Countdown to Cup: 18 days
USA TODAY Sports Images

Countdown to Cup: Sporting KC, New York set for grandest chapter in head-to-head history

Sporting Kansas City will look to write another glorious chapter in club history on Sept. 20 when the New York Red Bulls visit Children’s Mercy Park for the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, slated for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

In our 21-day Countdown to Cup, is visiting the most relevant storylines, historical narratives and statistical trends surrounding the Open Cup Final, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship.

Our fourth installment of the daily countdown revisits recent fixtures between the teams, who are set to meet in the Open Cup for the very first time.

As original members of Major League Soccer, Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls share a head-to-head history that dates back to 1996.

The clubs have met 55 times across all competitions and, astonishingly, just once outside of MLS regular season play. That battle, of course, took place in the 2014 Eastern Conference Knockout Round at Red Bull Arena, when prolific striker Bradley Wright-Phillips struck twice in the final 13 minutes to complete a 2-1 comeback victory and send the defending MLS Cup champions packing for home.

That means the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final presents the first meeting between the sides in U.S. Soccer's longest-running and most prestigious tournament. As such, Sept. 20 will serve as the most important chapter yet in the 22-year rivalry. The winner will pocket $250,000 in prize money and a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, while the loser will have little time to dwell on the defeat knowing the pivotal final month of the regular season becons.

Even Stevens

It's only appropriate that the all-time series is dead even, with both teams owning 21 wins and 13 draws if the 2014 playoff game is included. Sporting KC holds a narrow 21-20-13 edge in the regular season.

Away Advantage?

In 12 matches between the clubs since 2012, the home team is just 3-5-4. The Red Bulls have given a strong account of themselves during their travels to Kansas City dating back to 2012. Prior to suffering a 2-0 loss on May 3, New York had gone unbeaten in five straight visits to Children's Mercy Park (two wins, three draws). Conversely, Sporting KC was victorious in its last visit to Harrison, New Jersey.

Stars of the Show

There's no question which New York player has relished this particular fixture the most. Bradley Wright-Phillips has six goals in his last seven appearances against Sporting KC, but none in each of the last three meetings. All six came in 2014, when the English forward tormented Kansas City across four matches — including a brace on Decision Day and another double four days later in the Knockout Round.

On the Sporting KC side, playmaking midfielder Benny Feilhaber has racked up a goal and four assists in his last six appearances against New York. He has scored or assisted in each of the last four meetings, a run that began in the 2014 Knockout Round when he set up Dom Dwyer's go-ahead strike early in the second half. Ike Opara headed home off a Feilhaber corner kick in a 1-1 draw to kick off the 2015 campaign, then Feilhaber turned goal scorer in a 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena in April 2016. He most recently assisted Dwyer to spark a 2-0 triumph four months ago at Children's Mercy Park.

Dos a Cero

Manager Peter Vermes' men will be encouraged by outcomes in the two most recent battles against the Red Bulls. Goalkeeper Tim Melia has anchored a pair of 2-0 victories, notably saving a Wright-Phillips penalty kick on April 9, 2016 before producing a sublime stop to deny Fredrik Gulbrandsen's breakaway effort on May 3. Sporting KC was particularly dominant in this year's clash, outshooting New York 18-6 and forcing goalkeeper Luis Robles to make six saves.

Recent #SKCvNY meetings (all competitions)

  • Regular season record vs. New York: 21-20-13
  • All competitions record vs. New York: 21-21-13
Date Result Stadium Details
05/27/2014 T 1-1 Children's Mercy Park Benny Feilhaber assists Antonio Dovale; Bradley Wright-Phillips equalizes
09/06/2014 L 1-2 Red Bull Arena Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry score; Dom Dwyer pulls one back
10/26/2014 L 0-2 Children's Mercy Park Wright-Phillips bags brace to tie MLS single-season record with 27 goals
10/30/2014* L 1-2 Red Bull Arena Dwyer opens scoring; Wright-Phillips scores two late
03/08/2015 T 1-1 Children's Mercy Park Ike Opara opens scoring; Lloyd Sam provides quick equalizer
04/09/2016 W 2-0 Red Bull Arena Tim Melia saves Wright-Phillips PK as Feilhaber and Dwyer net goals
05/03/2017 W 2-0 Children's Mercy Park Dwyer bags brace with Feilhaber assisting second goal

2014 Eastern Conference Knockout Round