Sporting KC

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Sporting KC claims its fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (video)

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Latif Blessing and Daniel Salloi scored as Sporting KC held on to beat New York Red Bulls 2-1 in the 104th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas.

Bradley Wright-Phillips blasted a Gonzalo Veron rebound beyond Tim Melia in the first minute of stoppage time to set up a nervy final five minutes. It was the Red Bulls’ second final, and second loss.

The win marks KC’s fourth title, tied for the most amongst active clubs, and its third in six tournaments.

KC now qualifies for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores 10th BVB goal ]

Sporting KC could’ve been down a man within five minutes, as referee Hilario Grajeda was handing out a yellow card to Seth Sinovic when Diego Rubio inexplicably kicked Felipe Martins in the ankle. It went unseen, and VAR is not a part of the final.

Gerson arrived on the doorstep with the ball and instead side-footed a pass that never got to Benny Feilhaber, a huge let-off for the Red Bulls.

Sacha Kljestan ripped a shot through traffic that forced a save out of Tim Melia in the 14th minute.

KC went ahead when Graham Zusi’s cross was somehow missed by a trio of Red Bulls defenders, allowing Blessing to pound a header home.

Benny Feilhaber committed a pair of fouls to allow a Red Bulls free kick from just outside the 18 and the end line, but the chance was blocked. A counter attack pass from Blessing sprung Gerso on a breakaway, but Ryan Meara blocked the shot.

Meara made another save after the first ball off the ensuing corner cranked off the cross bar.

Feilhaber then cued up Salloi for the insurance marker, before tournament leading scorer Wright-Phillips pulled one back for New York.

Ike Opara ripped down Wright-Phillips in the sixth of six stoppage time minutes, earning a yellow card and giving RBNY a free kick from 23 yards. Felipe skied his effort over the bar.

U.S. Open Cup Final preview: Sporting KC vs. New York Red Bulls

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New York Red Bulls and Sporting KC are set to tangle for the 104th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday in Missouri.

[ MORE: League Cup wrap ]

The longtime rivals met more often while Eastern Conference foes — SKC now plies its trade in the West — and KC leads the league series 21W-20L-13T.

Here’s everything you need to know about the most prestigious tournament in American soccer, one that earns a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

  • Sporting KC is looking to move into a tie with Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders for the most USOC titles amongst active teams with four. Maccabi Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel won five but are no longer active clubs (The USL side Bethlehem Steel FC is a new entity).
  • The Red Bulls, meanwhile, enter their second final in search of their first Open Cup.
  • New York knocked off New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, and FC Cincinnati to reach the final.
  • KC topped Minnesota United, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, and San Jose Earthquakes.
  • The sides met May 3 at the same venue, with Dom Dwyer scoring twice in a KC victory.
  • KC is 3-0 in USOC finals, having won in 2002, 2012, and 2015.

As for Wednesday, the Red Bulls enter the match without an MLS win since Aug. 12. That five-match span includes four-straight ties. KC has two wins and a draw from its last four games.

Dwyer’s not around for KC anymore, but the firepower remains. Home field advantage will likely tilt the field for KC, but this is the sort of match that begs for a Bradley Wright-Phillips moment or two. We’ll call it for the hosts, but just… 2-1.

Top Five clubs that could crush Toronto’s MLS Cup hopes

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It’s no secret that Toronto FC are far-and-away the favorite to win its first MLS Cup, one year after falling to Seattle Sounders in penalty kicks.

TFC has scooped up 11 more points than its nearest competitor, New York City FC, has a plus-37 goal differential, is unbeaten at home, and boasts more road points than 10 teams have acquired at home. Almost every major betting has them as somewhere between 2:1 and 3:1 odds to win the title despite the MLS Cup Playoffs being a massive crapshoot based on form.

[ MORE: Toronto wins big w/o Jozy, Seba ]

Consider this: Toronto hasn’t even played in a one-goal match since Aug. 5, and has not lost since July 1.

As it stands, the Reds will likely wrap up the Supporters’ Shield this week ahead of a first-round playoff bye. The MLS playoff dynamics mean TFC will face a Conference Semifinal opponent who will be playing its third and fourth matches within a 10-day span.

