Open Cup Preview: Sporting KC continues title defense Saturday vs. FC Dallas

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas
2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16
Saturday, June 16, 2018 | 8 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, KS
Live Stream: SportingKC.com
English Radio: Sports Radio 810 WHB

Uphoria App | By The Numbers | Five Things to Know
Game Notes | Media Guide | MatchCenter

Two of the top teams in Major League Soccer lock horns Saturday in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 as Sporting Kansas City welcomes FC Dallas to Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT and tickets for the match are available at SeatGeek.com. Saturday's encounter, which pits the champions of the last three U.S. Open Cup titles, will stream live on SportingKC.com and air on Sports Radio 810 WHB, with additional in-game updates provided by the Sporting KC Uphoria app.

  • ADVISORY: All fans attending Saturday's match are permitted to bring one (1) sealed 20-oz. or less bottle of water into the stadium.

Reigning Open Cup champions and current Western Conference leaders Sporting KC are coming off a scoreless draw at the Portland Timbers last Saturday. The result kept Manager Peter Vermes men level with FC Dallas on 29 points — Sporting KC holds the tiebreaker by virtue of greater goal difference — and gave goalkeeper Tim Melia his seventh clean sheet in his last 11 appearances dating back to March 31.

Sporting KC reached the Open Cup Round of 16 thanks to a 2-0 road win over Real Salt Lake on June 6. Forward Johnny Russell bagged his team-leading sixth goal in all competitions before setting up Kharlton Belmar for his first Sporting KC goal to seal the victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.

FC Dallas has lost just once in 14 league games this season, a 3-1 setback to New York City FC on April 29 at Yankee Stadium. Head coach Oscar Pareja’s side is currently on a five-game winning streak in all competitions, an impressive stretch that includes road wins at Toronto FC, LA Galaxy and San Antonio FC in the Open Cup Fourth Round on June 6.

Goalkeeper Jimmy Mauer started FC Dallas’ 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. FC Dallas is the only MLS team yet to be shut out this season, having scored in each of their 15 matches across all competitions.

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 — including a late goal from forward Daniel Salloi — 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 in 2016. 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. Vermes' team has won the competition in 2012, 2015 and 2017 to go with the club's first Open Cup championship in 2004. Sporting KC’s four Open Cup titles are tied with the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders FC for the most all-time among MLS clubs.

Sporting KC and FC Dallas have met three previous times in Open Cup competition, all of which taking place in the Kansas City area. 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. Sporting KC is a perfect 3-0-0 against FC Dallas in Open Cup play with 13 goals scored and two conceded.

In the recent series between Sporting KC and FC Dallas, home field advantage has been extra pronounced: the home side is 10-0-4 in the last 14 meetings across all competitions. Sporting KC is 6-0-1 in its last seven home meetings with FC Dallas, 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.

The 2018 U.S. Open Cup began May 6 with 97 teams from all levels of American soccer. The 105th edition of the storied tournament features a single-tiered bracket with eight rounds of single-elimination play until a champion is crowned in September.

2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match dates (subject to change)

  • Fifth Round – June 16-20
  • Quarterfinals – July 18
  • Semifinals – Aug. 8
  • Final – Sept. 26

The winner of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup will receive $300,000 in prize money, up from $250,000 last year. The tournament runner-up will receive $100,000 (up from $60,000) and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will earn $25,000 (up from $15,000). The 2018 champion will also receive a berth in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, a tournament Sporting KC has already qualified for as last year's champion.

The U.S. Open Cup, named in honor of the late soccer pioneer and former Kansas City Wizards owner Lamar Hunt since 1999, is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest-running open soccer tournament. An Open Cup champion has been crowned every year dating back to 1914.

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