Sporting KC beat the Seattle Sounders to win the 99th Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in dramatic fashion late Wednesday night. After battling through a 1-1 regular time draw and 22 minute of extra time, the game went into penalty kicks and Sporting KC prevailed allowing only two and scoring three. Nielsen, who made an incredible save and won the Cup for Sporting, said,
“I’m so happy right now, just extremely happy. It’s well deserved for this whole organization and this whole city. There are a lot of hard-working people in this organization, and they’re doing an excellent job to promote the soccer team… It’s unbelievable how this team has grown in the last year-and-a-half. It’s unreal. I’m happy for so many people on and around this team.”
Sporting KC’s only regular time goal came in the 84th minute when Kei Kamara scored on a penalty kick given to the Sounders. With such a late goal, Sporting KC thought they had won the game but the Sounders scored in the 86th minute on a Zach Scott header. Scott’s thoughts on his goal were,
“I knew their marking wasn’t as tight as they wanted it to be and we have so many guys who are good in the air. As long as Mauro (Rosales) put it into a good spot, which he always does, we knew we would have a chance. Fortunately, I was the guy in the right place at the right time and I was able to get just enough on it to tuck it into the corner.”
Sporting KC went into the 22 minutes of added time knowing something had to change and things did. Nielsen blocked all three shots on goal and Sporting KC just barely missed two shots, the first in the 92nd by Kei Kamara and the second in the 110th by Paulo Nagamura.
The game went into penalty kicks with the first one going to Sporting KC. Kei Kamara delivered a right-footed shot to the left corner of the goal. Brad Evans, of the Sounders, tied it up scoring with a right-footed shot to the bottom left corner. Roger Espinoza took Sporting KC’s second shot but failed to score. Marc Burch took the Sounders’ third shot. Burch converted the penalty kick with a left-footed shot to the high center of the goal. Mat Besler was next in SKC’s lineup. Besler scored tying the PK’s at 2. Osvaldo Alonso took the Sounders’ third shot but sent a right-footed shot sailing into the stands. Graham Zusi also sailed his shot wide right. Christian Tiffert took the Sounders final shot but was amazingly blocked by Jimmy Nielsen. Paulo Nagamura took Sporting’s final shot only to be blocked by Christian Tiffert. However, the Sounders goalie was offsides and Nagamura got to take his shot again, this time scoring and putting sporting ahead 3-2. Former Wizard, Eddie Johnson, stepped up to take his free kick but missed, sailing the ball into the stands and giving Sporting KC the name US Open Cup champions.