Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sporting KC begins Lamar Hunt Open Cup campaign on Wednesday at Sporting Park

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Sporting Kansas City begins the club's 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday at Sporting Park.

The fourth round match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on The match will also be broadcast on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Tickets for the midweek matchup are still available on or at the Sporting Park box offices on gameday.

Due to the heat advisory in effect for tomorrow, all ticket holders will be permitted to bring one bottle of water into Sporting Park. The bottle must be sealed and no larger than 20 ounces, and the bottle's cap will be removed at the gate upon entrance.

Sporting Kansas City has won the Open Cup title on two previous occasions. In 2004, Kansas City defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 at Arrowhead Stadium and in 2012 Sporting KC defeated the Seattle Sounders in a penalty kick shootout at Sporting Park.

In 2004, Igor Simutenkov's second-half stoppage-time goal gave Kansas City their first Open Cup title. Eight years later, Sporting Kansas City hoisted the trophy for a second time after a series of late game heroics.

Sporting KC opened the scoring in the 86th minute of regulation, but Seattle responded two minutes later with an equalizer forcing the match into extra time. After two scoreless 15-minute extra-time periods Sporting KC defeated Seattle 3-2 on penalty kicks with Paulo Nagamura's conversion standing as the game-winner.

In 2013, Sporting KC lost to USL PRO affiliate Orlando City 1-0 in the fourth round of the tournament with Long Tan scoring the game's lone goal in the second minute.

Minnesota United enters the fourth round of the tournament after securing a 1-0 result at Des Moines Menace on May 28. With the third round victory, Minnesota is one of six NASL teams remaining in this year's edition of the Open Cup. The Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina Railhawks and the New York Cosmos have each defeated an MLS opponent in Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and the New York Red Bulls, respectively, to secure a spot in the Round of 16.

Minnesota United won the 2014 North American Soccer League spring season with a 6-1-2 record, edging out the New York Cosmos by a single point. Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos joined MLS for the League's inaugural season in 1996 and was teammates with Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes at the New York-New Jersey MetroStars. 23-year-old forward Christian Ramirez led the NASL in goals (5) and assists (4) this spring and scored the game-winner in Minnesota's third round victory over the Menace.

Minnesota's roster also boasts several veteran players that have played professionally in Europe including: Richard Garcia (England), Juliano Vicentini (Italy) and Minnesota United's all-time leading goalscorer Simone Bracalello (Italy).

Should Sporting KC earn a victory against Minnesota on Wednesday, the club will advance to the Round of 16 to host the winner of the Portland Timbers and the Orlando City U-23's. That match will be at Sporting Park on Tuesday, June 24 and tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, June 19 at 10 a.m. CT.

The 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the 101st edition of the tournament, began on May 7 featuring 68 teams. The oldest annual tournament in American sports history, the U.S. Open Cup has origins in 1914 and is named after Lamar Hunt, the original founder of Sporting Kansas City.

Sporting Kansas City supporters can follow Wednesday's match online via @SKCGameday on Twitter and the page.