Sporting KC ousted from U.S. Open Cup
This wasn’t how Sporting Kansas City expected to suffer its first loss at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Not after an 81-minute rain delay.
Not in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
And not to a USL PRO squad.
That’s exactly what happened Tuesday night as the visiting Richmond Kickers kicked Sporting KC out of the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-0 loss.
USL PRO is considered to be the third tier of professional soccer in the United States. Major League Soccer is the top tier, and the North American Soccer League is the second.
The loss snapped Sporting Kansas City’s 12-match unbeaten streak, tied for the best in franchise history.
“Obviously we’re upset,” Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg said of the loss. “We would have loved to play the semifinal here. We just have to move on and focus on the season and keep getting points.”
Richmond’s Shaka Bangura buried the game-winner in the 66th minute, moments after the rain delay ended. At that point, the game had been scoreless.
David Bulow tacked on a penalty kick in the 83rd minute to ice the victory.
Sporting KC had plenty of opportunities to score before the rain delay. Aurelien Collin missed connecting with Scott Lorenz on a strong attack in the 19th minute. A few minutes later, Kei Kamara found Lorenz at the near post, but his heel-flick shot hit the post.
Chance Myers missed just wide off of a corner kick in the 31st minute.
Finally, in first half stoppage time, Kamara uncorked a bicycle kick shot that sailed just inches over the crossbar.
Kamara nearly scored in the 51st minute when his header off of a cross from Michael Harrington went just wide of the post. Three minutes later, Teal Bunbury put a shot over the crossbar.
That was Sporting KC’s last chance before the rain delay.
When action resumed, it was all Richmond.
“They scored 57 seconds in …” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said of Richmond’s quick goal after play resumed. “Congratulations to them, they deserved it. They scored two goals at the end of the game. I wish them good luck in the rest of the tournament. We obviously just didn’t want it enough when we started the second half. When you get your chance, you have to take your opportunity. The guys that were out there didn’t take their opportunity, so we had to put some others in. That’s on them.”
Sporting KC outshot Richmond 22-7 for the match without netting a goal.
Vermes expressed frustration with his team’s effort after the rain delay.
“To come out in the second half and give that away, it’s almost like some guys were just walking around the field,” he said. “It’s unacceptable, it’s embarrassing, and everybody’s going to know about it in the next couple of days, that’s for sure.”
Sporting KC next plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Houston Dynamo.