FC Dallas crashed out of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in a spectacular flaming disaster at Childrens Mercy Park. The Hoops took a two goal lead but missed a host of great chances in the first half before Sporting Kansas City came back in the second period. A red card and goal deep into stoppage time sent the game to extra time where SKC extended their USOC record to 5-0 against Dallas.
Rotation was the name of the game. Both Nico Estevez and Peter Vermes opting to switch from their usual 4-3-3. Dallas shaped up in a 3-4-3 while Sporting went for a 3-5-2 look. Nkosi Tafari was the only one of the 22 to survive the recent 2-2 draw.
Tafari was the veteran of a back three with Lucas Bartlett and Joshue Quinonez, flanked by Nanu and Eddie Munjoma. The central midfield had a familiar look with Brandon Servania coming off a suspension from the game two weeks ago, alongside Edwin Cerrillo who has had to settle for a place on the bench the past couple of games.
Franco Jara led the line with last season’s starting wingers – Szabolcs Schon and Jader Obrian – in support.
In something reminiscent to the Austin away game in 2021, both sides tried to play out of the back but only one seemed to know how. Also just like that was a Dallas press in the opposition box that produced a goal in the opening minutes. SKC keeper John Pulskamp rushed a pass under pressure from Jader Obrian. Franco Jara reacted first to intercept the pass before scoring from a tight angle.
Dallas were happy in possession, and equally happy to maintain a high line without it as Sporting Kansas City struggled in possession. The biggest threat to Dallas seemed to be how wasteful they were going forward. Jara and Obrian were both a toe away from tap-ins as FCD eased in behind the SKC wing backs, and Jara overran what seemed to be a golden opportunity to shoot in the box.
Eddie Munjoma doubled the lead in the 34th minute, finishing off a great passage of play that was highlighted by a great dummy and run from Jader Obrian before he fed Munjoma out on the left. With plenty of time to shape up to the ball, the Homegrown defender curled his effort nicely into the far corner.
Dallas looked comfortable going into the break but Sporting Kansas City came out for the second half with all the intensity.
“As the second half went on, you can see our legs go. We were having to defend more and more, and when we would win the ball our legs weren’t there to be sharp and keep possession, so it just it’s one of those games that just builds like that. You just keep sinking and sinking. You can feel it coming. We gave it everything we could, and tried to dig in, and were really unfortunate with a couple of goals.”Jimmy Maurer
Szabolcs Schon horribly mishit a back pass in the gap between Brandon Servania and Nkosi Tafari that Nikola Vujnovic was able to run on to and slot home just shy of the hour.
Peter Vermes instantly brought two of his starting attackers in after the goal to try and build on the momentum. Daniel Salloi and Khiry Shelton arrived.
Nico Estevez went to his bench in the 64th minute. Kalil ElMedkhar replaced Szabolcs Schon, who had been largely ineffective. Jose Martinez replaced Lucas Bartlett. Bartlett’s showing had been far better than against Tulsa, but the rookie has a regular mental lapse that may not have been worth risking against Salloi
Jader Obrian forced a pass from Pulskamp that was intercepted in the 7th minute, and intercepted one of his own in an even better position in the 70th minute, but somehow with an open goal begging the Colombian shanked the ball wide from the edge of the box.
Both coaches went their their Designated Players around the 75th minute water break. Johnny Russell came in for the hosts while Jesus Ferreira and Alan Velasco replaced Franco Jara and Jader Obrian.
SKC moved the ball around well in the Dallas third, creating a couple of crosses that evaded their intended target at the back post. FCD still managed to pressure balls in the midfield to produce opportunities.
Thomas Roberts made his long awaited return in the 85th minute for Joshue Quinonez. The Ecuadorian defender went down with a knee issue a couple of times. Dallas had switched into a 5-3-2 for some time, then opting to go as a 4-4-1-1.
SKC kept inching closer with constant balls into the box. Felipe Hernandez had a spectacular drive from distance look destined for the net but for a Tafari deflection.
There’s something about red cards for Dallas subs in Kansas City. This time it was Jose Martinez earning his marching orders for denial of a goalscoring opportunity. Daniel Salloi chased a high ball forward and the Spaniard took one for the team as the Hungarian looked like he’d go through on goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time. Edwin Cerrillo moved back as the emergency center back alongside a dominant Nkosi Tafari.
Martinez’ sending off may have been in vain as just seconds later Remi Walter’s corner met the head of Marinos Tzionis with Jimmy Maurer stuck on the line watching the long looping header tuck inside his back post to send the game to extra time.
It would be fair to say every bounce seemed to go Kansas City’s way since half time, and that’s exactly how Sporting took a 94th minute lead. Khiry Shelton shot low from out wide, Maurer awkwardly deflected the ball into the back of Edwin Cerrillo and the Dallas keeper was unable to get up in time before the ball looped back across the line.
Beni Redzic – the only outfield sub left – came in for Brandon Servania immediately after the goal as players from both sides began to struggle with the pace on a hot and humid night.
FC Dallas were a ghost of the dominant side of the first half, and Khiry Shelton took full advantage in the 113th minute from a Dallas throw in. Nkosi Tafari threw the ball in to Edwin Cerrillo inside the visitors’ box. For some reason, Cerrillo backed away from the ball and Shelton saw an opportunity to nick the ball off the Homegrown’s foot before tucking the ball home.
Nico Estevez may rue the timing of his substitutions, both in effect and in the extra mileage on some of his starting talent. Dallas returns home before flying out to LA on Friday for a long road trip that includes Vancouver on the following Wednesday.