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The Rematch: Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas Open Cup Preview

Can Sporting Kansas City beat Dallas in back-to-back games? They’ve never lost to them in the US Open Cup before.

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'But he didn't even touch your face.' -- Erik Thommy (probably) | Credit: Thad Bell

When: Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at 8:00pm

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How t0 Watch: Apple MLS Season Pass (Free)

Wednesday brings a bit of a unique situation. Sporting Kansas City will host FC Dallas in the US Open Cup, just three days after defeating them, also at home, in MLS play. Rarely do teams play, in the same venue, but in different competitions mere days apart. It’s not uncommon in soccer to have a home and away series but this is a bit of a unicorn.

With the way things ended on Sunday, particularly between Sporting KC backup left back Zorhan Bassong and Dallas winger Paul Arriola, things may get heated. If you missed it, in the dying minutes of stoppage time Bassong disagreed with a throw that didn’t go his way, so he obstructed Arriola’s ability to complete a throw in by hopping up and down in front of him.

In response, Arriola blasted the ball off of Bassong’s face, to which he didn’t take kindly. He chest bumped Arriola forcefully to the ground. The 5’11 Bassong and the supposedly 5’6 Arriola’s chests don’t quite line up and Arriola took a tumbled grabbing his face. It seemed clear there was no contact to his face, but Bassong was given a straight red (he was on a yellow already, so he would be gone regardless) and Arriola was given a yellow.

Watch for yourself.

The grab of the face is a flop and a grinning Arriola was captured by our own Thad Bell tells the story that he knew what he was doing.

Credit: Thad Bell

After the game, Peter Vermes, who admitted he hadn’t seen a replay, thought it was probably incorrect to only give Arriola a yellow since he deliberately threw the ball off Bassong’s face. To be clear, Vermes agreed Bassong should see a card and he in no way excused his behavior. I suspect the MLS Disciplinary Committee will weigh in, but they have yet to do so.

Whatever the outcome, it definitely will add some tension to Wednesday’s US Open Cup quarterfinal match, which is already of paramount importance for both clubs that are struggling in the league table.

Perhaps the best part? Bassong is eligible to play on Wednesday since his suspension only applies to MLS play. And logically, it may make sense to play him with Tim Leibold having just started on Sunday and KC in the middle of five games in 14 days. Leibold basically has to start this weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes, so saving him a bit could be logical. And let’s be honest, it’ll be a dig at Dallas to put Bassong back out there.

The Game Itself

While the Bassong/Arriola story line is fun, actual soccer needs to be played on Wednesday night. If the 3-2, back and forth, showdown from Sunday is any indication, it could be another fun affair.

Both teams are just three wins away from lifting the US Open Cup trophy. If KC can pull it off, it would help salvage an otherwise painful season and be their first trophy since 2017. In the intervening years since that 2017 Open Cup win, Sporting KC have been close a few times. In 2018 they made it to the Western Conference finals, only to come up short of an MLS Cup appearance. In 2022, SKC fell in the US Open Cup semifinal against USL Championship side Sacramento Republic on PKs after a 120-minute 0-0 draw.

For Dallas, it’s been slightly longer. They won the 2016 US Open Cup.

And these teams have a history in the Open Cup. In 2018, Yohan Croizet scored one of the best-looking goals I’ve ever seen to win it in the 89th minute. Then there was one of the best games I can recall in Open Cup history where Sporting KC got a 15th minute Seth Sinovic red card, but KC managed to drag the game into extra time level at 0-0 before Maxi Urruti got a second yellow for a scary bicycle kick to Ike Opara had him sent off. KC would go on to score three goals in a game that pushed them towards their eventual lifting of the cup.

History is on Kansas City’s side, as they have won all five prior Open Cup games against FC Dallas. In fact, they have always scored at least three goals in those victories, even scoring six in the 2015 meeting.

Who Actually Plays?

The lineups on Wednesday could be very important. Sunday was probably not an indication of what both teams will show in this do-or-die game, since both teams used heavily rotated lineups. Dallas will surely start star striker Petar Musa among others.

Sporting KC are harder to know what they will go with. I don’t think we’ll see a 4-2-3-1 again, despite it being a part of the victory. Alan Pulido looks lost in the midfield and Erik Thommy will surely start. Nemanja Radoja and Dany Rosero popped up on the injury report ahead of the game, but those could have been the minor injuries Vermes was referring to postgame.

I suspect KC are back in a 4-3-3, but who plays where is up for debate. Remi Walter is said to be getting closer to returning. Even if he can play, I’d have to imagine they use him as a sub first. The trio of Jake Davis, Radoja and Thommy has been effective with the ability to bring in Memo to keep things fresh.

Defense is very up in the air, but if Davis is in the midfield, Pierre is the best option at right back. Castellanos playing twice in a few days off an injury seems unlikely, so I imagine it’s back to the pairing of Rosero and Voloder. Left back Bassong makes sense to get at Dallas and to give Leibold a rest before he’s forced to start Saturday.

The forward line could be anyone. Willy Agada has surely earned another start after his brace. On the left, it could be Salloi or Afrifa, though the prior game before Sunday was Tzionis. Russell probably has the job on the right, but Vargas is ready in waiting to impact the game.

Whatever lineup is put out, Vermes shouldn’t be afraid to go to the bench as early as halftime to switch things up if it’s not working or fatigue is setting in. This is Sporting KC’s last realistic shot at a trophy in 2024 and they need to do everything possible to advance.

The winner faces the winner of Indy Eleven (USL) and Atlanta United, who play on Tuesday at 6:00 PM CDT.

We’ll leave you with this, one more time, before Wednesday.

8 Comments
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KCOutsider

It’s yet another edition of the Urology Cup!

Sid Much Rock

In your ‘who starts’ section do you have to talk about the goal keeper? Hasn’t Pulskamp started all of our other Open Cup games? Generally Peter runs his 2nd keeper all the way to the end of Open Cup doesn’t he? Assuming Pulskamp isn’t off with the Olympic team (he’ll be summoned only if necessary, right?), could we see him start?

Kat

Pulskamp is already gone, Davis leaves after Open Cup.

https://x.com/thebackpost/status/1810722678141227066?s=46&t=i6KXgxUyVERFgFY0wKr1cw

Sid Much Rock

Indy Eleven won! Let’s vanquish Dallas and then go take care of business against a USL Championship side.

Kat

That was an awesome result! Hoping Sac can pull out a big win over Seattle in a bit. I love having Euros, Copa, and Open Cup all on the same day!

KCOutsider

I continue to find it so pathetic that the MLS site now pretends that any MLS loss to a non-MLS side, whether USOC or CCC or whatever, just never happened. It’s Orwell-level stuff and it undercuts their credibility. They used to be a fairly comprehensive source of league news and now it’s just such a sad collection of puffery.

ar_jhawk

They could barely be bothered to play in the tournament. If not SKC, I hope a lower level side wins it. And I’m not a hundo on SKC because that just be a trophy to tout – “see, things are turning around”.

David in the chat

The quality of the site has plummeted. It’s sad.

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