It’ll be an I-35 clash at NSC Stadium when Minnesota United FC host defending U.S. Open Cup champion Sporting KC in a rematch of a 2014 USOC match that saw the MLS side leave it late before walking away with a 2-0 win at Children’s Mercy Park.
You’d have to go back five years further for the last time Sporting went on the road to face a lower-division team in the Open Cup, a 2009 game against the Minnesota Thunder that ended 3-3 before Kansas City advanced in a penalty shootout (4-2).
This time around, neither side enters the match on fine form. Sporting KC (5-8-3) started the 2016 MLS season with four wins in five games, but have lost seven of their last 11 games. Minnesota, meanwhile, were in first place and challenging for the NASL Spring Season title before three straight losses knocked them down the table.
Sporting KC is 13-5-3 all-time against lower-division teams in the Open Cup, and United head coach Carl Craig says Minnesota would love to add to the MLS side’s loss column to give the home fans a consolation prize after a disappointing end to the spring season.
"Hopefully a big crowd and an opportunity to regain a bit of favor with our fan base, because not only did we let ourselves down, but our fans have been brilliant and got behind us every game at home,” said United Head Coach Carl Craig. “We should have really presented them with a Spring Championship, we didn't, so hopefully a win is a small consolation and a slight repayment for not taking care of business.”
— ANDREW WIEBE | More on sportingkc.com