It’s a shame really — a shame that Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens scored on himself and a shame that Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin didn’t get credit for the goal.
In a fourth-round match Tuesday in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Livestrong Sporting Park, which Sporting KC would win 2-0, Collin drove a header that wound up in goal off a 45-yard cross from midfielder Graham Zusi.
As he has so many other times for Sporting KC, Collin left a befuddled defender helpless in the box and powered one of his trademark headers at Pickens, who instinctively dove left and pushed the shot into the post.
Unfortunately for Pickens, the ricochet came right back to him and caromed off his arm and into the net as he lay on the ground for a 1-0 Sporting KC lead in the 27th minute.
Officially, it was an own goal, but Collin sprinted toward the corner in well-deserved celebration anyway and it wasn’t long before Sporting KC was sprinting into the Open Cup quarterfinals for the eighth time in club history and the fourth time in the last five seasons.
“It was a pretty physical game that got out of hand at times, but for the most part I felt like we dealt with it well,” said forward Teal Bunbury, whose 79th-minute goal was the fifth in his last four games against Colorado.
Six minutes after subbing on for Jacob Peterson, Soony Saad’s cross from the right side set in motion yet another Bunbury dagger against the Rapids.
Colorado defender Kosuke Kimura headed the volley straight up, and Sporting KC forward C.J. Sapong won a duel with Rapids center back Jeff Larentowicz for the 50/50 ball.
Sapong’s header went straight to Teal Bunbury, who deftly redirected the ball into goal with his right foot for an insurmountable two-goal lead.
Bunbury scored twice in the opening 14 minutes during a 2-2 draw when the two clubs met in the MLS regular season 17 days earlier.
He’d been dangerous throughout once again in one of his most assertive performances of the season, including several minor skirmishes with Rapids defenders at various times in the box.
Colorado managed only a handful of good scoring opportunities.
“We were not very aggressive in the last third, and the game didn’t flow much. So we didn’t have the energy all the time,” Rapids coach Oscar Pareja said.
The first came right before halftime when a pair of Rapids players slipped behind Sporting KC’s offside trap, but before the combination could do any damage left back Seth Sinovic took the ball right off Wells Thompson’s foot at the edge of the penalty box and booted it to safety.
“In general, we battled pretty well,” Sinovic said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game by any means. We didn’t possess as well as we can and didn’t create a ton of chances, but we battled really well.”
The right post and crossbar spared Sporting KC and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen in the 52nd minute when a 15-yard rocket from Jaime Castrillon banged off the upper right corner of the goal frame.
Colorado’s other good chance came on a quick counterattack in the 69th minute, but Collin thwarted the buildup with a picture-perfect jab as Edu entered the Sporting KC penalty box.
“We did a good job of getting the first goal and defended really well,” Vermes said. “I’m not sure how many shots they had, but I’m sure it was minimal. And there really wasn’t anything very dangerous except the one that hit the crossbar.”