Sacramento, Calif. (July, 27, 2022) – A historic Wednesday night at Heart Health Park finished with a storybook ending as Sacramento Republic FC bested Sporting Kansas City in penalty kicks to punch their ticket to the U.S. Open Cup Final in Orlando, Florida.
After 120 minutes scoreless, the contest was decided at the penalty spot. Danny Vitiello came up clutch to keep USMNT veteran Graham Zusi out of the net on Sporting’s 5th attempt of the shootout, before Rodrigo Lopez came up and sealed the deal.
Jack Gurr nearly netted the opening score just as the third minute came to a close. Advancing on the right flank, the Englishman rotated into the middle to field a cross from Douglas Martinez. His left-footed attempt went just high.
The clubs went back and forth throughout the first half. Kansas City nearly found net on a corner kick in the 13th minute, but Johnny Russell’s attempt from the left went just wide. Seven minutes later, Republic FC earned a set piece opportunity in the final third only to find Rodrigo Lopez’s shot blocked by the wall.
Sacramento found another chance in the 40th as the ball rattled around in the penalty area. Attempts to put in two crosses from Keko and Jack Gurr were interrupted by KC defenders, before play stopped for a foul charged to Douglas Martinez.
A huge chance nearly saw Sacramento break the tie just after the hour mark. After carrying into the middle, Jack Gurr found Luis Felipe, who sent the ball along to Rodrigo Lopez on the left. The midfielder’s cross found its way to Keko, but the Spaniard’s shot from the top of the box was saved by Kansas City’s goalkeeper.
Kansas City threatened as time continued to tick – but 90 minutes eventually wouldn’t be enough to decide a winner. The contest proceeded to extra time after ending regulation scoreless. The visitors put the pressure on early in the first period, but a 95th minute save kept their first big chance out. Moments later in the 98th, Sacramento caught a lucky break when a shot from Kansas City went off the crossbar before being cleared away.
Mark Briggs’ defense stood tall in the second half of extra time – Danny Vitiello made a trio of tremendous saves to keep set piece chances away to MVP chants from Republic FC supporters. Sacramento had one final chance to pull ahead, but a great effort by Kansas City’s keeper kept Dan Casey’s shot out before the contest was decided at the spot.
Republic FC’s victory advances the club to the U.S. Open Cup Final for the first time – marking the first appearance for a lower division club in the tournament’s deciding game since Charleston Battery in 2008. The match will take place at Orlando City SC’s Exploria Stadium in September. Sacramento returns to the pitch this Saturday in South Carolina against Charleston Battery in the two clubs first contest since 2014. Kickoff is set for 4:30 PM, and the match will be broadcast live on Antenna TV 40.2, FOX40.com and the FOX40 app, and streaming on ESPN+.
Sacramento Republic 0 (5) – 0 (4) Sporting Kansas City
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Heart Health Park, Sacramento, California
July 27, 2022
Scoring Summary: SAC– None SKC – None
Penalty Shootout Summary: SAC – Damia Viader (good), Luis Felipe (good), Luther Archimede (good), Maalique Foster (good), Rodrigo Lopez (good) SKC – Johnny Russell (good), Daniel Salloi (good), William Agada (good), Felipe Hernandez (good), Graham Zusi (saved)
Misconduct Summary: SAC– Luis Felipe (caution) 48’, Nick Ross (caution) 90+4 SKC – Ben Sweat (caution) 36’
Sacramento Republic FC: Danny Vitiello, Lee Desmond, Conor Donovan, Dan Casey, Damia Viader, Jack Gurr (Ferrety Sousa 90’), Luis Felipe, Rodrigo Lopez (C), Matt LaGrassa (Nick Ross 69’), Keko Gontan (Maalique Foster 69’), Douglas Martinez (Luther Archimede 118’)
Unused substitutes: Carlos Saldana, Duke Lacroix, Rafa Jauregui
Stats – Shots: 13, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 8, Fouls: 14, Corner Kicks: 3, Offsides: 1
Sporting Kansas City: John Pulskamp, Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas, Isimat Nicolas, Ben Sweat (Logan Ndenbe 116’), Erik Thommy (Felipe Hernandez 83’), Roger Espinoza, Remi Walter, Johnny Russell (C), Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton (William Agada 61’)
Unused substitutes: Kendall McIntosh, Kayden Pierre, Robert Voloder, Marinos Tzionis
Stats – Shots: 31, Shots on Goal: 8, Saves: 2, Fouls: 14, Corner Kicks: 12, Offsides: 2