Rookie forward C.J. Sapong broke a 0-0 stalemate in the third minute of extra time to put Sporting Kansas City past the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifying match Wednesday night at the Aggie Soccer Complex in College Station.
Sapong’s goal came off an impressive curling right-footed shot into the upper right corner, just out of Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric’s reach. The goal came from an individual effort on which Sapong created space against the middle of the Dynamo backline to get the winning shot off.
The Dynamo spent the remainder of extra time pushing numbers forward to try to get the equalizer. Jason Garey got free in the box in the 116th minute but headed Corey Ashe’s cross directly to Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg.
Rookie forward Will Bruin - who was very active as a second-half sub - got a few chances early in extra time but was unable to draw the Dynamo even. Houston controlled the possession for the balance of extra time but could not find the equalizer.
The first 90 minutes saw neither team gain an advantage on the scoreboard or in the run of play. Control of the match went back and forth, with both teams taking chances but ultimately unable to unlock the opposing team’s defense. A big reason for the 0-0 score at full time was the play of the goalkeepers. Deric and Kronberg commanded their areas and stopped 10 shots total – Deric with four and Kronberg with six - including some top-shelf saves.
Sporting's Designated Player Omar Bravo was dangerous early in the first half, creating two scoring chances for the away team, including a rocket from point blank range that Deric handled well in the 24th minute. Bruin had the best chance for Houston late in regulation with a curling left-footed shot that Kronberg tipped over the crossbar.
Sporting advance to play the winner of D.C. United and the New England Revolution in the final round of qualifying for the Open Cup. The Dynamo returns to MLS play this Sunday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kick off is at 6 p.m. CT at Robertson Stadium.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo
April 06, 2011 -- Aggie Soccer Stadium, College Station TX
SKC -- C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury) 92
Sporting Kansas City -- Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Shavar Thomas, Roger Espinoza, Luke Sassano (Davy Arnaud 91), Craig Rocastle (Birahim Diop 76), Milos Stojcev, Kei Kamara, Omar Bravo (C.J. Sapong 46), Teal Bunbury.
Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Ellis, Mike Jones, Scott Lorenz, Jon Kempin.
Houston Dynamo -- Tyler Deric, Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson (Jordan Graye 86), Mike Chabala, Danny Cruz, Alex Dixon, Lovel Palmer, Colin Clark (Corey Ashe 76), Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 83), Jason Garey.
Substitutes Not Used: Hunter Freeman, Francisco Navas Cobo, Josue Soto, Tally Hall.
HOU -- Kofi Sarkodie (caution; Tactical Foul) 5
HOU -- Lovel Palmer (caution; Tactical Foul) 43
KC -- Omar Bravo (caution; Reckless Foul) 46+
HOU -- Mike Chabala (caution; Tactical Foul) 65
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Tactical Foul) 73
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee's Assistants: Greg Boles; Marcel Theriot
4th Official: Luis Guardia
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial