Friday, December 19, 2014

Sporting to Open 2015 Season at Home

For the first time since the club rebranded as Sporting Kansas City, the team will open the MLS season at home. Today MLS announced the home openers for all the teams, and Kansas City will be opening the season at home on Sunday, March 8th.

Sporting KC will play the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park in a 6pm kick off to start the season. The game will also be the first MLS game to be shown on Fox Sports 1 with the new television deal kicking in this coming year. It'll be the first chance that fans have the chance to see what Fox is going to do with MLS with the new TV deal. With the game being the first of a double header, the second game being Seattle vs New England, I don't expect Kansas City to get Fox's "A" team for the game.

This will be the third straight game that Sporting will see the New York Red Bulls. Sporting KC ended the regular season against the Red Bulls, losing 2-0 at Sporting Park and then turned around losing 2-1 to the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in the wildcard round of the playoffs. This will be the fourth time in the last six years, and fifth time overall that Sporting will open a season against a team that they ended the prior season against (2012-2013 Philadelphia Union, 2011-2012 DC United, 2009-2010 DC United, and 1996-1997 San Jose Clash).

Unfortunately, it looks like this will be all we get from the schedule until January when it's rumored the full schedule will be released.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sporting Add Nemeth and Marin, Pass on Re-Entry Draft

After being mentioned that deals were close, today Sporting KC confirmed the signings of Krisztian Nemeth and Luis Marin. The 25 year old Hungarian last played with Roda JC Kerkrade in the Dutch league. Nemeth was starting to become a regular for Hungary during their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, appearing in five of their qualifiers, scoring one goal. His last appearance for his country though was back in October of 2013 when he played in Hungary's 2-0 win over Andorra, the game right after coach, Sandor Egervari, resigned. Since then he's been unable to get a call up from the next two coaches.

Coming into KC, Nemeth can play any of the three forward positions according to Vermes, which should give KC some options up top next season. Nemeth has experiencing playing in a 4-3-3 system, so that part of his transition should be okay, it'll depend on whether he can adjust to Vermes' high press usage of the formation. As I mentioned yesterday, he certainly has the pedigree to do well in MLS with the likes of Liverpool and Olympiacos on his resume. The question will be whether he is going to be able to stay healthy (an issue that's dogged him for much of his career).

Marin will come in and likely be Kansas City's starting goalkeeper in the 2015 season. The Chilean has mainly been a back up to Chile's number 2 goalkeeper at Club Universidad de Chile, but has been a starter much of the rest of his career. He's also played a role with his national team, appearing eight times for Chile and was on the country's roster for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

From watching some highlight videos, Marin seems to be a quick distributor of the ball. That's something that Kansas City really hasn't had, but with the way that KC likes to play, could be a useful tool for the club this year.

In other news, true to Robb Heineman's word in his Q&A on Twitter the other night, Sporting didn't have any interest in anyone in the second stage of the re-entry draft. The team passed on their pick in today's draft.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lagerwey Headed to Seattle - Former SKC Wizards Update

One of the big talking points of the offseason has revolved around the "biggest free agent" not a player on the field, but Real Salt Lake's General Manager and former KC Wiz goalkeeper, Garth Lagerwey. Lagerwey is out of contact with Salt Lake and the question this offseason had been where he'd go. From the start it appeared that he wouldn't be staying with RSL. The main rumors had him headed to Toronto to assist with getting the first Canadian club into the playoffs. But a few days ago it came out that Lagerwey was going to head to Seattle and join the Sounders front office. A surprising move that caught many people off guard, but his addition to the Sounders front office will have the Sounders be a continued favorite to win trophies.

Here's the rest of this week's update.

Active without a club or unknown
Vicente Arze
Federico Bessone
Jose Burciaga
Bobby Convey
Toni Dovale
Christian Duke
Edson Elcock
Mechack Jerome
Peterson Joseph
Michael Kafari
Neal Kitson
Rauwshan McKenzie
Michal Mravec
Victor Munoz
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestly
Scott Sealy
Martin Steuble
Ivan Trujillo
Konrad Warzycha

Davy Arnaud - DC - Offseason.
Teal Bunbury - New England - Offseason.
Aurelien Collin - Orlando City - Offseason.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Offseason.
Andy Gruenebaum - San Jose - Offseason.
Michael Harrington - Colorado - Offseason.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Offseason.
Eddie Johnson - DC - Offseason.
Kei Kamara - Columbus - Offseason.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Offseason.
Eric Kronberg - Montreal - Offseason.
CJ Sapong - Philadelphia - Offseason.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Offseason.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus - Offseason.
Sal Zizzo - New York - Offseason.

Stefan Antonijevic - Fort Lauderdale - Offseason.
Alex Martinez - Carolina - Offseason.

Brian Fekete - Pittsburgh - Offseason.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Offseason.
Jonathan Leathers - Charlotte - Offseason.
Kyle Miller - Oklahoma City - Offseason.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Offseason.
Yomby William - Richmond - Offseason.
John Wilson - Charleston - Offseason.

Jamar Beasley - Seattle - Just signed for Seattle.
Adnan Gabeljic - St. Louis - Did not play in St. Louis' 7-6 win over Detroit.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Scored a goal in Baltimore's 13-8 win over Milwaukee. Had an assist in Baltimore's 14-10 win over Milwaukee.
Boris Pardo - Wichita - Started in Wichita's 12-3 loss to Missouri.

Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - No game until 2/22.
Scott Angevine - Vasa - Finland - Offseason.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - No game this week.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - No game this week.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Offseason.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Argentina - No game until January 31.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Offseason.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Offseason.
Roger Espinoza - Wigan - England - Started and played 86 minutes in Wigan's 2-1 loss to Watford.
Herculez Gomez - Tigres - Mexico - Dressed but did not play in Tigres' 1-0 win over America. Dressed but did not play in Tigres' 3-0 loss to America.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - América RN - Brazil - No game until January 25th.
Will John - Maghreb Fes - Morocco - Tied Olympic Safi 1-1.
Igor Kostrov - Veris - Moldova - Veris withdrew from the Moldovan National Division, Kostrov is without a club now.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Offseason.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - No game until 2/8.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - No game until 3/6.
Lawrence Olum - Kedah FA - Malaysia - Offseason.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Offseason.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - Did not dress in Sporting's 1-1 draw with Moreirense.
Soony Saad - BEC Tero Sasana FC - Thailand - Offseason.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Dressed but did not play in Blackburn's 3-1 loss to Brentford.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - On break until February.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - No game until 2/28.

Dwyer Officially Re-Signed, Sporting Close on Marin and Hungarian Nemeth

What'd been hinted at since the weekend and even officially stated by Robb Heineman on Sports Radio 810 is now officially true. Today, Sporting KC formally announced that Dom Dwyer had signed a contract extension with Sporting Kansas City. Dwyer had a break out year in 2014, scoring 22 goals in league play, and 24 in all competitions, both were club records that had stood since the team's inaugural season, when Preki set the records.

While Dwyer says that the deal is a sign to "back off right now" it also helps KC out if teams don't back off. The new deal increases any potential transfer fee a team wants to pay to get Dwyer's services.

Also today, Sam McDowell with the Star was able to get confirmation from a source on KC's side of things that the club was in discussions with Chilean goalkeeper, Luis Marin. Reports out of Chile have been linking Marin with a move to MLS for a little while now, and over the weekend he was linked with Sporting KC. And while McDowell says the club is still finalizing the contracts, reports in Chile say that Marin is set to sign a four year deal with the club.

McDowell was also able to put a name to the forward that KC was close to signing, presumably the one that Heineman mentioned in his interview with 810. Krisztian Nemeth, a Hungarian is fairly well traveled having played in Hungary, England, Greece, and the Netherlands looks headed to Kansas City. While only 25, Nemeth has, on paper, a great pedigree, having been under contract with both Liverpool and Olympiacos, but made minimal appearances for the two clubs, spending most of his time with the reserves or on loan. Still, the talent is there that originally attracted the English club to him. He helped lead the Liverpool reserves to the championship in their division when he was with the club. Nemeth has also featured for his national team, playing 15 times for the full Hungarian national team, scoring once and was a fixture in the country's youth system. Most recently, he was with Roda JC Kerkrade of the Dutch league, scoring 8 goals in 19 league appearances for the club in the 2013-2014 season. If he can find his form, and if he can stay healthy (an issue that marred his time with both Liverpool and Olympiacos) he can be successful in KC and could be a steal of a signing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Look at Heineman's #flyNtweet

With the offseason in full swing, it'd been a while since Robb Heineman had hosted one of his Twitter Q&A sessions. So today with a trip home from New York, Heineman held a #flyNtweet. Fans asked a number of questions, I'll just touch on a few of the higher points here.

One of the first questions posted a proposed starting 11 and asked Heineman how many of the 11 he expected to start the season. Heineman responded with just over half, six of the 11 he expected to start. You can make assumptions, but it's easy to guess Dwyer, Zusi, Feilhaber, Sinovic, Besler, and Marin as the six Heineman is thinking of. To go along with all those changes to the starting lineup that was posted, Heineman also said that he expects 10 new players to be brought in. Considering the team was sitting on 19 players under contract, adding 10 isn't that much of a surprise.

A number of the questions that Heineman was asked pertained to the team's pursuit of Roger Espinoza and bringing him back into a KC uniform. Heineman continues to have high hopes for bringing up back, and also stated that the Honduran would not be a DP if and when he returns. His return is something that Heineman seems to be really interested in and wanting to happen.

Speaking of Espinoza and the defensive midfield position, Heineman said the team is looking at several DMs. He also said that DM is one of the three positions that he felt needed the most improvement along with goalkeeper and left winger.

Elsewhere on the field, another question from fans was the health of Chance Myers and how his recovery was going. Heineman said that Myers is currently ahead of schedule and will start.

When it came to the Superdraft and Sporting's 3 first round picks, Heineman said that right now he's guessing that the team will trade some of those picks. Whether that's for allocation money, or to move up in the draft like Heineman hinted at yesterday, remains to be seen.

Another question that Heineman has been asked that has been a topic of discussion off and on all year is the future of Erik Palmer-Brown. With the interest from Juventus apparently still going strong the question is how long he'll stay. When asked about the plans for EPB, Heineman said that he'd like to go to Europe. He does come back later though and says that there aren't plans to sell him this winter. Of course since EPB isn't 18 yet and can't get an EU work permit yet, selling him before his 18th birthday doesn't make sense anyway.

In terms of player signings, Heineman confirmed another one for the club, saying the team has signed a guy that can play on the wing, another area that Heineman said needed to improve. Heineman was also asked about signing another designated player, to witch Heineman responded that the chances were "strong to quite strong." When I responded wtih a question asking if that mean there would be a fourth DP slot or if that meant getting rid of Claudio Bieler, Heineman responded that the team has allocation money that would be able to be used to pay down the salary to below DP levels. As a follow up to that, Heineman was asked whether the new DP was a new player or if Dwyer's contract would make him a DP. He confirmed that it would be a new player, meaning Dwyer signed his new contract for under a DP contract. Heineman was also asked specifically about TFC's Dominic Oduro, which he responded by saying that while he's a guy they like, his salary is too high. Heineman also said that the two players that Sporting is looking to bring in this year to play goal are both from outside MLS curently. He also confirmed that KC's new goalkeeper is not a DP as well.

Another question for the team heading into 2015 was whether Brazilian Igor Juliao would return to KC. The Fluminense right back was on loan last year, and Heineman seems to be optimistic on him returning to Kansas City for the new season.
Heineman also has high on the possibility of bringing back Jacob Peterson.

There's another opportunity for KC to pick up players this week in the second stage of the re-entry draft. Based off Heineman's Tweet though it doesn't look like KC fans should expect much from that draft.

While bringing in new players is important, one area on the field has been lacking a lot since the stadium opened has been the team's home form. Sporting Park hasn't been the fortress that the team really wants. It hasn't become a stadium like Rio Tinto where Sporting can have a long unbeaten run. Heineman said that this is one of the biggest things that the team is emphasizing.

Questions about the CBA came up, and while Heineman said that he can't speak on it, he did make one comment regarding the potential layout of the league, saying that the odds of adding 2 more DPs to bring the total to 5 or doubling the cap were both 0.

One response I was sad to see was Heineman's answer to a question about a hall of fame in Kansas City. I'd read articles last week about US Soccer signing a non-compete agreement with the city of Frisco, Texas to negotiate building a Hall of Fame there. But it's still disappointing to see Heineman come out and say it's not going to happen in KC.

Over the course of the Tweets, Heineman did kill a couple of the silly rumors that fans have come up with. Including the idea that Sporting should go after Steven Gerrard of Liverpool or make a trade with Columbus to try to bring Kei Kamara back to Kansas City or even the thought of moving US-Mexico away from Columbus before the US team actually loses there.

Another area that hasn't been touched on in a while that was brought up again is the stadium sponsorship of Sporting Park. Since the split with the LiveStrong corporation Sporting Park has not had a stadium sponsor. And unfortunately according to Heineman, there is no new news on it either.

Another off the field area that Heineman touched on was some news that was also in the letter the team sent to the Garden City mayor about the USSF training facility. The facility will apparently be starting in March, a big step for Kansas City.

But remember about Heineman's answers:

Sporting Sign Haitian Midfielder, James Marcelin

Sporting announced their third addition of the offseason today, announcing the signing of Haitian midfielder, James Marcelin. Marcelin spent last year with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL, making 15 appearances for the club as they advanced to the Soccer Bowl before losing to the San Antonio Scorpions. Before that he'd spent time with in the USL playing with the Antigua Barricuda.

He does have MLS experience though, playing with both the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas from 2011 through 2012, appearing 39 times in MLS games.

Marcelin, a defensive midfielder, has also appeared for his country, playing 22 times for Haiti, scoring three goals as well. He becomes the third Haitian to play for Sporting KC after Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jerome.

On the surface, one thing that is a question is this quote from Timbers GM, Gavin Wilkinson, from when Marcelin was waived by the club. The quote implies that some off the field action is what led to Marcelin's waiving, something Wilkinson deemed unprofessional.

I hadn't seen much of the Strikers last year, but I would think this move is more for depth purposes. He's a decent addition, but not one that I think should really be the go to guy at the defensive midfield position every game for Kansas City.

Sporting Park to Host Gold Cup and USA Again

For the fourth time in five years, Sporting Park will host the US men's national team next summer as part of the Gold Cup. The US national team will close out Group A on Monday, July 13th at Sporting Park against an opponent still to be determined. The US will open play in the Gold Cup on Tuesday July 7th in Frisco, Texas before moving to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on the 10th for the second game before finishing the group phase in Kansas City.
The US will be attempting to sweep this cycle's Gold Cups, giving them an automatic berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. Another team winning the Gold Cup would lead to a one game playoff at a later date to decide who would represent CONCACAF at the competition.
From reading the release put out by Sporting, tickets to the Gold Cup double header will not be included in season ticket packages this time around, unlike 2011. Season ticket holders will have access to an exclusive pre-sale prior to tickets going on sale to the general public.
In the USA's previous three trips to Sporting Park, the US is 3-0-0 with a +5 goal difference (6 for, 1 against). In Kansas City as a whole, the US men are 5-0-0, scoring 13 while allowing 3. Add in the US women's record in KC, and the US men and women are 8-0-3 in Kansas City, scoring 25 and conceding just 7.
This could also mean that Kansas City host three national team games in 2015. There will be the two Gold Cup games, and there is still the Mexico vs Paraguay friendly in March that hasn't been confirmed to be in KC just yet. With KC on the short list to host the 2017 Copa America Centenario the three games would be a chance for KC to impress further. The city has already shown they'll support the US. And the Olympic qualifiers showed that the city will show up for games that don't include the US.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review of SKC Academy Graduates in College

The college soccer season is over, and with it is a final review of the college season for Sporting KC Academy graduates. Here's a look at how each graduate did this season. For the seniors I've also included their career numbers in college.

Class of 2010

Brandon Fricke (Butler University) - D - RSr - Started all 18 of Butler's games, scoring a goal and adding an assist at Butler went 6-7-5. Appeared in 71 games, scoring 6 goals and recording 2 assists in his college career.

Class of 2011

Eric Hymer (Fort Hays State) - D - Sr - Started all 21 of Fort Hays games as they went 11-6-4. Played in 70 games and recorded 1 assist in his college career.

Raymond Lee (Saint Louis University) - MF - Sr - Played in all 20 of Saint Louis' games, scoring 2 goals and recording 4 assists as Saint Louis went 14-4-2. Played in 74 games, scored 14 goals and added 6 assists in his college career.

