Graham Zusi USOC Philly
Michael Feblowitz

USOC: Sporting KC advances to U.S. Open Cup Final with 2-0 victory at Philadelphia Union

PPL Park | Chester, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 8,486
Weather: 83 degrees and partly cloudy
Video: Match Archive | Match Highlights





Sporting Kansas City




Philadelphia Union




Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 64), Jacob Peterson

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Julio Cesar, Michael Harrington, Peterson Joseph, Soony Saad, C.J. Sapong, Michael Thomas

Philadelphia Union: Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan; Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Gabriel Gomez 66); Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, Lionard Pajoy (Antoine Hoppenot 64)

Subs not used: Chris Konopka, Raymon Gaddis, Chris Albright, Keon Daniel, Josue Martinez







Shots on Goal












Corner Kicks



Misconduct Summary:

PHI – Gabriel Farfan (caution; unsporting behavior) 30
KC – Paulo Nagamura (caution; reckless foul) 52
PHI – Michael Farfan (caution; reckless foul) 52
PHI – Michael Lahoud (caution; reckless foul) 57
PHI – Sheanon Williams (caution; reckless foul) 62
KC – Aurelien Collin (caution; tactical foul) 77

Scoring Summary:

KC – Jacob Peterson 1 (Graham Zusi 1) 65
KC – Graham Zusi 2 (unassisted) 93+

Sporting Kansas City advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Wednesday night. Sporting KC striker Jacob Peterson opened the scoring with his header on a Graham Zusi free kick in the 65th minute before Zusi sealed the win with a 60-yard goal from midfield in second half stoppage time.  

Sporting Kansas City will host the Seattle Sounders FC on August 8 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park with the opportunity to lift the Dewar Challenge Trophy and secure a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Current Season Ticket Members will be able to secure their seats for the championship match in an exclusive pre-sale beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT on Thursday by logging onto their Account Manager. Season Ticket Members may then purchase additional seats from 10:00 a.m. CT on Monday, July 16 through 10:00 a.m. CT on Tuesday, July 17, at which point tickets go on sale to the general public.

The first forty-five minutes was predominantly a defensive battle as neither side sawmany goal scoring opportunities. However, it was Sporting Kansas City who saw the first chance, as Jacob Peterson’s long throw-in was re-directed on goal forcing Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath to tip it over the crossbar for a Sporting Kansas City corner kick.

Just ten minutes later, it was Sporting Kansas City again on the attack. Midfielder Paulo Nagamura found Kei Kamara on the right flank and the Sierra Leone international drew a foul when Union defender Carlos Valdez stepped out to make a challenge on the play. Graham Zusi’s free kick was headed away by a Philadelphia defender, but the clearance fell right into the path of Seth Sinovic whose shot from 40 yards out was driven low and wide of the right post.

Philadelphia Union saw their first quality chance of the match in the 26th minute when Michael Lahoud connected with Freddy Adu on the left flank. Adu drove to the end line, beating Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collinm before sending it into the mix. A collective effort of recovering Sporting Kansas City defenders denied a Philadelphia shot and Collin cleared the ball from danger.

In the 31st minute, Philadelphia saw their best chance of the half as Michael Farfan’s free kick was placed just high of frame by Jack McInerney.

Peterson created the most dangerous opportunity for either side in the first half of play, flighting a ball from the right flank in an attempt to connect with Kei Kamara on the back post. The ball was just out of reach for Kamara, but the ball was chased down and played back into Philadelphia’s penalty area and it was Peterson who dove to get his head on the cross. His header nearly reached Teal Bunbury but Carlos Valdes and Gabriel Farfan intervened at the last moment.

Philadelphia saw the last chance before halftime as Lionard Pajoy received a pass from Michael Farfan, but a brilliant sliding challenge by Collin put the ball back in Sporting Kansas City’s possession and out of trouble.

In a match that featured 38 fouls, it was a set piece that Sporting Kansas City capitalized on for the eventual game-winning goal. Peterson positioned himself well on a Zusi free kick from the right flank and placed his header past Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath to give Sporting Kansas City the 1-0 lead in the 65th minute.

