KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting KC will hit the pause button Wednesday in league play to continue their quest for the U.S. Open Cup.
Last month, Sporting KC defeated the Houston Dynamo in the Round of 16, setting up Wednesday's quarterfinal match against Union Omaha. A win this week would put Sporting KC just two more wins away from another trophy.
But the road to victory won't be easy - a path Sporting is all too familiar with the challenge ahead.
Although Omaha isn't an MLS team - they're part of the United Soccer League's League One, Kansas City won't be taking the Owl's threat lightly.
"Everybody who competes in sports, I believe always wants to win and so there's this big hunger for that and sometimes it's the team that's hungrier on that day," Manager Peter Vermes said Tuesday morning. "Whether you're playing a team that's in the USL or the MLS. If you're sleeping on the day if you're competing, if you don't have effort from your players, from your team, then you put yourself at big risk to lose."
Although the match doesn’t seem fair from the outside looking in, Omaha is well equipped. The club took out the Minnesota United FC in the Round of 16. Before that, they defeated the Chicago Fire on penalty kicks.
"It's a good team, they win against some MLS teams also so we have to give everything to win this game," Sporting KC defender Logan Ndenbe said Tuesday. "They will give everything they have; Nothing to lose, like they will fight for everything. "It's like the last game of their life."
Vermes, the longest tenured coach in the MLS agrees with Ndenbe.
"I think they want to prove that their team is as good as an MLS team; I think that has always been the situation," Vermes said. "I have never underestimated my opponent and I preach that stuff all the time, I hope and think our guys are prepared."
The match gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park.