Five Things is a weekly series on SportingKC.com that highlights the top storylines, players to watch and matchday programming ahead of each game throughout the season.
Winners of the last three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles will square off Saturday in the 2018 Round of 16 when Sporting Kansas City welcomes FC Dallas for an 8 p.m. CT kickoff at Children's Mercy Park. Tickets for the matchup are available at SeatGeek.com as two of the best teams in MLS aim to take another step toward domestic silverware in U.S. Soccer's oldest and most prestigious tournament.
For fans who don't have tickets, Saturday's game will be streamed online at SportingKC.com — and there are more than a few reasons for all eyes to be on this battle between Western Conference heavyweights. Without further ado, here are five things everyone needs to know heading into the Round of 16 clash.
1. Ready for a Rematch
It's not quite deja vu, but if Saturday's game measures anywhere close to last year's Open Cup affair between the sides, we're in for an absolute treat.
Sporting KC and FC Dallas met in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals at Children's Mercy Park last July, an epic encounter that saw the hosts prevail 3-0 in extra time. After playing a man down for most of regulation, Sporting KC struck three times during a wild extra session to secure one of their most dramatic wins in recent memory. The emotional triumph came two days after the passing of Sporting KC co-owner Neal Patterson, Chairman and CEO of Cerner Corporation.
This time around, FC Dallas will look to exact revenge and reclaim a trophy the club first lifted in 1997 before doing so again just two years ago. In order to do so, they'll have to dethrone a Sporting KC outfit that has ruled the Open Cup with an iron fist over the last six seasons. Manager Peter Vermes' men have won the competition in 2012, 2015 and 2017 to go with the club's first Open Cup championship in 2004.
2. Don't Buck that Trend
Sporting KC and FC Dallas have met three previous times in Open Cup competition, all of which taking place in Kansas City or thereabouts. In the 2004 quarterfinals, Kansas City waxed FC Dallas 4-0 at Blue Valley District Athletic Complex in Overland Park, Kansas. Another blowout was in store 11 years later, when Dom Dwyer bagged a club-record four goals to pace Sporting KC to a 6-2 win in the 2015 Round of 16. Last summer marked the third Open Cup battle between the teams, and we all know by now how that turned out.
To summarize, Sporting KC is a perfect 3-0-0 against FC Dallas in Open Cup play with 13 goals scored and two conceded. And each year Kansas City defeated their Texas counterparts in the tournament, they went on to capture the Open Cup title.
It's safe to say the Children's Mercy Park faithful will want this trend to continue.
3. Home Field Advantage
Just about every MLS team boasts a home field advantage to some extent. Only four clubs in the league currently have losing home records this season, and visiting teams have a .370 winning percentage on their travels in 2018.
In the fixture between Sporting KC and FC Dallas, however, that home field advantage has been extra pronounced in recent years. The home side in the series is 10-0-4 in the last 14 meetings across all competitions.
Strictly pertaining to Satuday's game, head coach Oscar Pareja's men have found Children's Mercy Park to be house of horrors. Sporting KC is 6-0-1 in its last seven home meetings with FC Dallas across all competitions, scoring 20 goals and conceding just three. Dallas won on its inaugural visit to the stadium in 2011, but has gone 0-7-2 since then while being outscored 23-5.
4. Dallas is Darn Good
For all of the recent struggles FC Dallas has experienced in Kansas City, make no mistake: they remain one of the best teams in Major League Soccer. Pareja's side has lost just once in 14 league games, a 3-1 setback to New York City FC on April 29 at Yankee Stadium. FC Dallas is currently on a five-game winning streak in all competitions, a torrid stretch that includes road wins at Toronto FC, LA Galaxy and San Antonio FC in the Open Cup Fourth Round last Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Mauer started the club's first 10 games of 2018, but U.S. international Jesse Gonzalez has started each of the last four en route to a perfect 4-0-0 record, two shutouts and 20 saves. Roland Lamah and Maxi Urruti have accounted for exactly have of FC Dallas' 24 goals, notching six each, while lethal playmaker Mauro Diaz ranks second in MLS with eight assists.
5. Super Saturday
Looking for Saturday soccer festivities before the 8 p.m. kickoff? You're in quite a bit of luck.
Sporting KC will host its first King of the Court futsal tournament on Saturday at Shawnee Park in Kansas City, Kansas (S. 7th St. & Shawnee Ave.), consisting of 5-v-5 matches for age groups 8-12 as well as 13 and up. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT, featuring a block party complete with music, yard games, skills challenges, food trucks, music DJs and more. Tournament registration is free for all teams and remains open at SportingKC.com/kingofthecourt.
And in case you somehow missed it, the 2018 FIFA World Cup is now underway. No Other Pub, Sporting KC's World Cup headquarters, will open early at 9 a.m. every World Cup matchday to show games live on the venue's 150-square-foot video wall and surrounding HDTV screens. Food and drink specials will be available every morning — we're talking bloody marys, mimosas, breakfast tacos and biscuits and gravy — and attendees can enter to win a variety giveaways including Sporting KC tickets. Saturday's lineup of games is highlighted by a David vs. Goliath matchup between underdogs Iceland and an Argentina squad led by Lionel Messi.