Sporting Kansas City came close to doubling the advantage within a minute when Kamara played second-half substitute C.J. Sapong in behind the Union’s backline. The reigning rookie of the year pushed his shot past MacMath but the attempt hit the post and rolled out for a Philadelphia goal kick.

Philadelphia responded two minutes later with an opportunity of their own as Gabriel Gomez found Adu just inside the 18 yard-box. The 23-year-old slipped a pass to Jack McInerney right in front on the Sporting Kansas City goal mouth, drawing goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen off his line to make a challenge on the play. The ball deflected straight up in the air off Nielsen and Sporting KC defender Seth Sinovic was able to knock the ball away from the goalline to preserve the 1-0 lead.

In the face of elimination, the Union began sending numbers forward to try and find an equalizer. In the 89th minute, Philadelphia came close as Amobi Okugo flighted the ball to Adu, open on the backpost. Adu settled with his first touch before firing a left-footed volley, which sailed well over the cross bar.

MacMath was nearly at half-field during second half stoppage time to aid in the attack and his header under pressure from Sapong fell into the path of Zusi. His former Maryland teammate one-timed a volley from midfield over MacMath and into the empty net to seal the victory in the third minute of stoppage time.

Sporting Kansas City reaches the U.S. Open Cup Final for the second time in club history, having won the tournament in 2004 at Arrowhead Stadium. They’ll meet the Seattle Sounders FC, who were 4-1 winners over Chivas USA in Wednesday’s other semifinal and who have won each of the last three U.S. Open Cup tournaments.


  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Finals for the second time in team history and are now 2-1-0 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
  •  Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen started his third straight U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday. He is yet to allow a goal in Open Cup competition.
  •  Jimmy Nielsen's third shutout in U.S. Open Cup moves him into second all-time behind Eric Kronberg's four clean sheets in Open Cup competition.
  • Wednesday’s win marks the 13th shutout for Sporting Kansas City in U.S. Open Cup play.
  • Sporting KC’s defense has gone 220 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal in all competition.
  • Defenders Chance Myers and Matt Besler appeared in their ninth all-time U.S. Open Cupmatch, moving into a tie for eighth place on the club’a sll-time chart with Jack Jewsbury.
  • Myers started his eighth U.S. Open Cup match all-time, moving in a tie for fifth place on the club’s all-time chart with five other players.
  • Forward Jacob Peterson and defender Seth Sinovic have started all four games for Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
  • Sinovic leads all Sporting KC players with 360 minutes played in the U.S. Open Cup this season.
  • Besler, midfielder Graham Zusi and forward C.J. Sapong have appeared in all four Sporting Kansas City games in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
  • Sporting Kansas City appeared in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal round for the third time in team history on Wednesday. It was the team’s first appearance in a semifinal since 2004 when the team went on to win the championship.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 7-8-1 all-time against MLS competition in the U.S. Open Cup.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 6-7-3 all-time away from home in the U.S. Open Cup.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 17-12-4 all-time in U.S. Open Cup competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City has scored 66 goals all-time in the U.S. Open Cup and allowed 41.
  • Sporting Kansas City has 13 shutouts all-time in the U.S. Open Cup, two of which have come this year.
  • Jacob Peterson’s goal was his first in the U.S. Open Cup for Sporting KC and second of his career in the tournament. His last goal in the U.S. Open Cup came in2006 with the Colorado Rapids.
  • Graham Zusi recorded his second career assist in U.S. Open Cup competition and first in the 2012 tournament. He moves into a tie for fourth on the club’s all-time chart with two U.S. Open Cup assists alongside Scott Sealy, C.J. Sapong and Seth Sinovic.
  • Aurelien Collin received his third caution of the tournament and will be suspended for the final due to yellow card accumulation.
  • Philadelphia competed in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in 2012 and suffered their first loss on Wednesday.
  • Sporting Kansas City made seven adjustments to the line-up from their last U.S. Open Cup match. Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Jacob Peterson and Teal Bunbury replaced Lawrence Olum, Michael Harrington, Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph, C.J. Sapong and Soony Saad respectively.
  • Graham Zusi scored the second goal for Sporting Kansas City in second-half stoppage time, marking two straight U.S. Open Cup games in which Zusi has scored the game’s second goal.
  • The goal marks Zusi's second in U.S. Open Cup competition all-time, moving Zusi into a tie for seventh with Eric Quill, Scott Sealy, Sasha Victorine, Josh Wolff, Chance Myers and Soony Saad.


Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the victory…

“It was a great result for us tonight. I think what happens sometimes when you play at home like this, and I mean the Union, you feel the obligation to drive the game. You have to make the game happen, and I think that we were difficult and organized, and they didn’t find any holes. They got frustrated a little bit. We found a lot of good opportunities in the second half, because they had to stretch to make the game.”

Sporting Kansas City Captain Jimmy Nielsen

On mindset going forward in the Open Cup…

“It is all or nothing in this tournament. If you win you go to the next round and if you lose you’re out. I think we showed a very good attitude and mentality for those games. We played some lower division teams but we take it dead serious and now we are in Philadelphia. It was a tight game, it was a close game and the game could have gone either way but today was our turn and we are looking forward to hosting the final.”

On getting the result after the two teams’ last meeting...

“We talked about this game a lot.  When we were here last time we probably played the worst game we have played since I came to this whole organization (SportingKansas City) in two and a half years and that was very embarrassing. We had a tough time getting that game out of our heads and out of our system and once we saw that we were going to have an opportunity to play them (the Union) in the semifinals, we were ready. “

On what it means to play the Open Cup Final at home…

“We are all looking forward to that. We had a meeting last night and talked about how awesome it would be to host the final and I am sure Kansas City will go crazy.”

Sporting Kansas City goal scorer Jacob Peterson

On his goal…

“(Graham) Zusi always has good service. I still haven’t seen the replay and I am not sure exactly how it went in because I thought the keeper was going to save it but they all count.”

On his strong run of form…

“It is great. We have a really good team and a lot of great players. I think the players on my team have helped me develop that and I feel comfortable with them all and luckily the goals have been coming but at the same time, I would take three points any day and that’s the bottom line.”

On beating the Union on the road…

“This is a tough place to come play. They have been in good form these days. Oncethey made the coaching change they have been on fire. They have good young players and are going to be a team to be reckoned with for a long time. Buttoday we wanted to come in and invite them to handle the ball and control it, try and break us down but I don’t think they really did and ran out of ideas. The second half we had two great chances and we put two away.”

On what it means to play the Open Cup Final at home…

“It is going to be phenomenal. We have the best fans in the League and there is no better atmosphere in the League to play. We are excited and we hope to put a show on for our fans.”

Sporting Kansas City goal scorer Graham Zusi

On his goal from midfield…

“It is a little insurance goal for us. They were pushing a little on us in the second half and it just took a little weight off of our shoulders.”

On what it meant to get a result tonight…

“It was very big for us. We had our first few games in the tournament at home. They were kind of expected to win this game, for us to come on the road against a hot team right now in a hostile environment just says a lot about our team and it was a great win for us.”

On carrying the momentum into the second half of the season…

“It is great, I don’t think people really realize where we are right now.  We have two huge accomplishments (first in the Eastern Conference and hosting the Open Cup final). If offered that in the beginning of the season we would have taken it in a second. We are in a great spot right now, looking to push through to the Final.”

Philadelphia Union Manager John Hackworth

On the game all around…

“First of all, I should say congratulations to Sporting K.C. They’re in the final. It’s fantastic for them. They did what they had to do to come here and get the result. Different styles, different philosophies, good game plan.”

On the first goal…

“I’ve got go talk to Zac. He was pretty upset. The fact that he felt like that, I’m sure he felt like he could have gotten it. From the side, it definitely looked like he thought it was going wide. That’s our fault to give up a goal like that. If that’s the case we have to learn from our experiences, and Zac’s been fantastic for us all year. He’s a young goal keeper and he’ll learn from that.”