At the risk of being too certain, it’s hard to imagine any team handling TFC over two legs. Ranking any team’s chances to knock them off almost certainly weighs in the favor of Western Conference clubs, who will have the be better than the Reds over just 90 minutes. Seeing as that will come in the cold confines of BMO Field, perhaps that should also weigh into the discussion.

Without further ado, the five teams with the best chance to ruin TFC’s dream of a treble (the Reds already have a Canadian Championship in tow).

5. Atlanta United — Tata Martino’s men have the offensive firepower to spring an upset and are constructed in a similar manner to TFC. Greg Garza and other outside threats will force TFC’s wily wing backs to respect the threat.

4.  Seattle Sounders — May have been No. 1 were it not for the injury to Jordan Morris. The fact is that even though Seattle was outplayed in last year’s final, the Sounders can bring ghosts with them to BMO Field.

3. New York City FC — City has two keys to their upset hopes. First, their opponent before TFC will likely be a Chicago team who is not racing to the finish line while the Reds will almost certainly face a team in form. The second is David Villa, who is maybe the best player in MLS history and, along with his manager, knows a thing or two about big games.

2. Vancouver Whitecaps — An All-Canadian Final would be hard for Don Garber to promote with a straight-face, but could be an amazing 90 minutes of soccer. The ‘Caps would have already navigated a rivarly-ridden road to Ontario, and Carl Robinson knows the ins and outs of Toronto. This would be a beauty. A beauty!

1. Sporting KC — If there is a manager in MLS more fit to match wits with Greg Vanney than Martino, it’s Peter Vermes. KC is a complete team with depth that will neither be scared of cold weather nor a boisterous stadium.

Sporting KC signs 17-year-old, continues youth movement

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Sporting Kansas City has signed 17-year-old Jaylin Lindsey a month after the MLS club agreed to a similar homegrown contract with 15-year-old Gianluca Busio.

Lindsey’s signing was announced by the club Thursday, and the defender will be added to the team’s roster at the beginning of 2018. His contract runs through 2021 with an option for 2022.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The North Carolina native has made more than 25 appearances for the U.S. under-17 national team over the last two years, and he joined the Sporting KC academy in 2015. Busio, who is also from North Carolina, was the youngest player signed by an MLS club since Fred Adu joined D.C. United as a 14-year-old in 2004.

Making a push: A closer look at the MLS playoff race

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The MLS Cup playoffs are right around the corner, and with Toronto FC the only club to have booked its place thus far, it’s always fun to guess which other teams will make the postseason.

[ MORE: Morris injury could affect both Sounders, USMNT ]

There’s one actual “lock” with a little over a month remaining in the season, however, there’s a pretty good gauge of which teams will be postseason-bound — particularly in the Eastern Conference.

The West, on the other hand, is congested, with the top eight teams separated by a mere nine points.

To put things into perspective, TFC holds a 20-point advantage over sixth-place Atlanta United in the East. However, Atlanta holds three games in hand, so that gap could dwindle slightly.

It’s been pretty straight forward in the East for much of the season, with TFC, NYCFC, the Fire and the Red Bulls steady throughout 2017. Atlanta can be thrown in that category as well, but their busy schedule the rest of the way will certainly make things interesting.

Although perennial playoff teams like the Seattle Sounders and Sporting KC appear to be en route for bonus soccer once again this season, the West is intriguing for one team in particular.

FC Dallas — a team many thought would contend for MLS Cup in 2017 — hasn’t won a match since July 22 and has fallen from first to sixth place. Meanwhile, the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake sit hot on their heels, which could actually mean Oscar Pareja and Co. somehow miss out on the playoffs altogether.

[ MORE: Lalas rips USMNT, “wonderboy” Pulisic during MLS broadcast ]

Here’s a look at how I see the current state of the playoff races in the Eastern and Western Conferences with

Eastern Conference

LocksToronto FC, NYCFC, Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls

They’re not in yet… but they will be: Atlanta United

Hanging on: Columbus Crew

So you’re saying there’s a chance: Montreal Impact, New England Revolution

Long shot: Orlando City, Philadelphia Union

Western Conference

Locks: Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, Sporting KC

They’re not in yet… but they will be: Houston Dynamo

Hanging on: FC Dallas

So you’re saying there’s a chance: San Jose Earthquakes

Long shot: Real Salt Lake