Union Omaha visits Sporting KC tonight in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal

Sporting Kansas City will resume play in the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with a quarterfinal match against USL League One champions Union Omaha at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Tickets are included in Sporting Kansas City season ticket member packages and available online at SeatGeek.com.

Wednesday’s match will stream live on ESPN+ for subscribers across the U.S. with local radio broadcasts available on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).

Open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer, the 2022 U.S. Open Cup featured the largest field in the competition’s modern era (1995-present) with 103 clubs from all levels of the sport. Eight teams remain in a quarterfinal round which kicked off Tuesday night with the victor between the LA Galaxy (MLS) and Sacramento Republic FC (USL Championship) awaiting Wednesday’s winner between Sporting Kansas City and Union Omaha in a semifinal set to be played July 26-27.

Separated by approximately 155 miles, Sporting Kansas City and Union Omaha will meet for the first time on Wednesday as the Owls — with more than 700 traveling supporters expected to be in attendance — will become Sporting’s closest opponent for a competitive match in club history.

While Sporting owns four U.S. Open Cup titles in team history – tied for the most among MLS teams – as champions in 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2017, Union Omaha is making the team’s debut in the U.S. Open Cup in the club’s third season.

Union Omaha opened its Cinderella run with a 2-1 victory over the Des Moines Menace in the second round before a run of three consecutive upsets: eliminating four-time champions Chicago Fire FC in a penalty shootout in the third round, knocking off Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC by a 2-0 score in the round of 32 and dispatching a second MLS side with a 2-1 win at Minnesota United FC in the round of 16.

Union Omaha is the first team from Nebraska to reach the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals in the tournament’s 107 all-time editions and the first third division team to advance to the final eight of the tournament since 2013.

Led by reigning USL League One Coach of the Year Jay Mims, the Union Omaha roster features a pair of Jamaican internationals in Chavany Willis and Kemal Malcolm as well as two-time Icelandic champion Dion Acoff, reigning USL League One Golden Glove winner Rashid Nuhu, 2013 U.S. Open Cup champion Conor Doyle – the son of former Kansas City Comets forward David Doyle — and rookie playmaker Noe Meza, who leads the team with five goals in all competitions to go along with three assists.

Sporting KC advanced to the quarterfinals with a thrilling 4-2 win in extra time against FC Dallas in the round of 32 and a 2-1 come-from-behind rally against the Houston Dynamo in the round of 16 courtesy of a second-half brace from Johnny Russell. The Sporting captain leads the team with seven goals in all competitions this season and ranks fourth in club history with 50 career goals in all competitions.

Not far behind Russell on the club’s all-time scoring chart is Daniel Salloi, who has 43 goals for Sporting in all competitions. Salloi scored the game-winning goal in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Final and has five career U.S. Open Cup goals, one shy of tying Dom Dwyer for most in Sporting KC history.

Sporting has prevailed in 23 U.S. Open Cup matches since 2012, more than any other team in American soccer, during a run that includes an active 11-match home unbeaten streak in U.S. Open Cup play since the start of 2015.

Notably, Sporting’s last dozen opponents in the U.S. Open Cup have all been MLS sides, which sets the stage for Sporting to face a lower-division club in a competitive match for the first time since 2016 and to play host to a lower-division club in a competitive match for the first time since Saint Louis FC visited Children’s Mercy Park in 2015.

Contested since 1914 and named in honor of former Kansas City Wizards owner Lamar Hunt, this year’s U.S. Open Cup will crown a champion on Sept. 7 with the tournament winner to receive $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League and the honor of having its name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy.

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