Mauro Manotas loves two things: playing in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and playing against Sporting Kansas City.
Both play important roles in the 23-year-old Colombian striker’s career, and he’ll get a shot at both again on Wednesday as the Dynamo host SKC in the Open Cup Quarterfinals (7:30 p.m., TICKETS).
Manotas joined the Dynamo in May 2015 as a 19-year-old and got his first taste of American soccer in that year’s Open Cup, making his Dynamo debut and getting an assist in a 2-0 win over the Austin Aztex in the fifth round and then earning his first start and scoring his first goal in a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in the Round of 16.
Houston’s 2015 run came to an end at the hands of Sporting Kansas City in the quarterfinals (SKC would go on to win the tournament), but Manotas came back the following year ready for more. He scored again in the opening round for the Dynamo, a 4-0 rout of San Antonio FC to set up a Round of 16 meeting against Kansas City. He then avenged the previous year’s loss by bookending a 3-1 win with goals in the 7th and 84th minutes.
Manotas’ performances in the Open Cup earned him more and more MLS minutes as 2016 wore on, and it paid off in September as he scored his first career MLS goal. The opponent? Sporting Kansas City, of course, helping to spark a Dynamo comeback in a wild 3-3 draw.
The Colombian didn’t get much of a shot at either the Open Cup or Kansas City in 2017, as he didn’t appear in either of the Dynamo’s two USOC matches and played a total of 91 minutes across the Dynamo’s five matchups against Sporting in regular season, playoffs and Open Cup.
So far in 2018, he seems eager to make up for lost time on both accounts. He provided the winning header for the Dynamo in their 1-0 Round of 16 win over Minnesota United in the Open Cup to become the club’s all-time leading scorer in the competition with five goals, and scored twice in the first meeting against SKC this season to bring his total to five goals against them in all competitions.
After coming off the bench as a substitute last weekend in the 0-0 draw last weekend in Colorado, it seems likely that head coach Wilmer Cabrera has Manotas in his plans for Wednesday night’s showdown. With a semifinal berth on the line, you can bet that Manotas will be ready.