The Frenchman’s full volley that ripped into the top corner gave Sporting their seventh straight win in the competition, dating back to last year’s Fourth Round match against Minnesota United FC.
The U.S. Open Cup has become the predominant trophy cabinet-filler in recent years for Sporting KC. Their four titles — three since 2012 — are tied for most among MLS teams with Seattle Sounders FC and Chicago Fire.
Back-to-back Open Cup titles would tie Sporting at the top of the all-time winner’s charts with the original Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles. So what is it about this tournament for them?
“It’s very important to win something,” Sporting KC striker Daniel Salloi said. “I think we’re good at competing in this tournament. It makes a team successful if they can win something. We did it last year, and have a taste for it. We’re hungry to win it again.”
The 2017 edition was the start of Salloi’s breakout season. He scored three goals in the tournament, including the Cup-winner against the New York Red Bulls. His brace against FC Dallas Saturday gives him five goals in Sporting’s last seven USOC games.
Graham Zusi has been there for all three of Sporting’s triumphs in recent years and has played a role in almost every game in the tournament over the last few years. He chalks his team’s success up to just a simple club mentality.
“I think it’s just the mentality of our club, in general,” said Zusi. ”When there is something on the line to win, we’re going to do whatever we can to win it. We take every competition that we’re in very seriously. This game is about winning. That’s a trophy that we have an opportunity to win.”
Zusi, though, isn’t sitting back and counting the trophies. Playing in high-pressure knockout-style matches is beneficial throughout the season.
“I think we can look back and use our experience in this tournament to benefit us,” said Zusi. “We’ve had success in the past and we can call on that success to keep winning trophies. I guess when it’s all said and done we can look at how many trophies we’ve got.”
While there’s a chance Sporting eventually have more USOC titles than any other team, capturing consecutive trophies is the goal for some.
“Hopefully our schedule is going to be fine so we can compete here, and in MLS too,” Salloi said. “That’s important because we have a great position right now. Hopefully we can win it back to back, because we take it seriously.”