Sporting Kansas City kept its U.S. Open Cup tradition alive Wednesday night, but it required holding off a stoppage-time surge from the New York Red Bulls in the final to do it.
With the side up 2-0 heading into the 90th minute thanks to goals from Latif Blessing and Daniel Salloi, it appeared Sporting KC’s fourth U.S. Open Cup triumph was done and dusted.
However, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a minute into stoppage time to cut the deficit in half. From there Sporting KC would have to survive a corner kick and, at the death, a free kick from just outside the area from Felipe.
Felipe’s effort curled just over the bar, and the whistle was blown soon afterward to the delight of Sporting KC and the fans at Children’s Mercy Park, who have seen triumphs in this tournament by the team in 2004, 2012 and 2015.
Blessing got Sporting KC on the board in the 25th minute, heading home a Graham Zusi cross after the 5-foot-5 attacker got in between Red Bull defenders Aaron Long and Michael Murillo.
Unfortunately for Blessing, his night would come to an end not long after due to a thigh injury.
The game remained 1-0 into the second half when a ball over the top allowed Salloi to split the Red Bulls defense and beat onrushing goalkeeper Ryan Meara to double the lead.
The Red Bulls found themselves unable to mount many clear threats on Tim Melia’s goal until stoppage time. There Wright-Philipps pounced on a rebound to bring New York within striking distance.
Wright-Phillips earned another chance for his side to score late as he was brought down just outside the area attempting to get to a ball delivered over the top, earning defender Ike Opara a yellow card in the process.
But that opportunity went begging as Felipe struck his free kick over the wall, but also over the goal, to leave the Red Bulls just short and give Sporting KC its fourth-ever triumph in the tournament.