SACRAMENTO — Sporting Kansas City’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign came to an end Wednesday night in a penalty shootout against USL Championship club Sacramento Republic FC.

While the lower-division club’s Cinderella run continues to the championship game, Sporting suffered a gut-punch in an already sub-par season by the club’s standards.

Veteran defender Graham Zusi failed to convert Sporting’s fifth penalty kick in the shootout, sending Sacramento to the final to face Orlando City.

“This was our chance to get to a final and try and win some silverware this year,” captain Johnny Russell said. “We’ve let ourselves down and we’ve let our fans down back home as well and the ones that have traveled out here. Just really disappointing to be honest.”

Sporting KC once again struggled to find the back of the net despite creating several chances through the play of Daniel Salloi, Russell and second half substitute Felipe Hernandez.

Sporting took 31 shots with eight on target compared to Sacramento’s 13 shots and two on target. Goalkeeper Danny Vitiello put on a master-class performance with eight saves against Kansas City.

With Sporting on the front foot for a majority of the match, manager Peter Vermes made one adjustment in the second half, bringing on newcomer William Agada for Khiry Shelton.

Hernandez subbed in for another newcomer in Erik Thommy who went down injured. His third and final substitute came in the second period of extra time when defender Ben Sweat needed to be carried off the field, bringing on Logan Ndenbe.

Fatigue began to play a factor as players began to cramp up in extra time, but Vermes elected to not make any more substitutions with a penalty kick shootout on the horizon.

“Guys were playing well. People cramp up all the time in games… you get cramps, it’s the way it goes. You drink something, put something in your body, and get on with it,” Vermes said.

Sporting become the third-consecutive MLS-side to lose to Sacramento Republic, joining the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes.

Sporting KC now face a quick turnaround as they return to Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday to host Austin FC who are second in the Western Conference.