FC Dallas fell 4-2 to Sporting Kansas City in the U.S Open Cup. The loss breaks Dallas' nine game unbeaten run in all competitions. Dallas had just traveled to Kansas and tied 2-2 in MLS play two weeks ago. Dallas earned the lead and doubled it in the first half. Kansas came back in the second half to tie it and force the game into extra time, where they eventually won.
Franco Jara and Eddie Munjoma got on the scoresheet early on. Jara opened the game in the 7th minute after intercepting a pass by Kansas' goalkeeper John Pulskamp. He was quick to see the short pass and immediately snatched it before it could reach its intended target. He took a couple of touches before slotting it just between Pulskamp and the post for the first goal.
Dallas continued to attack and were rewarded for their effort just before the 34th minute when Eddie Munjoma scored his first goal for the first team. The play involved several players, who all worked their way up the pitch and pushed for that second goal. Nanu received a pass just outside Dallas' half, after dribbling further up the pitch, he played a ground pass to Jara. Jara took just one touch and passed to Jader Obrian, who then played a pass into open space. Munjoma sprinted to the ball and took a chance just outside the box. His strike hit the far lower corner of the goal.
After that first half, it seemed as though Dallas would advance to the next stage and the second half just felt like a formality, unfortunately soccer is a game of two halves and that's when things began to unravel for the Toros. Seconds before the 60th minute, Szabolcs Schon attempted a pass back to Brandon Servania. The pass was just off target and bounced into open space. Kansas' Nikola Vujnovic was lurking outside the box where Servania was. Like Jara, Vujnovic saw the opportunity and sprinted toward the ball. He grabbed it just before Servania could clear it and took a couple of touches before taking a shot. Nkosi Tafari tried to stop the danger by slide tackling him but Vujnovic was still able to shoot and score Kansas' first of the match.
Dallas held on and it appeared that they would hold onto the win. The game went into additional time and in the waning minutes Kansas struck again. Jose Martinez, who had subbed into the game at the 64th minute, attempted to stop Daniel Salloi but his challenge resulted in a straight red, leaving Dallas with ten men around the 90th plus minute. Kansas earned a free kick but didn't score off it. Instead when Kansas earned a corner, they were able to capitalize and tie. Remi Walter took the corner and crossed it into the box. Marinos Tzionis headed the ball into the far post to tie it in the final minutes, leaving Jimmy Maurer stunned.
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Dallas wasn't able to turn things around in extra time, despite having Jesus Ferreira and Alan Velasco on the field. In the 94th minute Kansas took the lead. Maurer blocked the shot from Khiry Shelton, unfortunately the ball bounced off of Edwin Cerrillo and into the goal. Kansas now led 3-2.
Kansas took no chances and scored in the 113th minute to make it 4-2. Dallas had a throw in deep in their own half. Tafari tried to play the ball to Cerrillo in the box. Shelton picked it off Cerrillo, who went down. Maurer chose to protect the far post. Before he could fix his positioning, Shelton took a shot into the empty near post.
The loss is a hard blow to everyone. Nico Estevez, the players, and the fans, the U.S Open Cup was the first chance Dallas had at hardware this year. Dallas has won this tournament twice in their history, with their most recent trophy coming in 2016.
This loss will be one of the first major tests for Estevez and the players. How he handles this can make or break the spirit of this team. The players, especially Cerrillo, will need to bounce back and not dwell on this loss for too long but they still need to take this opportunity to grow from this.