In Kansas 11 days ago, SKC defender Ike Opara opened the scoring with a shot from distance as part of his team’s 3-0 win over Minnesota. Wednesday night, Opara once again provided the spark with his header in the 43rd minute starting the scoring for the hosts as part of a 4-0 win over visiting Minnesota in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) June 14, 2017
The Loons came out with a five-man backline and left most of the normal starting XI on the bench, leaving Sporting KC to have to go over the top or take shots from distance. Some new faces to the Minnesota lineup included Joe Greenspan, who picked up an injury in his first start of the year and had to be subbed off in the 59th minute. The result led to a slow half for both sides, with few chances created by either side through the first 40 minutes.
When given chances, though, Sporting Kansas City took advantage. A corner taken by Graham Zusi found Opara before Patrick McLain could get a fist to the outswinging set piece, leaving little chance for the defense to do much with the defender’s floating header to open the scoring.
Just three minutes after Opara put the hosts ahead, Gerso Fernandes doubled the lead, cleaning up a shot from Dániel Sallói that ricocheted off the post. Sallói’s shot from 25 yards out hit the near post only to carom directly into the path of Gerso, who just needed to settle and shoot in the first minute of the first-half stoppage time.
Dom Dwyer put his stamp on the franchise’s U.S. Open Cup with his goal in the 72nd minute, receiving a throughball from Gerso and slotting home his sixth USOC goal for his club.
Sallói tallied his goal late, finishing off Roger Espinoza’s pass inside in the 83rd minute for his first career goal with SKC.
The loss means the Loons have gone five years without a win against an MLS team. Since Minnesota’s win against Real Salt Lake in 2012, United is 2-6 in the Open Cup, with half of those losses coming against Sporting KC.
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) June 15, 2017
There’s no rest for the weary, as Minnesota will be back on the road this weekend. Heading to Rio Tinto Stadium, the Loons will look for its second win of the season against Real Salt Lake Saturday in the 9 p.m. showdown. SKC, meanwhile, will learn its Round of 16 opponent tomorrow during the U.S. Open Cup draw before its league game in San Jose against the Earthquakes.
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