September 21, 2017

By The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: September 20, 2017 11:27:29 PM

Sporting takes U.S. Open Cup with 2-1 win over Red Bulls

Sporting Kansas City scored a goal in each half to defeat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday night at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
It was the fourth U.S. Open Cup championship for Sporting KC.
Sporting was founded as the Kansas City Wizards, one of the original clubs in MLS, by Hunt, who also was a co-founder of the American Football League and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sporting also won the U.S. Open Cup title in 2004, 2012 and 2015. This was their fourth major trophy (MLS Cup in 2013) in the past six years. The Red Bulls were trying for their first Open Cup title in their second Finals appearance (2003).
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored in the first minute of stoppage time to draw New York to within 2-1, but Sporting was able to hold on. Felipe Martins' free kick in the final seconds sailed high and the final whistle marked the end of the match.
SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia played every minute of the club's five Open Cup matches, and gave up just two goals in the five. The 22-year-old head-to-head series with two MLS originals saw SKC improve to 22-21-13 across all competitions.
Sporting hasn't suffered a home loss in the U.S. Open Cup since 2014 (eight matches) and is 12-0-6 at home this year in all competitions.
After early back-and-forth action, Sporting finally got on the board in the 26th minute. Graham Zusi fed a beautiful lob from the right wing into the middle of the box, where 5-6 striker Latif Blessing soared over three 6-feet plus defenders to head the ball past Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
In the 46th minute, Wright-Phillips nearly leveled the match on a low line drive that was snared by Melia. The Red Bulls kept up the pressure, but each time Sporting's defense pressed back.
In the 66th minute, Daniel Salloi appeared to ice the game with a dribbler past Meara. Seth Sinovic lofted a long pass from just inside midfield. Salloi split the defenders and got to the ball before Meara did just outside the 18-yard box. He deflected the ball with his right foot past a diving Meara and the sell-out crowd in Kansas City erupted.
The first half started with end-to-end action, with both sides attacking the defensive end. Neither side was able to organize enough to make much of a threat, as neither team had a shot on goal until the 19th minute. Once Blessing's shot found the back of the net, the game opened up