It was a heated battle between two very deserving teams fighting for promotion to the 2011 MLS APBA Soccer season, but ultimately only one could go through. In the first of the four Quarter-final matches of the 2011 MLS Open Cup tournament, 5th seeded Sporting KC was upset by the 13th seed, DC United, in Livestrong Park.
DC United was fresh off the unbelievable upset over the #4 seed, FC Dallas and hoped to keep their momentum going. In the 5th minute, a foul by Davy Arnaud led to a DCU direct free kick into Area C on the wing. Branko Boskovic shot but missed, which led to a series of 4 corner kicks in a row as DC United pounded on Jimmy Nielson’s goal. In only the 9th minute of the game, Dwayne DeRosario passed from a corner in to Josh Wolff who fired from just outside the 6 yard box and scored.
Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi answered back in minute 33, when he scored on a direct free kick from the edge of the penalty box.
DC United looked like they might get another one toward the end of the first half when they had another set of 4 shots leading to 4 corner kicks, but a clutch steal by Kei Kamara ended that run. At the half it was 1-1.
The second half of the game was a hard-fought possession battle, with the longest continual possession from either team being a 3 minute possession by DC United between minutes 52-54. The biggest drama of the game came in the 62nd minute when DC’s Andy Najar was whistled and shown a Red Card, but upon further conference (and DC’s burning of all 4 of their Clutch Points), the penalty was reduced to a Yellow Card and the player was allowed to stay on the field.
The winning goal was scored in the 81st minute on a direct free kick from Area B by the real-life 2011 league Most Valuable Player, Dwayne DeRosario.
Kansas City had a last chance in the 93rd minute. After a miss left them with a corner kick, Graham Zusi shot a header on goal from within the 6 yard box, but it was deflected back out beyond the penalty area on a wonderful save by Bill Hamid (only the 2nd he’d had to make all day), and the final whistle blew.
DC United will meet the winner of the LA Galaxy(1) vs. Philadelphia Union(8).