KANSAS CITY, Kan. – There will be a new champion this year in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Even without their quartet of loaned players from Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC continued their giant-killing ways on Wednesday night with a 1-0 fourth-round victory against their similarly depleted parent club at Sporting Park.
The Lions, who beat Colorado 3-1 in the third round, will face either Chicago or Columbus in the quarterfinals. The Fire and Crew had their Wednesday night match postponed to Thursday afternoon because of inclement weather.
Long Tan delivered the game-winning stunner for Orlando City in only the second minute, taking a pass from Adama Mbengue after a turnover and slotting the ball under Eric Kronberg and just inside the left post. Sporting, who were without six players due to international absence, found no answer.
Not even striker Teal Bunbury's return to action after nine-and-a-half months off to recover from knee surgery could keep Kansas City, who had problems with the Lions' pace and looked disjointed in the offensive third all night, from being knocked out of the Cup at home by a USL PRO side for the second time in three years.
Orlando City also avenged last year's 3-2 loss to SKC in the third round.
Sporting's most dangerous sequence came at the hour mark, but goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo came up with two big saves to deny the equalizer. First, he turned aside C.J. Sapong's point-blank redirect of Seth Sinovic's shot, then dived to his left to swat away Paulo Nagamura's blast from distance.
Bunbury drew loud cheers when he came on as a 76th-minute sub for Jacob Peterson, his first appearance since he tore his left ACL last Aug. 26 in a league match against New York.
Whoever City wind up facing in the quarters, they'll do it with red-hot scorer Dom Dwyer once more available. Dwyer – who has a USL PRO record 15 league goals, and three more in Cup play – was held out on Wednesday, along with goalkeeper Jon Kempin, defender Yann Songo'o and midfielder Christian Duke.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.