Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sporting KC hosts Seattle Sounders FC in U.S. Open Cup championship match

Sporting Kansas City will host the Seattle Sounders FC at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the championship match of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The winner will earn a berth in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League and will have their name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy, awarded annually since 1914, as the top team in American soccer for 2012.

The oldest annual team tournament in American sports, the U.S. Open Cup celebrates its 99th edition this year and is named after Sporting Kansas City's original founder Lamar Hunt. The field of 64 teams, the largest in tournament history, has been narrowed to two finalists through seven rounds of single-elimination competition.

Wednesday's match will be nationally broadcast live on GolTV (channel listings below) with the commentary team of Lindsey Dean, Gino Fuentes and George Metellus covering all the action. Sports Radio 810 WHB will air the match live locally and online at, with a pre-game show beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT and the Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame show immediately following the match.

Live radio broadcasts will also be available on La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish) in Kansas City and 97.3 KIRO FM in Seattle. will air a special, one-hour pre-game show live from LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the match, and can be purchased online at or at the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park box offices.

Additionally, due to the excessive heat warning in effect for Wyandotte County, ticket holders are permitted to bring one sealed bottle of water (20-ounce or smaller), which will be uncapped upon entry at the stadium gates.

Sporting Kansas City makes their second appearance in the final of the U.S. Open Cup, having lifted the trophy in 2004 with a 1-0 extra time victory over the Chicago Fire at Arrowhead Stadium.

The team reached tomorrow's final with four consecutive victories, eliminating Orlando City SC, Colorado Rapids, Dayton Dutch Lions and Philadelphia Union in succession.

Sporting Kansas City, who will be without defender Aurelien Collin on Wednesday due to caution accumulation, is 15-10-3 all-time in the tournament and 10-5-0 when playing at home in U.S. Open Cup competition, including a 4-1-0 record at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City has faced the Seattle Sounders FC three times in tournament history, defeating the then-USL side 4-0 in 2001 and drawing 0-0 in 2008.

The last meeting came in 2009 with the Sounders FC prevailing 1-0 in the quarterfinals en route to their first of three straight U.S. Open Cup titles.

Seattle have advanced to the U.S. Open Cup Final for a fourth straight season. After becoming one of just four teams to win three consecutive U.S. Open Cup tournaments in its 98-year history, Seattle can become the first to hoist the trophy for a fourth straight time on Wednesday.

The club holds an undefeated 17-0-1 record in the tournament since joining MLS in 2009. This year, Seattle advanced with wins over Atlanta Silverbacks, Cal FC, San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA.

The Sounders FC have only played four U.S. Open Cup matches away from home in the past four years and will be on the road for a final for the first time since a 2-1 win over D.C. United at RFK Stadium in 2009. Sounders FC striker Eddie Johnson makes his first return to Kansas City since playing for the then-Wizards in 2006 and 2007, and leads Seattle with 10 goals in MLS play this year.

In addition to Johnson, the visitors boast a potent offense that includes 2011 Major League Soccer MVP finalist Mauro Rosales along with fellow Designated Players Fredy Montero and Christian Tiffert. Defensively, goalkeeper Michael Gspurning leads MLS with a 0.47 goals against average and 84.0 saves percentage in nine MLS appearances.

Wednesday's match marks the second meeting between the two sides in 2012, with the first concluding in a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field in June.

That road result snapped a streak of six-straight one-goal losses in all competition for Sporting Kansas City against Seattle, all of which came on game-winning goals after the 75th minute.

Sporting Kansas City supporters can also follow Wednesday's game online via @SKCGameday on Twitter and the MatchCenter or Game Tracker, or on mobile devices with Sporting Explore.