Sporting Kansas City advanced to the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Olmes Garcia and Soni Mustivar traded first-half goals at Sporting Park, setting up a dramatic final 10 minutes in which Benny Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth provided the goals to send Sporting Kansas City into the September 30th championship against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Ticket information for Sporting Kansas City supporters interested in attending the 2015 U.S. Open Cup Final will be available by early next week on SKCAwayTickets.com. The Union, 1-0 winners over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, will host the championship match for the second straight year after falling 3-1 in extra time to the Seattle Sounders FC in 2014.
PAPA JOHN'S: The day after Sporting KC scores two or more goal, use promo code SPORTINGKC at papajohns.com to get 50% off each regular menu price pizza in an order placed with participating KC area locations.
JACK IN THE BOX: The day after Sporting KC has four or more shots on goal, receive a free breakfast biscuit sandwich with any purchase at Jack in the Box locations in the Kansas City area.
Meeting for the fourth time this season, Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake renewed the burgeoning rivalry with a high-stakes showdown reminiscent of their match-up in MLS Cup 2013. In front of more than 16,000 fans - a record crowd for the semifinal round in the U.S. Open Cup's modern era - Sporting Kansas City rallied after falling behind in the 24th minute.
Tim Melia, who began his MLS career with Real Salt Lake in 2010, had made a superb foot save to deny Designated Player Sebastian Jaime minutes earlier but found himself one-on-one with Garcia after a ball played behind the Sporting KC defense by Tony Beltran. Garcia made no mistake with a first-time finish to cap off a 14-pass scoring sequence for his second goal against Sporting KC in 2015, following his 93rd minute game-winner in June.
Sporting Kansas City responded just over 10 minutes later on a free kick won by Nemeth near the left corner. Feilhaber served a driven delivery inside the six-yard box, where Mustivar beat Nick Rimando to the cross with a darting run and leveled the score at 1-1 with his header into the back of the net.
Feilhaber now has 17 assists across all competition in 2015, one shy of the club's single-season record, and has contributed a goal or assist in six straight games across all competition. His five assists in this year's U.S. Open Cup are most by any player in the tournament and most by a KC player all-time in the competition.
The match would remain deadlocked until the 80th minute thanks in large part to Rimando's seven saves. The U.S. Men's National goalkeeper turned away a shot from Amadou Dia - one of two rookies to start on Sporting Kansas City's backline - in the 41st minute and was called into action again to deny Dom Dwyer in the 48th minute.
Moments later, however, Sporting Kansas City were inches from pulling ahead when Nemeth latched on to Feilhaber's through ball and pushed a shot past Rimando only to see Beltran clear the goal-bound effort off the line with a crucial recovery. On the opposite end, Melia did his part to hold Real Salt Lake at bay with his save on Devon Sandoval in the 53rd minute.
The game's final 30 minutes would belong to a home side seeking a third U.S. Open Cup title (2004, 2012) and the ultimate reward of a berth in the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League. Feilhaber's free kick was on frame in the 60th minute but smothered by Rimando with a low dive to his left, the same direction in which he was required to react toward minutes later to thwart Dwyer.
Nemeth took his turn to threaten with a scoring chance in the 71st minute. The Hungarian international looked poised to to bury the breakthrough goal until the shot's deflection off Elias Vasquez directed it wide of the post.
The decisive goal would finally come to fruition in the 80th minute with Dwyer doing the lion's share of the work. The Englishman initially brought down a clearance from Mustivar, spun past Vasquez and eluded the challenge of Aaron Maund before sending his shot off the post with a left-footed strike. Feilhaber was first to the rebound and hammered home a shot from 10 yards out for his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.
Feilhaber again proved pivotal on the game's final goal, sending a 65-yard ball forward that Maund errantly headed into the path of Nemeth. The 26-year-old newcomer danced around Rimando and calmly placed his shot into the empty net for his 12th goal in all competitions, sealing Sporting Kansas City's fourth straight win in the U.S. Open Cup.
Sporting KC will now resume the MLS regular season against Western Conference leaders Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 8 p.m. CT on Saturday at Sporting Park. A limited number of tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL while supplies last.
2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Weather: 82 degrees and partly cloudy
First Half: Soni Mustivar Goal (35')
Second Half: Benny Feilhaber Goal (80')
Second Half: Krisztian Nemeth Goal (85')
Full Time: Match Replay
Full Time: Video Highlights
Full Time: Photo Gallery
Postgame: Quote Sheet
Postgame: Peter Vermes Interview
Postgame: Benny Feilhaber Interview
Postgame: Dom Dwyer Interview
|Sporting KC (4-0-0)||1||2||3|
|Real Salt Lake (3-1-0)||1||0||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Amadou Dia, Matt Besler (c), Kevin Ellis, Saad Abdul-Salaam (Marcel de Jong 92+); Soni Mustivar, Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; Krisztian Nemeth (Chance Myers 87), Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson (Connor Hallisey 64)
Subs Not Used: Jon Kempin, Erik Palmer-Brown, Jimmy Medranda, Mikey Lopez
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Demar Phillips, Elias Vasquez, Aaron Maund, Tony Beltran; Luke Mulholland (Abdoulie Mansally 88), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales; Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval (Luis Gil 77), Sebastian Jaime
Subs Not Used: Jeff Attinella, Justen Glad, Pecka, John Stertzer, Sebastian Saucedo
|Shots on Goal||11||3|
SKC -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; tactical foul) 30
SKC -- Soni Mustivar (caution; tactical foul) 75
RSL -- Tony Beltran (caution; tactical foul) 76
RSL -- Olmes Garcia (ejection; serious foul play) 93+
RSL -- Olmes Garcia 1 (Tony Beltran 1) 24
SKC -- Soni Mustivar 1 (Benny Feilhaber 5) 35
SKC -- Benny Feilhaber 2 (unassisted) 80
SKC -- Krisztian Nemeth 4 (unassisted) 85