Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas | 2017 US Open Cup Preview

Roger Espinoza, Carlos Gruezo - Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas - US Open Cup overlay

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas
2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Quarterfinals
Children's Mercy Park - Kansas City, Kan. 
Tuesday, July 11 - 8:30 p.m. ET

One of two noteworthy things is guaranteed to happen on Tuesday night, when Sporting Kansas City host FC Dallas in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Either Sporting's 11-match unbeaten home run across all competitions this year is going to come to an end, or Dallas' hopes of a second straight Open Cup title will be dashed. It's an intriguing meeting between two teams with immediate trophy ambitions as well as past hardware in this tournament: FCD and SKC are the 2016 and 2015 Open Cup champions, respectively. 

Both sides will be dealing with significant international absences for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, so depth will be key in this one. And Dallas have already displayed that quality once this season at Children's Mercy Park, holding Sporting to a scoreless draw on March 11 with manager Oscar Pareja holding out key players for the CONCACAF Champions League.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting haven't lost anywhere since falling 1-0 at Colorado on May 27, going 4-0-4 across all competitions since then. But their last two outings at home have ended in 1-1 league draws. Obviously, nobody can walk away with split points from this one – and that's where Sporting have a significant edge if the match goes to penalties.

Tim Melia has stopped three of five kicks from the spot this year – and he has shootout experience in the Open Cup, with Sporting's 2015 title match against the Philadelphia Union going to penalties before Sporting prevailed.

Then again, it might not get that far. Melia is enjoying a career season with 11 clean sheets across all competitions, and he has yet to concede in Open Cup play. If Sporting can find one goal, that might be all they need.

  • Suspended: None
  • Int’l Duty: D Matt Besler (USA), D Graham Zusi (USA), F Dom Dwyer (USA)
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: M - Gerso (dislocated shoulder)

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, right to left): Tim Melia – Saad Abdul-Salaam, Ike Opara, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic – Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Benny Feilhaber – Daniel Salloi, Soony Saad, Latif Blessing

FC Dallas

FCD narrowly made it out of the fourth round, needing a stoppage-time own goal to beat the USL's Tulsa Roughnecks 2-1, but they come into the quarters on full steam after beating Colorado 3-1 at home in the fifth round. They're also on an unbeaten run of their own, going six straight without a loss across all competitions.

But while they still have plenty of attacking power available for the quarterfinals, a shorthanded back line could prove problematic if Sporting can get their offense to click in the absence of striker Dom Dwyer.

Defenders Matt Hedges (USA) and Maynor Figueroa (Honduras) and key midfielder Kellyn Acosta (USA) are away on Gold Cup duty. That could be a problem not only when Sporting are on the attack, but also when they're high-pressing Dallas in their own third.

  • Suspended: None
  • Int’l Duty: M Kellyn Acosta, D Matt Hedges (US), D Maynor Figueroa (Honduras)
  • Injury Report: NONE

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Jesse Gonzalez – Hernan Grana, Walker Hume, Atiba Harris, Ryan Hollingshead – Victor Ulloa, Carlos Gruezo – Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Roland Lamah – Maxi Urruti