A Daniel Salloi brace and a world-class volley from substitute Yohan Croizet propelled Sporting Kansas City to a wild 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Saturday at raucous Children’s Mercy Park.
The dramatic win sends reigning Open Cup champion Sporting KC to the quarterfinals of the 2018 tournament, where they will travel to face the winner of Monday’s match between the Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United FC on a date to be determined.
FC Dallas landed the first punch through Carlos Gruezo in the 18th minute, but Salloi equalized just before halftime and gave his side the lead in the 66th minute. Roland Lamah’s deflected effort drew FC Dallas level on 77 minutes, but Croizet’s jaw-dropping strike in the 89th minute capped an instant classic and preserved Sporting KC’s dreams of hoisting a fifth Open Cup title.
The result extends Sporting KC’s home unbeaten streak against FC Dallas to 10 games in all competitions and marks the third time in four years that FC Dallas’ Open Cup run has ended in defeat at Children’s Mercy Park. In each of the three previous seasons Sporting KC has eliminated FC Dallas from the Open Cup, the club has proceeded to win the tournament championship—doing so in 2004, 2015 and 2017.
Manager Peter Vermes shuffled his lineup to the tune of three changes from last Saturday’s scoreless draw at the Portland Timbers. Center back Emiliano Amor, forward Diego Rubio and goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas earned starting nods in place of injured defender Matt Besler and rested duo Johnny Russell and Tim Melia, respectively. Roger Espinoza donned the captain’s armband in his 20th career U.S. Open Cup appearance, tying Besler for the most in club history.
A thrilling battle between the top two teams in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference saw head coach Oscar Pareja’s men start brightly, and their early dominance was rewarded on 18 minutes when Maximiliano Urruti sprung Michael Barrios free down the right channel. The diminutive forward’s first-time strike was saved by Zendejas, but Barrios lobbed the rebound over Sporting KC’s outstretched goalkeeper and allowed Gruezo to tap home from point-blank range.
The hosts slowly gained a foothold and conjured their first chance in the 33rd minute as Espinoza’s tackle allowed Salloi to scoop up the loose ball and play to Rubio, who weaved into the penalty area and sent a shot straight at goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Eight minutes later, Gonzalez lept at full extension to palm Espinoza’s header wide following Graham Zusi’s set piece delivery.
Sporting KC restored parity in the 43rd minute, but not before hitting the woodwork twice in the 60 seconds prior to pulling even. Amor’s powerful header off Zusi’s corner kick rattled the crossbar, then Ike Opara’s rebound attempt struck the left post. An exasperated crowd turned joyous, however, when the ball recycled back to Zusi on the left wing. His pinpoint service to the far post was nodded back across the face of goal by Opara and slammed into a gaping net by Salloi.
The second half unfolded in electrifying fashion as both sides traded jabs in a vintage Open Cup clash. Sporting KC almost surged ahead in the 49th minute when Ilie’s delectable long ball over the top was cushioned down by Gerso Fernandes into the path of Espinoza, who rifled narrowly wide with his patented left boot.
Salloi struck again halfway through the second period on a well-worked move involving three Sporting KC homegrown players. Outside back Jaylin Lindsey worked his way into the attacking third and played the ball to Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, who then picked out Salloi in a small pocket of space at the top of the box. The 21-year-old forward promptly unleashed a low piledriver that left Gonzalez no chance.
FC Dallas responded positively, however, and knotted the score when Zendejas’ punch off a floated ball into the box fell to the feet of Lamah. The forward cut onto his left foot and fired low through traffic, the ball taking multiple deflections before nestling into the far left corner.
The final twist in Saturday’s plot ignited euphoric celebrations across Children’s Mercy Park, as Croizet produced one of the greatest goals in the stadium’s history. Khiry Shelton’s drive into the box was halted by Maynor Figueroa, who steered the ball high into the air. Stationed 25 yards from goal, Croizet, who had entered the match just four minutes earlier, caught the ball perfectly on a blazing, first-time volley that sailed into the upper left corner. The Frenchman’s magisterial strike would be enough to separate the sides and vault Sporting KC to the quarterfinals.
Vermes' men will remain home next Saturday for the resumption of their MLS regular season campaign against rivals Houston Dynamo (6-5-3, 21 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the contest—a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Knockout Round in which Houston prevailed 1-0 after extra time—are on sale now at SeatGeek.com. FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will air three hours of live television coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT, while the Sporting KC Uphoria app will provide in-game updates.
2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Fifth Round (Round of 16)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, KS
Weather: 89 degrees and sunny
|Sporting Kansas City (2-0-0)||1||2||3|
|FC Dallas (1-1-0)||1||1||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Adrian Zendejas; Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Emiliano Amor, Jaylin Lindsey; Kuzain, Ilie, Roger Espinoza (C); Gerso Fernandes (Khiry Shelton 75), Diego Rubio (Johnny Russell 65), Daniel Salloi (Yohan Croizet 85)
Subs Not Used: Eric Dick, Amer Didic, Colton Storm, Kharlton Belmar
FC Dallas: Jesse Gonzalez; Reggie Cannon, Matt Hedges (C), Reto Ziegler, Maynor Figueroa; Kellyn Acosta (Jacori Hayes 59), Victor Ulloa, Carlos Gruezo (Tesho Akindele 71), Roland Lamah; Michael Barrios (Ryan Hollingshead 84), Maximiliano Urruti
Subs Not Used: Jimmy Mauer, Jordan Cano, Paxton Pomykal, Ema Twumasi
FCD - Carlos Gruezo 1 (Michael Barrios 1) 18
SKC - Daniel Salloi 1 (Ike Opara 1, Graham Zusi 1) 43
SKC - Daniel Salloi 2 (Wan Kuzain 1) 66
FCD - Roland Lamah 1 (unassisted) 77
SKC - Yohan Croizet 1 (unassisted) 89
FCD - Roland Lamah (yellow card; argument) 20
FCD - Michael Barrios (yellow card; not retreating) 37
FCD - Jacori Hayes (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 72
FCD - Victor Ulloa (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 74
SKC - Emiliano Amor (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 83
|Shots on Goal||8||7|
Referee: Ramy Touchan
Assistant Referee: Kyle Atkins
Assistant Referee: Jeremy Kieso
Fourth Official: Jack Feldman