The Houston Dynamo are three wins away from capturing their first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title. Their next test comes against familiar foe Sporting Kansas City in Wednesday’s quarterfinal at BBVA Compass Stadium (7:30 p.m. CT, TICKETS).
It will be the fourth-straight and fifth encounter overall between both sides in the annual national tournament. The two franchises have also squared off in five editions of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, as a new chapter in the rivalry awaits to be written.
“We are motivated,” said head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “For many years now, this team has not reached a [U.S. Open Cup] semifinal, we were not in this situation. It is a good opportunity and we are at home so we are going to make the best effort to try to win.”
The Dynamo have defeated Sporting in the last two meetings at BBVA Compass Stadium — a 2-1 league win on October 11, 2017 and a 1-0 extra time win in the knockout round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs just 15 days later. Earlier in the summer, SKC left Houston with a 2-0 Round of 16 win en route to their fourth U.S. Open Cup crown.
The two met just last month in Week 17 of the MLS season, when Mauro Manotas scored a brace in the first half before Sporting KC fought back to win 3-2 in front of their home crowd. The 23-year-old Colombian, who leads the team with 10 goals in all competitions, expressed the importance of the upcoming match.
“We want to win [the Open Cup],” said Manotas. “It’s an important tournament that’s growing in relevance over the years and it’s a tournament that allows us to play in an international competition the following year. We’re looking to win it, we’re going for it all because we’re very close to achieving it.”
Manotas is the club’s all-time top scorer in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play with five goals. He most recently scored the winner in the previous round against Minnesota United FC and has had success with five career goals against Sporting Kansas City.
The Dynamo will also face FC Dallas on Saturday, making this a “rivalry week” with the two encounters only four days apart. As important as balancing the roster is to meet the schedule requirements, the Dynamo aren’t looking to pull any punches on their goal of lifting a trophy this season.
“When you’re that close [to the final] you want to win,” said Cabrera. “Playing at home against Sporting Kansas City is a great opportunity just to advance in this important tournament. We have to think that winning the U.S. Open Cup is three games away, so we have three games and then you can win something.”