindov made his first start for the club and he had two opportunities in the matter of three minutes to equalize off almost carbon copy set piece situations. In the 20th minute, he headed Kinda’s corner kick over the bar and three minutes later, he again met a Kinda set piece and this time planted his header against the crossbar.

Sporting continued to pile on the pressure and Tzionis was the next player to go close, meeting Espinoza’s delivery on the volley but his effort bounced into the arms of Andrew Tarbell.

The match turned on its head in the 35th minute when Espinoza’s stunning pass picked out Tzionis whose first touch took him in on goal only for the winger to be tugged back just outside the area by Chase Gasper, who was shown a straight red card for denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Kinda stepped up to take the free kick and forced an excellent save out of Tarbell with a shot that was destined for the top corner.

Sporting came out with intent to start the second half with both halftime sub Daniel Salloi and Zusi both forcing Tarbell into diving stops within the first three minutes of the half.

Sporting spurned a golden opportunity to equalize as Khiry Shelton found himself clean through on goal after Ethan Bryant forced a turnover, but the forward’s finish caromed off the post and away from goal.

The gilt-edged opportunities continued to flow for Sporting as this time Salloi sent a free header over the bar off a brilliant cross from Zusi in the 64th minute.

Houston survived a controversial moment in the 70th minute as Nemanja Radoja attempted to flick a ball into the path of Remi Walter in the box which was blocked by the arm of Brooklyn Raines but referee Sergii Demianchuk missed it.

In the 85th minute, Salloi and Bryant combined nicely down the left before Salloi cut a cross back toward Walter in the area but the Frenchman could only divert his header over the bar as Houston would hang on to advance to the Round of 16.

Sporting continues the club’s congested MLS schedule this Saturday night when the team plays host to Minnesota United FC at Children’s Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 7:39 p.m. CT on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, while the game will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).

2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup | Round of 32
Shell Energy Stadium | Houston, Texas
Attendance: 5,094
Weather: 75 degrees and cloudy

Sporting Kansas City 0-1 Houston Dynamo FC
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo FC

Sporting Kansas City: John Pulskamp; Graham Zusi, Robert Castellanos (Robert Voloder 78’), Chris Rindov, Roger Espinoza (C); Nemanja Radoja, Felipe Hernandez (Jake Davis 78’), Gadi Kinda (Ethan Bryant 46’); Marinos Tzionis, Stephen Afrifa (Daniel Salloi 46’), Khiry Shelton (Remi Walter 60’)

Subs Not Used: Kendall McIntosh, Sebastian Cruz

Houston Dynamo FC: Andrew Tarbell (C); Mujeeb Murana, Ethan Bartlow (Micael 46’), Chase Gasper, Brad Smith (Djevencio van der Kust 65’); Nelson Quinones (Aliyu Ibrahim 75’), Luis Caicedo, Brooklyn Raines (Charles Auguste 85’), Griffin Dorsey; Sebastian Ferreira, Thor Ulfarsson (Talen Maples 85’)

Subs Not Used: Steve Clark, Diego Gonzalez

Scoring Summary:
HOU – Thor Ulfarsson 1 (Unassisted) 12’

Misconduct Summary:
SKC – Roger Espinoza (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 10’
HOU – Chase Gasper (red card; DOGSO) 35’
HOU – Griffin Dorsey (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 87’
SKC – Daniel Salloi (yellow card; dissent) 93+

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Sergii Demianchuk
Assistant Referee: Jennifer Garner
Assistant Referee: Jeffrey Greeson
Fourth Official: Olvin Oliva