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U.S. Open Cup

Sporting KC advances to U.S. Open Cup semis after wild extra-time finish

Though Sporting KC went a man down in the 13th minute of Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, it was the shorthanded team thatemerged not only winner, but a man up after extra time.

Sporting KC knocked off defending U.S. Open Cup champions FC Dallas by grinding out a physical affair and winning 3-0 after 120 minutes at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Sporting will go on to face San Jose Earthquakes in the semifinal.

A red card to Seth Sinovic for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity in only the 13th minute put Sporting KC in a precarious position. The home team fended off attacks throughout the 90 minutes from FC Dallas to preserve slender hopes of advancing.

That’s when the whole match changed. Maxi Urruti was sent off for a foul against Ike Opara in the 101st minute. Opara appeared to be knocked unconscious and was stretchered off. FC Dallas set up Sporting’s match-clinching goals when Javier Morales was sent off for a similar DOGSO in the fifth minute of stoppage time in the first extra time period.

In the heavily lengthened stoppage period due to the delay for Opara’s injury, Latif Blessing found himself in on goal and slotted it in for Sporting’s one-goal advantage. He added five minutes later in a bizarre way. An FC Dallas player far removed from the play kept Blessing on as a deflected shot hit the back of his boot and rolled in.

Daniel Salloi tacked on another for Sporting KC as the second half of extra time died down.

Referee Younes Marrakchi has several all-important, difficult calls to make in the match. He got few of them wrong, however, and a chippy affair left three players ejected.

Both teams managed to play strong squads while missing players due to the Gold Cup. Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer were gone on U.S. Men’s National Team duty for Sporting KC, while FC Dallas missed Maynor Figueroa (Honduras), Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta (United States).

Sporting will get a lengthy break before resuming league play away to Real Salt Lake on July 22. FC Dallas also has time to rest before facing the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on July 22.

MAN OF THE MATCH

20-year-old centerback Erik Palmer-Brown turned in an outstanding performance that ensured Sporting wouldn’t allow a single while operating a man down for most of the match.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Sporting seldom looked like advancing in this tilt, but Latif Blessing’s extra time go-ahead goal turned the tides. Blessing added another later, although it appeared he didn’t mean to turn the ball in.

MATCH TO FORGET

FC Dallas striker Maxi Urruti found himself in on goal a few times in the match, but missed his opportunity to grab what looked like a sure win with FC Dallas having a man advantage almost all of regulation.

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