This game versus the last meeting…

“We certainly didn’t execute as well as we did in that game, but K.C. played a completely different type of game today. A credit to them for being effective at that, but we didn’t take our chances as well. We possess the ball an awful lot and didn’t create the opportunities. We missed the final pass a lot. We didn’t get that chance that we really needed. Especially in that first half, I thought we had them on the ropes for a good stretch there.”

What the Open Cup did for the Union…

“It was great because I think it gave a team, at time when they didn’t have a lot to play for, something to play for. It allowed us to get back, and get some confidence against some real good teams. I just told Rob and Brendan in there that this is a great game for us to learn from. There are a lot of things in this game that we can use to move forward, because when you dissect this kind of game and you look at it, you can get better from the mistakes we made, and that’s what we’ll do. I’m terribly disappointed, but those are one of those teachable moments.”

On Amobi Okugo…

“Amobi was fantastic again, and I think when a player’s playing like that there’s no way you’re going to replace him. So hopefully Soumare comes back or gets back sooner, and that will be some tough decisions. Crazy things always happen. We have a long stretch of games here so it’s good to have that.”

On the team’s freshness…

“I don’t think we’re as fresh as we would be if we had a week of rest, but I don’t think fatigue was a difference tonight at all. I think that we gave up a soft goal, and they did what they had to do, and there was a lot of other situations on the field that allowed them to get the result.”

Jack McInerney

On the physical game…

“I know there were a couple of scrums here and there, but we have to keep our composure.”

On making it this far…        

“I know it stinks to lose, but it is only halfway through the season. Now our goal and focus is to get into the playoffs.”

On Montreal…

“We need to begin to prepare right away. It is a must-win situation because they are right in front of us in the standings. These are important points.”

Zac MacMath

On importance of the Cup run for confidence…               

“The Cup run was very important for us. We are still on track despite this lost. We still have a great shot to make the playoffs in Major League Soccer. We need to look forward to Saturday.”

On the first goal…

“It just snuck in there. Right off his head.”

Brian Carroll

On the team’s good play of late…

“It started in the Open Cup and continues on Saturday. The preparation and recovery starts tonight, as we need to get ready for Saturday.”

On Sporting Kansas City…

“I think their defensive commitment was better tonight. Their game plan was to make it a little bit choppy. They took advantage of their set pieces. The fact is we are not moving on and we need to get ready for Montreal.”

On second halftime management for Sporting Kansas City…

“They won, so you have to give them credit for doing what they needed to do to move on. We weren’t able to take advantage of some of our chances, so we weren’t able to play the type of soccer that has lead us to this point as much.”

Carlos Valdes

On the physical play of Sporting KC…

“I think we made a couple of mistakes, and they took advantage of them. For some moments of the game we looked confused; we couldn’t connect a lot of passes, basically in the last part of the field. When you play like this, in these kinds of games, in semifinals, you pay a lot for your mistakes.”

On the rigorous schedule the past couple of weeks…

“I think we spent a lot of energy in the last games. Basically, in the game against Toronto, the weather was so hot, so I think it’s normal (to be tired). When you feel your legs heavy, it’s one more reason to look the way that we did today.”

On the previous USOC games…

“At the end of the day, sometimes you play well and you lose the game. Sometimes, you play so-so, and you win. At the end of the day, the most important thing was winning this game. Being in the final was a chance to make history with the Philadelphia Union. I feel so bad because I really wanted to play in the final of the U.S. Open Cup.”

On what can be taken away from tonight’s semifinal…

“I think that this is the first semifinal for a lot of the young players. Maybe tomorrow, we will have more time to talk about the game, and learn from the mistakes that we made today.”

On staying motivated against Montreal…

“Just mentally, because we know that we have a lot of games in July. Mentally, we have to be in a better condition; it’s hard for us because we’re playing almost every three days. The most important thing is how we look in the next games. We hope we can win the next game and still work hard.”