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U.S. OPEN CUP

September 30, 2015
OPEN CUP CHAMPIONS - AGAIN
Sporting KC outlast Union in pks


CHESTER, Pa.--Krisztian Nemeth scored the 1-1 equalizer and Jordi Quintilla buried an eighth-round penalty kick to give Sporting Kansas City their third Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championship, 7-6 in pks over the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at PPL Park.

It was the second straight year that the Union had taken the Cup Final to extra time on their home turf only to wind up on the losing end.

Sporting also won the trophy in 2004 and 2012.

With the score tied 1-1 in the closing seconds of extra time, Union coach Jim Curtin gambled by replacing starting goalkeeper Andre Blake (5 saves) with John McCarthy for the penalty phase. Both teams stumbled in the third round, with Union captain Maurice Edu's poorly-struck shot giving goalkeeper Tim Melia plenty of time to save, and McCarthy picking off Nemeth's equally tentative attempt. The Union's young netminder wasn't as lucky in Round 8, after Andrew Wenger failed to get his shot past Melia, and Quintilla ended the match with a sudden-death conversion.

The Union took a 1-0 lead into halftime after Sebastien Le Toux scored his modern era record 16th US Open Cup goal in the 23rd minute. Vincent Nogueira led his fellow Frenchman into the right side of the penalty area, Melia charged off his line and Le Toux sent a low shot into the far inside netting.

The Frenchman nearly registered another goal in the 37th after a feed from Nogueira once again. But Melia came racing out of his goal and knocked the shot away and out of reach.

About 30 seconds later, Cristian Maidana ripped a left-footed blast from 20 yards out. Melia kept Sporting in the match with a brilliant diving save.

In the 44th minute, Nemeth got loose in the box and on the end of a cross. Nemethís header landed just over the goal.

Sporting appeared to have equalized in the 55th minute but it was nullified for an apparent foul by Chance Myers on Blake.

The play became quite chippy over the next five minutes with both clubs getting more physical.

Sporting did get the equalizer in the 65th minute as Nemeth fired a bending shot past a diving Blake and into the corner of the net. That goal quieted the raucous crowd, which had been extremely loud until then.

The Unionís first substitution came in the 77th minute, as Conor Casey came on for Maidana.

Clearly, the Union coaching staff was looking for fresh legs and an infusion of energy down the stretch.

Right away, Casey pushed the tempo and almost scored in the 79th minute. His shot was denied by Melia and knocked out of bounds.

Neither club was able to score for the remainder of regulation and four minutes of stoppage time.

The Union had the best of things in extra time, Casey coming closest to breaking the deadlock in the 99th minute, but he got tangled up with Melia and the net, and ultimately the goalpost, while trying to get his head on Le Toux's cross from deep on the right side.


   
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