Tuesday, June 28, 2011

US Open Cup 3rd Round

I know I keep saying "I should have pics up later..." but I will... Seriously...

When I got to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, I was given photo bib #9 (we have to wear these green things to make sure people know, if they didn't see our credentials, that we can be on the field). I remarked at the time, "Maybe this means that Teal Bunbury (#9) will score tonight?" In the third minute, Teal Bunbury did in fact score. Good thing I bought lottery tickets before the game too. I also got a good pic of Teal that I will be giving to Wikipedia, since his page doesn't have one.

Eric Kronberg stopped the only shot Chicago put on net (they had 5 shots total) with Milos Stojcev and Kei Kamara scoring in the 2nd half for a final tally of 3-0. This puts Sporting KC into the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup and they will host the Richmond Kickers, who defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1. The game will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Tuesday, July 12th at 7:30pm. This means the team has 6 home dates in July, including the international friendly with Newcastle United on July 20th.

Across all competitions, Sporting KC is now on a 9-game unbeaten streak with wins in 4 of their last 5 matches. Kronberg has not yet allowed a goal in 3 Open Cup matches. Chicago came close, but the one time they did get the ball into the net, it was ruled out for offside.

The team is playing fairly well, even though they did have a lull for most of the first half after Bunbury's goal. As Peter Vermes said after the game, he'd warned them about not taking this game seriously enough in the lead-up to it and was even more forceful during halftime because they didn't seem to be keeping that warning in mind. They had several chances to extend their lead in the first half, but they just didn't seem to be able to capitalize.

But the main thing is that they're into the quarterfinals of the Open Cup, the winner of which gets an entry into the CONCACAF Champions League for 2012. Vermes made it clear after the match that he feels that this team has as good a chance as any team that's still left in the competition and whenever you have a chance to win silverware for the club, you need to take it. Maybe this means the team will make a concerted effort to win the tournament and hope that their form also extends to league play. With 14 of their last 19 at home (plus any additional home dates for Open Cup play), Sporting KC has an incredible opportunity to make a run at a playoff spot and possibly pull off the double (Open Cup and MLS Cup). I'm not saying they will, but it's a possibility.

That's all for now. See you soon...

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