To be honest, the first half of the U.S. Open Cup fourth round match-up between Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United FC wasn't very good at all. The fact the jerseys for both teams were fairly similar didn't help. Sporting KC changed to their training kits at halftime because Peter Vermes said the players were having trouble with passing to the wrong people, or just finding their own teammates.
The second half was much better. The entry of Alex Martinez for the hosts was a lift, both in terms of energy and the quality of possession. The 50th minute red card shown to defender Cristiano Dias for an aerial collision with Dom Dwyer didn't hurt either, although both coaches disagreed on what color the card should have been.
MN United coach Manny Lagos said after the game that the red card had "ruined a good night of soccer." He said that both teams were playing well, but the ref had changed the game. Lagos said that while there was a player down on the pitch, the ref didn't check to see how Dwyer was, but just went straight for the red card. He also said that Dwyer was back on the pitch five seconds later. He said that he thought it was a yellow card, but not a red.
Vermes, on the other hand, thought it was a reckless challenge and deserved the red card. He said they've seen a lot of different kinds of red cards in league play and he thought the play deserved the ejection. Vermes also said he thought there could have been one earlier in the match on a play in the penalty area that Dwyer ended up on the ground but there wasn't even a foul called.
Sporting's victory turns next week into a virtual home-and-home series with the Portland Timbers, who advanced with their victory over the Orlando City U-23s yesterday. The two teams will clash at Sporting Park in the U.S. Open Cup's fifth round on Tuesday, June 24, before traveling to face each other again in league play in Portland on Friday, June 27.
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