Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sporting KC's U.S. Open Cup run ends with 1-0 loss to Orlando City Soccer Club

Sporting Kansas City's run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup ended Wednesday night with a 1-0 loss to USL PRO club Orlando City SC at Sporting Park.

The defending champions were knocked out in the fourth round of the tournament by their USL PRO affiliate.

Orlando City silenced the crowd of 15,981 with a goal in the game's second minute. Midfielder Adama Mbengue won a ball in Sporting KC's defensive third and slid a pass to forward Long Tan inside the penalty box. Tan took a touch around a defender and placed his shot past goalkeeper Eric Kronberg.

Despite being down a goal, Sporting KC controlled the run of play in the first half.

In the 16th minute, Josh Gardner picked up a ball on the left flank and curled in a cross toward the Orlando City penalty spot. Claudio Bieler beat his defender and got a foot on the cross but the ball trickled wide of the far post.

Homegrown midfielder Kevin Ellis, who started his first competitive match for Sporting KC, nearly equalized for the home side in the 31st minute. Ellis snuck free at the back post on a Benny Feilhaber corner kick, but his header shot just over the crossbar.

Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo finished the match with four saves, including two saves in the span of a minute in the second half.

In the 59th minute, Sporting KC defender Seth Sinovic cut to the inside and fired a shot on target. Second-half substitute C.J. Sapong redirected the attempt on target, but Gallardo made a quick kick-save to keep the home side off the board. Less than a minute later, Gallardo was at it again, this time stretching to his left to knock away a Paulo Nagamura shot attempt that appeared destined for the far corner.

Needing a goal to force overtime, Sporting KC continued to press and nearly found their equalizer in stoppage time when center back Aurelien Collin won a header on the right side of the penalty box. However, defender Ike Opara was unable to get a touch on the ball as it trickled across the six-yard box untouched.

Forward Teal Bunbury entered the game for Sporting KC in the 76th minute for his first appearance since he suffered a torn ACL on Aug. 26, 2012.

Sporting KC will return to MLS action on June 22 with a road match against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium.