The 45 minute delay meant just more drinking time and the Cauldron was as fired up as I’ve ever seen them. Even the wraparound mini-Cauldron was packed, and the standing area in front of the Members Club was shoulder to shoulder.
In the 2nd minute Teal Bunbury showed why he’s Teal, declining to make an easy pass to a wide open Kei Kamara near the penalty spot and instead keeping the ball and trying to beat several defenders before cutting back a harmless cross that Seattle easily corralled.
Chance is back finally. Zusi is playing up top. Espinoza is back from London.
The game started out at a frenetic pace that was sure to slow down. It had to, didn’t it?
The first 15 minutes was all Sporting possession wise, though they weren’t able to manufacture a really good chance out of it. All around the stadium, threads of lightening splintered the darkness every so often, reminding anyone who cared to look that there was life outside of this 90 minute game.
Somewhere around the 20th minute the game settled down and both teams became more calculated. Then Kei cracked a dipping 40 yarder off the crossbar. So close.
Fattest MLS coach? Sigi Schmidt for sure.
Sporting lucked out a bit in the 34th minute when Seattle had a semi-breakaway, but former Wizard Eddie Johnson couldn’t find the frame as Nielsen came out to challenge.
After a few calls that didn’t go his way, Kei seemed to fall out of the game mentally. If KC was going to come out on top, they needed him to let it go and get back into it by attacking defenders and pulling the opposing defense apart.
The 2nd half started with Sporting on the front foot, creating a couple half chances and winning an early corner. But Seattle battled right back, garnering a few half chances of their own, including a semi-break that saw Matt Besler slide in at the last second to rob a streaking Eddie Johnson of a chance.
Around the 75th minute KC looked like they needed something, a sub, some luck, anything. Seattle was increasingly comfortable on the ball, while Sporting seemed to be bunkering a bit due to fatigue and settling for sending long balls over the top for Teal to try and track down.
In the 82nd minute KC got their dose of luck after Teal tracked down one of those long balls, turned, and sent in a low cross. No, he didn’t find a teammate. But he did find the outstretched hand of a Seattle defender, and the ref promptly blew his whistle signaling a penalty.
Kei stepped to the spot, sent the keeper to his right, and put the ball low and to the left, burying it in the net as the blue confetti flew.
But not so fast. Just a minute later Seattle earned a weak free kick 35 yards out and capitalized with a header that Jimmy Nielsen didn’t even try for – not that he had a chance at it – to tie the game at 1-1.
Yes, the epic overtime was now set up perfectly.
SKC came out firing, earning a few chances right off the bat, including a free kick right at the corner of the box after second half sub CJ Sapong was taken down. Then things settled down quite a bit, both squads efforting through heavy legs. The fatigue was really obvious at the end of the first overtime period when KC fullback Chance Myers had consecutive opportunities to send in crosses, but couldn’t lift the ball over the first waiting defender.
Stands clearing out a little, but it is 11:08.
118th minute, substitute Patrick Ianni gets shown his second yellow. Big moment for KC. Zusi’s boot needs to come through. No dice.
Going to PKs. Lame.
Kei scores high to keeper’s right.
Brad Evans sends Puma the wrong way, scores. 1-1
Roger hits weak roller just a bit to keeper’s right, keeper scoops it up. Still 1-1
Marc Burch hits high down the middle. Seattle up 2-1.
Besler takes it left footed? Hits the underside of the bar in the corner, 2-2
Osvaldo Alonso sends it out of the stadium, crowd goes wild. Still 2-2, back even.
Zusi sends keeper wrong way but chips over the bar, still 2-2.
Christian Tiffert sends it low, hard and to the left but Puma pounces and blocks! Still 2-2
Nagamura goes to keeper’s right, keeper blocks it, but in a rarely seen move, the ref says the keeper left early, awards Nagamura a re-do. He buries it opposite side. SKC 3-2 Seattle
Eddie Johnson has a chance to tie it up. Wouldn’t it be fitting if the former KC man missed? He did, sent it over the bar by a mile.
KC paints the wall, Open Cup champs.