MLS Takes on MLS in US Open Cup: US Open Cup Round of 16 – SKC vs. DAL
Two of the top teams in Major League Soccer battled it out last night in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 when Sporting Kansas City welcomed FC Dallas to Children’s Mercy Park and thrilled more than 15,000 fans with an exciting game featuring young talent.
The future is bright for soccer in the USA. Last night Sporting Kansas City took on FC Dallas in the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and provided soccer fans with a great action packed evening.
Yohan Croizet stunner, Daniel Salloi brace lead Sporting KC to 3-2 Open Cup win over FC Dallas. It was Croizet’s remarkable 89th-minute volley that had fans on their feet screaming and it was the decisive goal that enabled the team to advance.
Croizet hits “best goal of my career”
After the match, Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said, “I thought that we were pressing, meaning that we wanted to get a goal. We were also being very smart with the ball. At the end, it was a wonder goal. That’s like Zinedine Zidane’s goal. What a fantastic finish.”
“What a great way to stick one in the back of the net,” added Vermes. “That’s big time. That ball is in the air. He hits it the first time. It’s great for us to go to the next round. I think we deserve it. We were good tonight. Don’t get me wrong, Dallas is a great team. They had their full lineup out there. It was a tough match. We managed the team really well over the last couple weeks, especially with injuries. It’s a big result for us.”
Homegrown talent Salloi also made a huge impact on the match as he scored twice earning his fifth and sixth goals of 2018.
Salloi is proof that the focus on player development at the Sporting KC Academy is highly successful. Hungarian native Salloi was signed with Sporting in 2016 and had joined the Sporting Kansas City Academy U-18s for the 2014-15 season.
Salloi has a history of scoring in the Open cup and fans may remember he scored the game-winner for KC in the Open Cup final in 2017. The striker was joined by several other Academy players on the pitch last night, making it an unforgettable evening for players, fans, and the club.
After the win, Salloi said, “We know how to compete in this Cup competition. I think this is huge. We had a big advantage that we played at home. I think we had a great performance. Nice goals. Yohan, wow – that was unreal. I’ve never seen a goal like that. I’m super happy that we could win, especially that we didn’t have to go into overtime. I think this is big and hopefully, we can go all the way.”
Here is the soccer recap from Sporting Kansas City on the match:
A Daniel Salloi brace and a world-class volley from substitute Yohan Croizet propelled Sporting Kansas City to a wild 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Saturday at raucous Children’s Mercy Park.
The dramatic win sends reigning Open Cup champion Sporting KC to the quarterfinals of the 2018 tournament, where they will travel to face the winner of Monday’s match between the Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United FC on a date to be determined.
FC Dallas landed the first punch through Carlos Gruezo in the 18th minute, but Salloi equalized just before halftime and gave his side the lead in the 66th minute. Roland Lamah’s deflected effort drew FC Dallas level on 77 minutes, but Croizet’s jaw-dropping strike in the 89th minute capped an instant classic and preserved Sporting KC’s dreams of hoisting a fifth Open Cup title.
The result extends Sporting KC’s home unbeaten streak against FC Dallas to 10 games in all competitions and marks the third time in four years that FC Dallas’ Open Cup run has ended in defeat at Children’s Mercy Park.
In each of the three previous seasons Sporting KC has eliminated FC Dallas from the Open Cup, the club has proceeded to win the tournament championship-doing so in 2004, 2015 and 2017.
Manager Peter Vermes shuffled his lineup to the tune of three changes from last Saturday’s scoreless draw at the Portland Timbers.
Center back Emiliano Amor, forward Diego Rubio and goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas earned starting nods in place of injured defender Matt Besler and rested duo Johnny Russell and Tim Melia, respectively. Roger Espinoza donned the captain’s armband in his 20th career U.S. Open Cup appearance, tying Besler for the most in club history.
A thrilling battle between the top two teams in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference saw head coach Oscar Pareja‘s men start brightly, and their early dominance was rewarded on 18 minutes when Maximiliano Urruti sprung Michael Barrios free down the right channel.
The diminutive forward’s first-time strike was saved by Zendejas, but Barrios lobbed the rebound over Sporting KC’s outstretched goalkeeper and allowed Gruezo to tap home from point-blank range.
The hosts slowly gained a foothold and conjured their first chance in the 33rd minute as Espinoza’s tackle allowed Salloi to scoop up the loose ball and play to Rubio, who weaved into the penalty area and sent a shot straight at goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Eight minutes later, Gonzalez lept at full extension to palm Espinoza’s header wide following Graham Zusi‘s set-piece delivery.
Sporting KC restored parity in the 43rd minute, but not before hitting the woodwork twice in the 60 seconds prior to pulling even.
Amor’s powerful header off Zusi’s corner kick rattled the crossbar, then Ike Opara‘s rebound attempt struck the left post. An exasperated crowd turned joyous, however, when the ball recycled back to Zusi on the left wing. His pinpoint service to the far post was nodded back across the face of goal by Opara and slammed into a gaping net by Salloi.
The second half unfolded in electrifying fashion as both sides traded jabs in a vintage Open Cup clash. Sporting KC almost surged ahead in the 49th minute when Ilie’s delectable long ball over the top was cushioned down by Gerso Fernandes into the path of Espinoza, who rifled narrowly wide with his patented left boot.
Salloi struck again halfway through the second period on a well-worked move involving three Sporting KC homegrown players. Outside back Jaylin Lindsey worked his way into the attacking third and played the ball to Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, who then picked out Salloi in a small pocket of space at the top of the box. The 21-year-old forward promptly unleashed a low piledriver that left Gonzalez no chance.
The final twist in Saturday’s plot ignited euphoric celebrations across Children’s Mercy Park, as Croizet produced one of the greatest goals in the stadium’s history.
Khiry Shelton‘s drive into the box was halted by Maynor Figueroa, who steered the ball high into the air. Stationed 25 yards from goal, Croizet, who had entered the match just four minutes earlier, caught the ball perfectly on a blazing, first-time volley that sailed into the upper left corner. The Frenchman’s magisterial strike would be enough to separate the sides and vault Sporting KC to the quarterfinals.
Photo Credit: Diane Scavuzzo