Dom Dwyer cut to his dominant left foot and released a quick flick. A Houston Dynamo keeper made a diving attempt, but it was too late. As the ball splashed the back of the netting, Dwyer pumped his fist in celebration.
A familiar scene.
Another enjoyable one for Sporting Kansas City.
Dwyer scored in the 86th minute, the go-ahead goal in a 3-1 Sporting KC victory Tuesday against Houston in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals at Sporting Park.
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Dwyer was stoned on a penalty kick earlier in the second half as Sporting KC played with a man advantage.
“I put it on myself to make sure I got the next one,” he said. “When I was younger, I used to miss a chance and let it get to me. I learned it just makes me hungrier now.”
Sporting KC will play host to Real Salt Lake in the Open Cup semifinals on Aug. 12. A knockout victory against Houston sent Sporting KC there — on the heels of a game-winning goal from Dwyer.
In the 2013 Eastern Conference semifinals, Dwyer provided the game-winning score against the Dynamo before Sporting KC defeated Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup Final.
The encore proved as much of a relief as it did celebration. Sporting KC played with a man advantage for the final 62 minutes after Houston midfielder Luis Garrido was ejected in the 30th minute for a dangerous tackle on Amadou Dia.
“Things seemed to go our way with the red card and the penalty (kick), but we weren't able to take advantage of any of those things early on,” midfielder Benny Feilhaber said.
Playing with only 10 men, the Dynamo still managed to grab the first lead of the match, when Will Bruin scored in the 59th minute, but Sporting KC responded with goals from Feilhaber (72nd), Dwyer (86th) and Krisztian Nemeth (88th).
Dwyer stepped to the dot for the penalty kick to put Sporting KC on the board in the 62nd minute, but Houston keeper Joe Willis stoned the attempt. Sporting KC was awarded the kick after Chance Myers was tackled in the box.
In his postgame news conference, Houston coach Owen Coyle argued Sporting KC should have been down to 10 men, as well. Coyle accused Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza of punching Brad Davis in the face during a skirmish in the 57th minute.
Five minutes later, Dwyer stepped to the dot for the penalty kick to put Sporting KC on the board, but Houston keeper Joe Willis stoned the attempt. Sporting KC was awarded the kick after Chance Myers was tackled in the box.
An eventful final 32 minutes.
After a lackluster opening 58.
Houston and Sporting KC combined for zero shots on goal before Bruin cleaned up the aftermath of a corner kick to break the scoreless tie. Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza successfully cleared the first attempt off the line before Bruin stuck home the rebound chance and pimped the Sporting KC crowd in celebration.
Houston opened as the much cleaner team, and it was awarded eight set pieces, including five corner kicks, in the first 23 minutes. Even after it was relegated to playing with 10 men, Houston maintained a competitiveness.
Until Feilhaber struck.
Feilhaber supplied the equalizer in the 71st minute in the form of a low line drive, which he tucked into the far corner of the net. Feilhaber juked a pair of Houston defenders, setting up plenty of time to unleash the shot from 20 yards away.
“That immediately hurt them emotionally, physiologically, and it gave us a big shot of enthusiasm,” Vermes said. “From then on, we were all over them.”
It marked Sporting KC's first shot on target during the run of play.
The first of many.
Dwyer collected a pass from Nemeth before providing the go-ahead score, preventing a pair of overtime periods.
“I had no doubt that he was going to score because I just know his determination,” Vermes said. “It was almost as if (the penalty kick miss) wound him up.”
Dwyer has scored five goals during the club's run through U.S. Open Cup tournament, and he has a team-best 11 goals across all competitions.
None, however, topped the one Tuesday.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal
Sporting Kansas City 3
HOUSTON: Joe Willis, Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, AJ Cochran, Taylor Hunter, Leonel Miranda, Nathan Sturgis (Zach Steinburger, 64th), Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Brad Davis (Mauro Manotas, 77th), Will Bruin (Erick Torres, 64th).
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia, Chance Myers, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Amadou Dia, Benny Feilhaber, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza (Bernardo Anor, 90th), Connor Hallisey (Jacob Peterson, 54th), Dom Dwyer, Krisztian Nemeth (Saad Abdul-Salaam, 90th+).
Houston: 1, Bruin, 59th.
Kansas City: 2, Feilhaber (Besler), 71st minute. 3, Dwyer (Nemeth, Dia), 86th minute. 4, Nemeth (Dwyer, Espinoza), 88th minute.
Shots on goal
Houston: Clark, 57th; Davis, 68th; Miranda.
Kansas City: Mustivar, 34th; Espinoza, 68th.
Houston: Garrido, 30th.
Kansas City: None.
Assistant referee: c.
Assistant referee: c.
4th official: c.
Announced attendance: 19,xxx.