Sporting Chases Away the Menace

SKC downs PDL side Des Moines Menace in US Open Cup
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Wednesday, May 29, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

Des Moines Menace goalkeeper Scott Angevine is no stranger to Sporting KC.

In fact, he's a former SKC player. And last night, when the two sides met in the US Open Cup, Angevine had to watch his former team beat his current team, 2-1.

“They pushed the game, they really controlled the game and I was happy that our guys still fought," said Angevine.

The Menace endured 90 minutes against the reigning US Open Cup champions at the venue where Sporting won the trophy on Aug. 8, 2012.

This time Angevine suited up to play at Sporting Park against his hometown team, a daunting task for the goalkeeper of a team in a league 2 tiers below their opposition.

Sporting began the match strong, forcing Des Moines' back to defend and leave space on the wings, where Chance Myers and Kei Kamara worked the ball into the crowded 18-yard box from out wide.

In the 12th minute, Chance Myers found the ball in the 18-yard box from Mechack Jerome on the touch-line and slid it across goal where Kamara's outstretched boot knocked the ball into the goal to give Sporting a 1-0 lead.

Kamara has scored 2 goals in the last 2 games he has played. It will be interesting how manager Peter Vermes will fit him into Sporting's lineup with Jacob Peterson playing well and Graham Zusi's solidified spot on the other wing.

While it took only 12 minutes for Sporting to find a lead, the rest of the half was much more challenging and frustrating. Des Moines played defensively until Sporting began struggling to finish chances and find decent shots.

The game opened up for the Menace and they found it much easier to get up the field as a team. Their golden scoring chance came in the 28th minute when Eric Kronberg stopped Abel Sebele's shot from Des Moines' counter attack. Sebele recovered to fire a ball across the face of Kronberg's goal and just inches away from Chris Harmon, who would have leveled the game for the Menace. Sporting would regain control of the match later in the second half.

In the 73rd minute, shortly after Sporting's leading scorer Claudio Bieler entered the match, Peterson's cross skidded across the field onto Claudio Bieler's boot and through Scott Angevine's legs for Sporting's second goal.

The goal, which sealed the win for Sporting, came at long last as Angevine made several spectacular saves that kept Des Moines' hopes of an upset alive. Throughout the night, a recurring theme came back to Sporting: a tendency to play down to its opponent's level. While Sporting still created several chances, it seemed that much more could have been capitalized upon, which was also present in the road draw against DC United in MLS play, a team Sporting should have played better than.

One of the best parts of US Open Cup action is observing how young players who seldom see time on the field will perform. The most talked about of these personalities was Sporting's US U-20 international and generation adidas player Mikey Lopez.

Lopez played a solid game that may have made a good impression on coaches, but the player that stood out rather surprisingly was Michael Thomas. The Kansas City native signed last year ruled KC's midfield and was the player that the ball was filtered through from one side of the field to the other. Thomas has seen some minutes in MLS between this year and last and was instrumental in last year's US Open Cup championship.

Even after a loss, Menace manager Mike Jeffries saw something positive in his team's venture to Sporting Park, saying his players “put their hearts in the game and really did everything to win it. ... It was a really enjoyable challenge trying to get a result in this game.”

Sporting's next Open Cup game is a 4th round match against Orlando City at Sporting Park. Last year in the Open Cup 3rd round Sporting beat Orlando City 3-2. Orlando City is also Sporting's USL PRO affiliate, which SKC loaned 4 players (Dom Dwyer, Christian Duke, Yann Songo'o Jon Kempin) to earlier this season.

In his post-game press conference, manager Peter Vermes addressed whether Orlando's loanees would be able to play against Sporting in the USOC, saying, “We'll have to think about it as we move into the next phase, because I think the league will have something to say.”

If Sporting's loanees were recalled, 3 of them (Dwyer, Kempin, Songo'o) would not be eligible to play for SKC as they are cup-tied to Orlando.

Teams head back into the thick of the MLS season this weekend, when Sporting KC will play Montreal Impact and MLS Player of the Week Marco Di Vaio at Sporting Park on June 1.

NEXT UP: June 1 – Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 8:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.


Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.