Eric Moore (Rockhurst University) - D - Sr - Played in 8 games, scoring a goal as Rockhurst went 9-6-2. These were the only appearances of his college career.

Michael Oakley (University of Missouri Kansas City) - D - Sr - Played in 14 games, starting 11 of UMKC's 20 games, scoring one goal as UMKC went 8-10-2. Appeared in 67 games, scoring 2 goals and recording 2 assists in his college career.

Paul Oliver (California Baptist) - D/MF - Sr - Played in 16 of Cal Baptist's 18 games, starting 13, scoring 5 goals and adding an assist as Cal Baptist finished 8-9-1. Played in 54 games, scoring 8 goals and adding 3 assists in his career.

Jordan Rideout (University of Missouri Kansas City) - F - Sr - Started 11 of UMKC's 20 games, scoring 2 goals as UMKC went 8-10-2. Played in 66 games, scoring 23 goals and adding 2 assists in his college career.

Taylor Vinnage (Benedictine) - GK - Sr - Played started all 17 of Bendictine's games, recording an assist as Benedictine went 7-8-2. Played in 55 games in his college career.

Class of 2012

Andrew Brown (Bradley University) - MF - Jr -Played in all 20 of Bradley's games, starting 19 of them, recording 3 goals and 3 assists as Bradley went 9-11.

Eric DeJulio (Creighton University) - D - Jr - Started all 22 of Creighton's games as the Blue Jays went 16-3-3.

Daniel Hare (Loyola University in Chicago) - D - Jr - Played in 17 of Loyola's 19 games as they went 8-6-5.

Andrew Lightner (Dayton) - D - RSo - Started 18 of Dayton's 19 games, recording 2 assists as Dayton went 7-7-5.

Andrew Miller (Baker University) - D - Jr - Played 14 games as Baker went 9-9-3

Nate Opperman (University of Evansville) - F - Jr - Played in 10 of Evansville's 17 games, recording 2 assists as Evansville went 6-10-1.

Derek Schrick (University of Missouri Kansas City) - MF - Jr - Did not play in any of UMKC's games.

Chris Tuso (Baker) - MF - Jr - Played in 9 games as Baker went 9-9-3.

Shane Woods (Drury University) - F - Jr - Appeared in 12 games, starting one, recording an assist as Drury went 16-5.

Class of 2013

Joe Amico (Jacksonville) - D - So - Played in all 16 of Jacksonville's games, starting 14 as Jacksonville went 4-12.

Chris Arce (Neosho CC) - MF - So - Played in 13 games, starting 8 of Neosho's 19 games as they went 14-4-1.

Matt Bernard (Drake) - MF - RFr - Played in 7 games, starting 1 as Drake went 5-11-3.

Paul Dean (Rockhurst University) - D - So - Started all 17 of Rockhurst's games, scoring a goal and adding 3 assists as Rockhurst went 9-6-2.

Seo-In Kim (Duke) - MF - So - Played in 18 of Duke's 19 games, starting 5, recording 2 goals and an assist as Duke went 9-9-1.

Adam Lightner (Northern Illinois University) - D - So - Played in 14 of Northern Illinois' 17 games, starting 2 as Northern Illinois went 3-9-5.

Clay Stewart - (University of Missouri Kansas City) - MF/D - So - Played in 14 games, starting three of UMKC's 20 games, scoring one goal as UMKC went 8-10-2.

Wes White (University of Missouri Kansas City) - F - RFr - Started 17 of UMKC's 20 games, scoring four goals and adding four assists as UMKC went 8-10-2.

Austin Wilcox (University of Missouri Kansas City) - MF - So - Played in 14 of UMKC's 20 games, starting six of them, scoring two goals as UMKC went 8-10-2.

Drew Wilson (Fort Hays State University) - D - So - Played in 20 of Fort Hays 21 games, starting 19 of those games, scoring two goals and adding an assist as Fort Hays went 11-6-4.

Kyle Vassar - (University of Missouri Kansas City) - D - RFr - Played in four of UMKC's 20 games as UMKC went 8-10-2.

