Melia dove right to save Victor Bernardez in the sixth round of penalties to lift Sporting Kansas City into its fourth U.S. Open Cup Final with a 5-4 shootout win after playing the San Jose Earhquakes to a 1-1 draw in Wednesday night's semifinal at Children's Mercy Park.
Tarbell made 11 saves during the game just to keep the Earthquakes in it on a night they were outshot 31-11 overall and 12-3 in terms of efforts on target. But he couldn't match Melia's well-known penalty stopping acumen.
CLOCKWORK BLUE: Rubio’s goal came at the end of an 18-pass sequence in which every SKC field player had at least one touch. It was a fitting goal for a first half in which the hosts had a 74%-26% edge in possession. The margin over 120 minutes was only slightly narrower, 68%-32%.
TOO MUCH TOO SOON?: Both midfielder Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili and defender Francois Affolter went beyond 90 minutes in their debuts for San Jose. Vako contributed the assist on Hoesen’s opener but saw less of the ball as the match wore on, and Affolter exited in the 103rd minute limping with an apparent leg injury.
SPOT-TING A TREND: Since MLS teams began participating in the tournament, there have only been three Open Cup semifinals decided on penalties. And in both previous cases, the team that advanced lost in the final. The USL’s Charleston Battery fell 2-1 to D.C. United in the 2008 final after slipping past the Seattle Sounders on penalties. In 2014, the Philadelphia Union overcame FC Dallas on spot kicks, then lost to Seattle in the final.
They Said It
Before PKs, Melia told Tarbell he'd had an outstanding performance to get to that stage "and that it was my job to take that away from him."— Steve Brisendine (@SteveBrisendine) August 10, 2017
- SKC: Saturday, Aug. 12 – at Seattle Sounders (4 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
- SJ: Saturday, Aug. 12 – at Houston Dynamo (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE)