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Sporting KC squeak out 2-1 win over Omaha in US Open Cup

It wasn’t pretty, but Sporting Kansas City advance in US Open Cup with 2-1 win over Union Omaha on the road.



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City squeak out a 2-1 victory over Union Omaha in front of a sold out crowd at Caniglia Field, home of the University of Nebraska-Omaha men’s and women’s soccer teams.

[Fair warning: this first half recap will feel a bit harsh, but if you watched the game, you know the team deserves it.]

The first half was about as uneventful of a 45-minutes as Sporting Kansas City has had this season. It should be noted that the starting XI was comprised of mostly backups and players who don’t see the field during the regular season. That being said, the team was disorganized at every level.

The first 15 minutes looked like a typical MLS vs USL League 1 matchup. Sporting pressed forward while the Owls had all 11 players defending. Yet somehow, SKC could not put it together. A lot of passing without a purpose.

Willy Agada, Marinos Tzionis and Khiry Shelton looked like they were all given different gameplans. If not for Erik Thommy, the offense would have been completely non-existent.

You don’t expect a team of backups to have all the chemistry in the world, but against a lower-division team, you expect them to at least pull of a string of passes that ends in a shot on goal.

I mean no offense to Union Omaha. They had a gameplan in place and they stuck to it. It worked. The Owls didn’t get forward a lot, but when they did, they were always a good pass in the attacking third away from scoring. Tip of the cap to Union Omaha.

As disjointed as SKC looked, the two most dangerous attacks came from individual efforts from Felipe Hernandez in the 27th minute and Thommy in the 32nd.

Both ended in a save from goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu, albeit the save against Hernandez was a little more straight forward.

Sporting was caught flat footed in the 32nd minute when speedster Dion Acoff beat Robert Voloder on the wing to drive a ball across goal. A bad touch ended up becoming a fortunate bounce when the ball found the feet of Lagos Kunga who gave Omaha the lead

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Omaha gained confidence after their goal, and it looked like they were going to score another if not for more decision-making mistakes in the attacking third.

It felt like Sporting never got off the bus in the first half.

Sporting started the second half with a pair of changes to help spark the offense. Memo Rodriguez and Daniel Salloi subbed in for Shelton and Hernandez. Before the pair could make their presence felt on the field, Tzionis stole the ball in Omaha’s half and took the ball himself to the top of the box rolled a ball in to the far-bottom corner to tie the match.

Though fortunate, the goal was just the beginning of a much more energized second half for Peter Vermes’ men, but Omaha did not bow down.

The Owls continues to be plagued by poor decision making in the attacking third making their efforts to regain the lead futile.

Thommy and Agada would end their nights in the 62nd minute and 69th minute, respectively, making way for Alan Pulido and Johnny Russell.

Sporting began to gain momentum and string together passes, but still were unable to create many quality shots to test Nuhu. It was not until the 88th minute when a strike from distance from Russell required a full stretch from Nuhu to keep the score level.

The subs allowed Sporting to look more fluid in possession, but there remained a lack of creative chance creation moving forward.

That brings us to extra time! Free soccer!

Omaha looked dangerous in the first five minutes of the extra period. Ryen Jiba pushed it just wide of Pulskamp’s goal in the 94th minute.

In the 100th minute, Russell beautifully controlled a long ball from Rodriguez and hit a curling shot on the half volley that kissed the post in the 100th minute in Sporting’s only dangerous move in the first period of extra time.

Despite continued efforts to find the winning goal via a cross into the box, Sporting found little success when it comes to playing service into the area. Empty cross after empty cross ended in resets back to the defensive line or a squandered counter by Union Omaha.

It took until the absolute dying embers of extra time, while nearly everyone was getting ready for a penalty shootout, for Sporting KC to break the dead lock. Off a pass from Tzionis, Pulido fires a shot from outside the 18-yard box that skips past Nuhu with 30 seconds left on the clock.

It wasn’t pretty, but Sporting advance. A performance most fans will not applaud, ends with the team advancing to take on FC Tulsa at home.

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Can I say, beyond the performance, those unis are ass. They look like any other random Adidas youth soccer team. Some time last week there was a picture of Dom Dwyer in the old Stateline kit – now THOSE were SKC jerseys. I don’t love the hoops and I go back and forth on the argyle, but the club deserves something that says, “Hey, that’s SKC.” Well, that, along with new management…

Mister Murse

They look so much better in person.


Nothing encapsulates this season more than a sense of embarrassed relief at barely squeaking by a minor-league team last year’s “worse” team beat handily.


An opportunity to post this will come up when someone finally posts the Current article, but we done got goalied again…

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