Class of 2014

Darby Cronin (University of Missouri Kansas City)- MF - Fr - Played in 13 of UMKC's 20 games, starting one and recording one assist as UMKC went 8-10-2

Andrew Dittemore (Missouri State) - GK - Fr - Did not play in any games as Missouri State went 9-4-4.

Andy Ericks (Colorado School of Mines) - MF - Fr - Played in 7 games as Colorado went 12-7-1.

Heath Honold (Wake Forest) - F - Fr - Played in 5 games as Wake went 10-7-2.

Mason Leonard (Drake) - D - Fr - Started all 19 of Drake's games, recording a goal and an assist as Drake went 5-11-3.

Blake Levine (Baker) - F - Fr - Played in 20 of Baker's 21 games, scoring six goals as Baker went 9-9-3.

Matthew Lewis (Fordham) - D - Fr - Started all 21 games for Fordham, recording an assist as Fordham went 8-9-4.

Andy Lopez (North Carolina) - MF - Fr - Did not play in any games as UNC went 15-5-2.

Noah Mudd (Trevecca) - D - Fr - Played in all 16 games as Trevecca went 5-10-1.

Joey Piatczyc (West Virginia) - MF - Fr - Played in 17 of West Virginia's 19 games, recording 8 assists as West Virgina went 11-7-1.

Cole Stevenson (Denver) - F - Fr - Played in 18 of Denver's 20 games scoring 1 goal and recording 2 assists as Denver went 11-8-1.

Austin Williamson (Northeastern State University) - GK - Fr - Made 1 appearance as Northeastern went 16-3-2.

Zach Wright (North Carolina) - F - Fr - Played in 17 of UNC's 22 games, scoring one goal and recording 5 assists.

Sporting KC Announce New PBP Announcer and Other News From Heineman Interview

Robb Heineman made an appearance on Between the Lines with Kevin Kietzman and made one big announcement and dropped news on other announcements coming. The main reason for his appearance was the announcement that Nate Bukaty will become the team's new play-by-play announcer for the club. Heineman said the move had to do with the club's commitment to being local. It also addresses Heineman's earlier comment about someone who will be here for the long term. I know that Cal Williams had high hopes for his career and while I'll definitely miss hearing him on the call, or even just having a in depth soccer talk with him in the Members' Club, I understand the move from that aspect. As long as Bukaty's play-by-play doesn't go full Brad Feldman or Shep Messing homer talk I should be able to survive the move.
In regards to the broadcast, Heineman also mentioned other work that they are trying to do. The club will keep Jake Yardrich on the broadcast team last year. After spending the past few seasons as Williams' color analyst, Yardrich moved down to be the sideline reporter in 2014. Heineman also mentioned that the club is current talking with a former player about returning to the team as well to fill out the broadcast team.
The second half of the interview moved more to on the field player movement. Heineman admitted that the moves made were motivated both by the poor finish to the season and salary cap considerations. He put the trade of Aurelien Collin firmly into the cap consideration move, explaining that with the deal Matt Besler signed during the summer, KC didn't want to put that much of the cap into just the center back position for the team.
Heineman did mention that there was some other movement that was done, including a new goalkeeper. The assumption with the goalkeeper is that it is Chilean, Luis Marin, who is linked with a move to MLS and Kansas City. Marin, from the highlights I've seen looks like he should fit in well and looks comfortable with quick distribution, which is something I think that KC could do more to exploit next season against teams. After his tweet over the weekend, Heineman also confirmed that the team would be making a formal announcement on the re-signing of Dom Dwyer.  This on the surface would appear to be the biggest move that the team has made of the offseason. Not only does it keep Dwyer in KC, it also means that should he continue to do well and teams in England come after him, the price KC can command goes up because of how long the team has him locked up.
The final bit of player news that Heineman brought up was that the team was signing another forward to be Dwyer's back up. Kietzman didn't touch on it, but the fact that Heineman said that a forward was being brought in to back up Dwyer would seem to signify that Claudio Bieler's tenure with the club is going to be ending in the near future. With Dwyer signing a new contract, and how much that contract will be, having a designated player as his back up would continue to be a mistake for the club.
In the final bit of the interview, Heineman talked about the league currently and where it stands. One thing that he brought up was that the league needs to clean things up. The example he specifically brought up was the playoff system. The league has had a new playoff system almost every year that it's been in existence, and with the rumored expansion to six teams from each conference, it could very well be changing again next year.
Heineman also talked about the transparency of the league, mentioning that the league needs to explain things more to fans with regards to the league. This has been one of the big complaints from fans was the inability to follow the league as closely because of the lack of transparency in how things are done in the league.
So it seems we could be in for a busy week of information from the team.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Comets Remain Undefeated

The Missouri Comets continued their undefeated start to the season as they topped the Wichita B-52's for the second time this season, this time by a score of 12-3.

