No MLS team does the U.S. Open Cup like Sporting Kansas City. It made it four-for-four in finals as it beat New York Red Bulls, 2-1, to capture the 2017 title. Twelve other MLS teams have reached the
final, and all have lost at least once.
Goals from Latif Blessing and Blessing's replacement, Daniel Salloi, staked Sporting KC to a 2-0 lead that it held on to until
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored in stoppage time.
Four trophies since 2012. Sporting KC joined the Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire as MLS's two four-time Open Cup winners. Only legendary
Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles have won five Open Cup titles.
SKC's other Open Cup titles came in 2004, 2012 and 2015. In the last six years, it has won more trophies -- three
Open Cups and one MLS Cup -- than any other MLS team.
Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes credited his staff and the club's ownership for Sporting KC's success in recent years but also
the culture they have created.
Core values. "The final piece is that you have to have players that not only can play, but they
also understand the core values of your club and your culture. We have four. I talk about them all the time: team first, high work ethic, intelligence, and having a winning mentality."
Winning mentality. "We need to be competitive every year, and we need to always be, at least, in the position to compete for a championship.
We know that we're not going to win one every year, though we'd like to and we strive to. But we have to consistently be competitive. I think we've done that. That's something that is very, very
important to us and we are going to continue to try to be that."
Costly win. The only down note for Sporting KC was that its
three forwards each exited with injuries. Blessing had to leave the game with a thigh contusion, Gerso injured his left shoulder, and Diego Rubio had to leave the game in the 81st minute
with an injury.
Crowd count. The final drew a crowd of 21,523, the third-largest in the history of Children's Mercy Park.
Sept. 20 in Kansas City, Kan. Sporting KC 2 NY Red Bulls 1. Goals: Blessing 25, Salloi 67; Wright-Phillips 90+1. Sporting KC -- Melia; Zusi, Opara, Besler, Sinovic; Espinoza, Ilie, Feilhaber, Gerso (Medranda 56), Rubio (Oliveira 82), Blessing (Salloi 43). NY Red Bulls -- Meara; Lawrence
(Zizzo 66), Murillo, Long, Escobar, Adams, Felipe, Muyl (Veron, 71), Kljestan, Davis (Keita 76), Wright-Phillips. Att.: 21,523.