Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg

RELEASE: Sporting KC Advances in Open Cup


2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Qualifying
Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 7:00 p.m. CT

Aggie Soccer Stadium | College Station, Texas
Weather: Sunny and 75 degrees
Attendance: 2,383


Score: 1 2 1OT 2OT F
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 1 0 1
Houston Dynamo 0 0 0 0 0

Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Roger Espinoza, Shavar Thomas ©, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington; Luke Sassano (Davy Arnaud 91), Craig Rocastle (Birahim Diop 76), Milos Stojcev; Omar Bravo (C.J. Sapong 46), Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara 

Subs not used: Kevin Ellis, Mike Jones, Jon Kempin, Scott Lorenz 

Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson (Jordan Graye 86), Mike Chabala; Danny Cruz, Alex Dixon, Lovel Palmer, Colin Clark (Corey Ashe 76); Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 83), Jason Garey

Subs not used: Fransisco Navas Cobo, Hunter Freeman, Tally Hall, Josue Soto

Stats:                       SKC       HOU
Shots 13       16
Shots on Goal 5        6
Saves 6        4
Fouls 18       14
Offside 5        1 
Corner Kicks 7        5

Misconduct Summary:
HOU – Kofi Sarkodie (caution, Tactical Foul) 5
HOU – Lovel Palmer (caution, Tactical Foul) 43
KC – Omar Bravo (caution; Reckless Foul) 46+
HOU – Mike Chabala (caution; Tactical Foul) 65
HOU – Bobby Boswell (caution; Tactical Foul) 73

Scoring Summary: 
KC – C.J. Sapong 1 (Teal Bunbury 1) 92

(April 6, 2011) – Sporting Kansas City advanced past the Houston Dynamo in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open qualifying with a 1-0 extra time win on Wednesday at Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas. Sporting Kansas City rookie striker C.J. Sapong scored in the second minute of the first overtime period for the game-winning goal, as Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg recorded six saves in the shutout.

After the two teams battled to 90 minutes of scoreless action in regulation, Sporting Kansas City grabbed command of the match in the opening moments of extra time. Sapong, a 2011 MLS SuperDraft first round pick, maneuvered past his mark and struck a shot from 20 yards out that curled around Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric for the match-winner.

Sapong, who also scored less than two minutes into his professional debut in Sporting Kansas City’s season opener last month, had entered to start the second half as a replacement for Designated Player Omar Bravo and now has points in three of his four games played this season. Fellow striker Teal Bunbury was credited with the assist as he provided the pass to Sapong at the top of the penalty area and he now has points in three consecutive matches, highlighted by his two goals at Vancouver last weekend.

On the defensive end, Sporting Kansas City posted their first clean sheet of the 2011 season and it came in an extended effort from Kronberg over the 90 minutes of regulation and two, 15-minute overtime periods. Kronberg covered a well-taken shot by Danny Cruz late in the second half and then made a diving stop to push a shot from Will Bruin over the crossbar and keep the match alive for Kansas City in stoppage time minutes later.

Offensively, Sporting KC striker Kei Kamara nearly struck first against his former team, powering a header off the fingers of Deric and into the crossbar in the early minutes of Wednesday’s match. Bravo then forced a strong save from the Houston Home Grown Player in the 25th player on an attempt from close range after a run from Bunbury on the left side.

With the win, Sporting Kansas City advances to the final round of qualifying for the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest annual team tournament in American Sports and now in its 98th year. Kansas City will host the winner between the New England Revolution and D.C. United at a date and location to be determined for the right to enter the tournament field in the third round, scheduled to begin June 28th.

Kansas City is one of seven remaining MLS clubs vying for the two play-in berths available for the U.S. Soccer national club tournament, which the team has taken part in for 15 seasons and won during the 2004 season. For the full bracket, visit

Sporting Kansas City will resume MLS play on Saturday, April 16th at the Columbus Crew at 6:30 p.m. CT in an Eastern Conference match-up that will be shown live on KSMO-TV, beginning with a 30-minute pre-game show at 6:00 p.m. CT from Columbus Crew Stadium.

Fast Facts:  

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg made his first start of the 2011 season, making six saves in the victory.

Kronberg posted a shutout in 120 minutes of action, his second clean sheet in U.S. Open Cup play which matches Tony Meola for second-best on the team’s all-time chart for the tournament.

Central defender Shavar Thomas also was included in the starting lineup for the first time this season on Wednesday and captained the team in the win.

Striker C.J. Sapong became the 29th different goal scorer for Sporting Kansas City in U.S. Open Cup competition.

Striker Teal Bunbury earned the assist on the play and now has points in back-to-back U.S. Open Cup games for Sporting Kansas City after scoring the team’s lone goal in last year’s 2-1 loss to Colorado in qualifying.

Midfielder Davy Arnaud entered at the start of extra time on Wednesday, appearing in his 12th U.S. Open Cup match for Kansas City and breaking a tie with Preki for sole possession of third place on the team’s all-time chart.

Defender Michael Harrington started Wednesday’s match and has now appeared in each of Sporting Kansas City’s last eight U.S. Open Cup matches, dating back to April 2007.

Harrington is the only KC player with consecutive appearances in more than two straight U.S. Open Cup matches.

Harrington’s eight games played in U.S. Open Cup competition ties Matt McKeon for the eighth most appearances in team history.

Kansas City advances to host the winner of the New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, who play on April 26th. The date and location of Sporting Kansas City’s match will be announced at a later date.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Stephane Auvray was unavailable on Wednesday due to an illness.

Sporting Kansas City’s last win against an MLS team in U.S. Open Cup play came in the 2004 U.S. Open Cup Championship, when Kansas City defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 to claim the Dewar Challenge Trophy.

Sporting Kansas City is now 4-8-1 all-time against MLS clubs in U.S. Open Cup competition, with the three previous wins coming in the team’s run to the 2004 title with victories over Dallas, San Jose and Chicago.

Sporting Kansas City won for the first time against an MLS team on the road in the tournament and now stand at 1-4-1 all-time against MLS teams on the road in U.S. Open Cup competition.

KC had been eliminated in each of the previous five away games against MLS teams.

Sporting Kansas City has participated in the U.S. Open Cup in 15 of the club’s 16 seasons.

Sporting Kansas City assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin has taken part in all but two of Sporting Kansas City’s last 23 U.S. Open Cup matches, starting 17 games as a player from 2000-2008 and serving on the technical staff for the team’s four tournament games since 2009.

When tasked with qualifying for the U.S. Open Cup, Kansas City has qualified on one of three occasions, reaching the tournament proper in 2008 via a penalty shootout.

Sporting Kansas City and Houston met for the first time as members of the same conference on Wednesday. With the introduction of expansion franchises Portland and Vancouver, Houston moved to Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference prior to the 2011 season.

Houston is 5-5-1 in U.S. Open Cup competition and 4-2-0 at home after the loss. The Dynamo reached the semi-finals on two occasions, in 2006 and 2009.

Houston is 0-1-2 in MLS play this season with two goals scored and three goals against and sits in last place in the Eastern Conference.



Sporting Kansas City Striker C.J. Sapong

On the goal…
At the end of the game, the coaches stressed to me, Teal (Bunbury) and Kei (Kamara) to be a little bit more mobile together. If we got caught out of position to just stay there, because we’re all pretty versatile. The ball got out wide to Teal (Bunbury), and he played it inside and it got past Milos (Stojcev). I came in and faked shooting, and let it run across my body and then put it far post and it went in.

On contributing early in his rookie season…
I just make a habit of myself to work hard. Every time I get on the field to be ready. I think the coaches have faith in me to impose my will on the other team. That’s what I try to do any time I get on the field. When I got in for the second half, I was fresher than everybody else on the field so I tried to use that to my advantage. Going into the overtimes, I felt great. I knew that I would find myself behind the defense, and it was just up to me to finish.

On the importance of the U.S. Open Cup…
We talked about it before the game. It’s the very first championship that we can win. We try to approach it that way. It is a championship. You want to be the best at everything you do. It’s our first opportunity to prove that. So we’re giving it our all obviously and we got one step closer.