Unlike the last time these two teams met, the B-52's were able to keep things close for a half. Neither team was able to get on the board in the first quarter, with Danny Waltman being called upon to make a number of import saves to keep the score scoreless. The second quarter started much the same before four and a half minutes in, Coady Andrews deflected a Wichita clearance into the net to give the Comets the first goal of the game. Near the midpoint of the quarter the Comets found themselves on the power play after a boarding penalty. With the man advantage they doubled their lead as Max Touloute found John Sosa who scored to make it 2-0. This is how the scores remained heading into the half time break.

The third quarter is where the Comets really broke the game open, scoring six goals to put the game away. It started less than a minute in as Vahid Assadpour scored to make it 3-0. Just under six minutes in, the Comets made it 4-0 as Leo Gibson picked up his first assist of the night, setting up Touloute for the goal. The Comets continued to fly and eight minutes in, Assadpour had his brace off an assist from Sosa. Just over a minute later though the B-52's were on the board through John Markey. The Comets though responded in kind as Milan Ivanovic's shot was deflected in off of Gibson to restore the four goal lead. Late in the half the Comets again struck in quick succession, scoring two goals just over 30 seconds a part. Alain Matingou started the scoring off another assist from Gibson before Brian Harris finished out the scoring in the quarter firing home a restart after a touch from Sosa.

The fourth quarter saw the B-52s try to make a game of it, but the teams ended up exchanging goals for most of the quarter. The quarter started with the Comets finishing up a power play from the third quarter, and right as the penalty expired, Sosa picked out Bryan Perez who beat Boris Pardo to make it 9-1. Wichita responded quickly as Pardo found Brady Bryant, who got in behind Missouri's defense and beat Waltman to make it 9-2. Six minutes in the Comets again found themselves on the power play and again the Comets took advantage as Gibson found Sosa for his second of the night to make it 10-2. The final quarter saw a number of power play opportunities, the B-52s took advantage of their own after a penalty on the Comets for too many men. With the extra attacker and putting in their sixth attacker, the B-52s again cut the lead to seven through Matt Clare. Shortly after that the Comets were again down a man for a boarding foul on Sosa. The Comets though were the ones that took advantage of Wichita throwing numbers forward as Touloute won the ball and was able to walk it into the net to make it 11-3. Less than a minute left the Comets won a power play themselves after the Wichita sixth attacker, Alex Moseley handled the ball outside the box. On the ensuing shootout attempt, Gibson's shot hit the post, but was turned in by Harris to finish the scoring for the night at 12-3.

The Comets now have a weekend off before returning home the weekend after Christmas to take on the San Diego Sockers, which should be a more competitive game against one of the better PASL teams.

Sporting KC Closing in on Re-Signing Dwyer

In a week that say the team trade two long serving and well liked players in Aurelien Collin and CJ Sapong, and saw the departure of play-by-play man, Callum Williams, Sporting KC fans really needed some good news this week. Fans finally got some tonight thanks to a Tweet from team president, Robb Heineman.

While it doesn't appear to be 100% quite yet, based on the Tweet from Heineman, is seems it'd be a shock if Dom Dwyer is not re-signed to a new contract soon by the club. According to Heineman's Tweet, there are apparently still some agent details to work out, but "Dwyer will b in kc 4 3 more (at least)."

This was certainly a much needed step for Kansas City and for Dwyer. What it does for KC, is that it not only locks down their team's main forward and single season record holder, but it also means that if Dwyer continues his goal scoring form that he showed in the 2014 season, and a team in England or Europe comes calling, the price for his services goes up.

For Dwyer, re-signing will likely see him get a decent pay bump from his salary last year, which had a base of $80,000 and a guaranteed compensation of $92,500 per the players union. Hopefully he can continue his goal scoring form.

