Sporting KC came home Saturday only to tie the Houston Dynamo. They were then sent back on the road, to Philadelphia, where they played the Philadelphia Union for a spot in the US Open Cup Final (the Union beat Sporting 4- 0 the last time they played). Sporting won despite having the ball only 43% of the game. When they did have the ball, they controlled the game. The first goal for Sporting came in the 65th minute when Graham Zusi delivered a striking pass to Jacob Peterson who shot and scored for his third goal in the past three weeks. After three minutes of added time, Graham Zusi capitalized on a goal scoring opportunity and scored the second goal of the game. Sporting KC’s manager Peter Vermes said,
“It was a great result for us tonight. I think what happens sometimes when you play at home like this, and I mean the Union, you feel the obligation to drive the game. You have to make the game happen, and I think that we were difficult and organized… We found a lot of good opportunities in the second half, because they had to stretch to make the game.”
Sporting KC will host the US Open Cup Final against the Seattle Sounders (whom they played and beat 1-0 a month ago). The Sounders beat Chivas USA 4-1. With goals coming in the 31st, 48th, 83rd, and 88th minute for the Sounders. For Chivas, the only goal came in the 74th. Sporting KC’s goalie Jimmy Nielsen said,
“We are all looking forward to that. We had a meeting last night and talked about how awesome it would be to host the final and I am sure Kansas City will go crazy.” He also said, “It is all or nothing in this tournament. If you win, you go to the next round and if you lose you’re out. I think we showed a very good attitude and mentality for those games… It was a tight game, it was a close game and the game could have gone either way but today was our turn and we are looking forward to hosting the final.”
After games in Columbus and Houston, Sporting KC will return home to play the New England Revolution and the US Open Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.