Sporting Kansas City lifted the 2015 US Open Cup after 120 minutes of play and eight rounds of heart pounding penalties against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night.

For Kansas City, this was their third US Open Cup victory and second Open Cup title in the past four years. They used their experience in two previous cup final shootouts to help them win 7-6 from the spot.

Sporting’s goalkeeper Tim Melia was big for Kansas City, recording seven saves in regulation. Melia’s two penalty saves, against Union captain Maurice Edu and late substitution Andrew Wenger, led to the winning penalty kick from Jordi Quintilla. The newest acquisition for Kansas City called off veteran Jacob Peterson to take the kick out of order.

Union head coach Jim Curtin had saved his final substitution to trade starting goalkeeper Andre Blake for local hero John McCarthy, who had saved the Union in two previous penalty shootouts in this tournament. On the night, McCarthy’s only penalty save was against Kansas City’s regular time scorer, Krisztian Nemeth.

Sporting win US Open Cup Final

Both teams had early chances to get on the board. Paulo Nagamura’s effort came off the post and mysteriously rebounded into the hands of Blake. In the 23rd minute the Union would take the lead after Vincent Nogueira’s splendid curling 25-yard through ball found Sebastian Le Toux for the strike.

Sporting was outplayed in the first half and regrouped at halftime to find their equalizer from Nemeth. The Hungarian international received a one-touch pass from Graham Zusi inside the goal area and put a candy cane curl on the ball to bend it around the outstretched Blake. Nemeth has now scored in four consecutive US Open Cup matches.

Melia earned my Man of the Match honors for keeping Sporting Kansas City in the game with big stops against Conor Casey, Maurice Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta. The goalkeeper may have shared responsibility for Le Toux’s goal, but the long time reserve keeper was perfect from that minute on.

Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer, Matt Besler, Nagamura, Zusi, Kevin Ellis, and Quintilla all scored for Sporting Kansas City in the shootout.

Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Barnetta, Casey, Michael Lahoud, and Raymon Gaddis all scored for the Philadelphia Union in the shootout.

The trophy would have made Philadelphia’s season. This was the second consecutive loss for the Union in the US Open Cup Final at home. Last year the Union forced the Seattle Sounders into extra time before being out scored 3-1.

The Union is not officially out of the MLS Playoffs, but their chances are extremely thin. They will need to win each of the next three league matches and see Montreal, New York City FC and Orlando drop major points.

Kansas City will have a quick turn around from their US Open Cup victory and will face the Portland Timbers in an important Western Conference clash on Saturday.


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