Does Sporting Have Their New Goalkeeper?

Reports out of Chile have Sporting KC set to sign a new goalkeeper. That goalkeeper is Luis Marin. The 31 year old has been playing with Club Universidad de Chile on loan since 2013 from O'Higgens FC of Chile. Universidad is one of the top teams in Chile, having won the 2014 Apertura this year. Marin has also been capped for his national team, playing eight times for Chile. He had been on Chile's provisional roster for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

At 31, he's at the prime age for a goalkeeper, which should suit Kansas City perfectly. He can come in and be the starter here and hopefully in the next two years begin to get pushed by KC's homegrown goalkeeper, Jon Kempin.

Sporting still has one more spot for a goalkeeper on their roster. The likelihood is that it's either a cheap veteran or a rookie right out of college in my opinion.

Sporting Garden City?

Sporting Kansas City looks like they're trying to expand their affiliate network further. Already with 13 affiliated youth clubs, Sporting is looking to expand it further into Western Kansas as the team is on the agenda for an upcoming meeting in Garden City, Kansas about building a youth complex there with STAR Bonds and the potential creation of a PDL team.

Starting on page 74 of the document is a letter from Sporting to the city discussing the club and their proposal to build a youth soccer complex with Sporting Garden City being the primary tenant of the facility.

The hope for the facility from reading the letter is that the facility may take on a residency type feel as there's talk in the letter of building dormitories, classrooms, etc. The fields themselves would be a mix of synthetic and grass fields with a "championship field" stadium as well. The stadium is where the team would hope to have a PDL team play. Sporting's hope is that a local investor would step up to run the PDL club but the club would have Sporting's support.

The PDL part is where Sporting lose me a bit on this. While Garden City wouldn't be the smallest city to have a PDL team (Portsmouth, NH, St. Albans, VT, and Bluefield, WV all have teams), it just seems like an odd place to put a team. Would the team go to the Mountain Division and have to travel to the likes of Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Provo, or would they fit in the Heartland Division with the likes of Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Honestly a Garden City team would probably be better off in the NPSL playing in a South Central Conference that would see their longest trip being San Antonio and close trips to Wichita and Joplin.

I like the plan for the youth development, it's certainly an area that KC could find players in, they've done it before with the likes of Eduardo Moreno playing in KC's academy a few years ago, training with the first team and spending a little time with the US U18 national team in Bradenton, FL. As for the PDL, I would think SKC could be better served trying to get a team back in KC, or to try to put a team in Omaha and try to get into the Creighton pipeline a little bit.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sporting Pass on Re-Entry Draft. Kronberg, Gruenebaum Selected

MLS held the first phase of this year's Re-Entry Draft. And like most years, there was little movement. The prior four drafts had averaged under three picks in the first phase. Today, three players were taken, none of them going to Kansas City, as Sporting passed on making a selection in the draft. Peter Vermes has still yet to pick someone in the first phase.

Of the three players that were taken, two of them were Sporting KC players. With the first pick, Montreal selected KC's former starter, Eric Kronberg. With the Impact having dumped Troy Perkins, Kronberg will likely be battling Evan Bush for the starting job in Montreal. With the second pick in the draft, the San Jose Earthquakes grabbed KC's other available goalkeeper, Andy Gruenebaum. Gruenebaum had played well for Kansas City, but continued to struggle with injuries, missing games at three separate times during the season. He'll likely come in and either compete with or be the back up to David Bingham. The third player taken was Toronto FC grabbing Real Salt Lake's Robbie Findley.

Kansas City on List to Potentially Host Copa America Centenario

Kansas City could be hosting the premier national team competition in the Western Hemisphere in 2016. The Copa America will be hosted in the US in 2016 as the Copa Centenario. It will include the nations of CONMEBOL as well as six teams from the CONCACAF region, including the USA and Mexico.

CONMEBOL is apparently eying 23 cities in the US as potential hosting cities for the tournament according to Globo in Brazil. One of those cities is Kansas City.

The list apparently came up in a CONMEBOL Exective Committee meeting. The map has two different colors for cities listed, but no explanation of those colors. Kansas City is grouped a number of favorites to host the tournament like Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, etc. Whether that means anything or not is unknown. But it'd certainly  be fun to have the tournament in Kansas City.