Now that’s a strike worthy of deciding a match.
Yohan Croizet’s breathtaking volley in the 89th minute of Saturday’s feisty battle between Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park propelled the hosts to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
The world-class finish provided a fitting end to an instant classic between two of the best teams in Major League Soccer that currently sit tied atop the Western Conference table. And like any other epic Open Cup encounter involving Sporting KC over the last half-decade, the final outcome — a wild 3-2 victory — required a re-writing of team history books.
We begin with the late-game hero, as Croizet delivered supporters a prompt reminder of his technical quality just before the clock struck 90 minutes. The Frenchman’s 25-yard missile was the second-latest regulation game-winner in Sporting KC’s Open Cup history, and although we shouldn’t subject ourselves to topics of opinion, it just might have been the greatest Sporting KC goal ever scored in the prestigious tournament.
When joyous postgame celebrations finally died down and Sporting KC players returned to the locker room, Manager Peter Vermes may have summed it up best during his press conference with media.
“At the end, it was a wonder goal,” Vermes said of Croizet’s strike. “That’s like Zinedine Zidane’s goal. What a fantastic finish. What a great way to stick one in the back of the net.”
Croizet’s magic came just four minutes after he entered the match for red-hot forward Daniel Salloi, the 21-year-old Academy product, bagged his first career brace in a Sporting KC uniform and now owns a tie for second place on the club’s all-time Open Cup scoring charts. The Hungarian also becomes Kansas City’s second-youngest player to score twice in a competitive match.
SPORTING KC: YOUNGEST PLAYERS TO SCORE A BRACE
(ALL-TIME, ALL COMPETITIONS)
|Latif Blessing||20 years, 134 days||05/13/2017||T 2-2 at Orlando City SC||MLS|
|Latif Blessing||20 years, 193 days||07/11/2017||W 3-0 vs. FC Dallas (ET)||Open Cup|
|Daniel Salloi||21 years, 332 days||06/17/2018||W 3-2 vs. FC Dallas||Open Cup|
|Matt McKeon||22 years, 240 days||05/22/1997||W 3-1 vs. Columbus Crew||MLS|
|Matt Taylor||22 years, 246 days||06/19/2004||W 3-1 at New England Revolution||MLS|
SPORTING KC: LEADING GOAL SCORERS IN U.S. OPEN CUP (ALL-TIME)
“We know how to compete in this cup competition,” Salloi said after the match. “I think this is huge. We had a big advantage that we played at home, and I think we had a great performance. Yohan, wow – that was unreal. I’ve never seen a goal like that. I’m super happy that we could win, especially that we didn’t have to go into overtime. I think this is big and hopefully we can go all the way.”
In the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Sporting KC will travel to face the winner of Monday’s match between the Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United FC on a date to be determined. And while Sporting KC’s path to another Open Cup title remains uncertain, fans will be hoping that history repeats itself for the fourth time in 2018.
That’s because 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.
On a related note, Saturday’s result extends Sporting KC’s home unbeaten streak against FC Dallas to 10 games in all competitions — eight wins and two draws, to be exact — and marks the third time in four years that FC Dallas’ Open Cup run has ended in defeat at Children’s Mercy Park.
SPORTING KC vs. FC DALLAS IN U.S. OPEN CUP (ALL-TIME)
|Date||Result||Round||Open Cup Result|
|07/01/2015||W 6-2||Round of 16||Champions|
|07/11/2017||W 3-0 (ET)||Quarterfinals||Champions|
|06/16/2018||W 3-2||Round of 16||?|
SPORTING KC’S LAST 10 HOME GAMES vs. FC DALLAS IN ALL COMPETITIONS
|07/01/2015||W 6-2||Open Cup|
|07/11/2017||W 3-0 (ET)||Open Cup|
|06/16/2018||W 3-2||Open Cup|
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.