Sporting Kansas City lifted its third U.S. Open Cup trophy and fourth major trophy in six years on Wednesday night, after a 2-1 victory over New York Red Bulls.
The 104th installment of the US Soccer’s club champion was played out in front of a 21,523 crowd being the third largest in the history of Children’s Mercy Park.
With the right mix of long-serving veterans and impact newcomers Peter Vermes side were in control from the start. The hosts almost went ahead as early as the 3rd minute through Gerson Fernandes, but a last ditch tackle from Aaron Long saw his effort thwarted.
Sacha Kljestan was involved in a couple of opportunities at the opposite end, but it was the homeside that finally went ahead in the 25th minute after Latif Blessing rose highest to meet Graham Zusi’s inch-perfect cross from the right to make it 1-0 for SKC. Blessing finally limped off 2 minutes before the interval with a thigh contusion injury.
Salloi who had replaced Blessing doubled SkC’s lead in the 66th minute sprinting onto a perfectly weighted long ball from Benny Feilhaber and poking past Meara to score his third goal this 2017 Open Cup campaign.
The Red Bulls cut their deficit in half in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Gonzalo Veron’s blistering shot through traffic was repelled by the diving Melia, but Wright-Phillips was on hand to hammer the rebound into the roof of the net for his 19th goal of the year in all competitions.
SKC coach Vermes spoke of the importance of winning this cup: “As an organization, this is a very, very valued championship to us because of the nature that all the different levels can play in this tournament. It’s pretty unique in sports.
“If I remember correctly, ninety-nine teams started out in this tournament. So for us to hoist a trophy at the end of the knockout stage, it’s pretty impressive by this group. And to have done it for a third time now, in our new ownership’s tenor, it’s pretty special.”