Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Former SKC Wizards Update

 This week's former SKC Wizards update is out.  Lots of US Open Cup games this week for former players and international play.  Here's this week's update.

Active without a club or unknown
Stephane Auvray
Chris Brunt
Doug DeMartin
Birahim Diop
Pablo Escobar
Mauro Fuzetti
AJ Godbolt
Tom Gray
Willy Guadarrama
Santiago Hirsig
Aaron Hohlbein
Jonathan Leathers
Carlos Marinelli
Ryan McMahen
Anthony Noriega
Ryan Pore
Sergei Raad
Ofori Sarkodie
Sam Scales
Ivan Trujillo
Lance Watson

MLS
Davy Arnaud - Montreal - Started and played 74 minutes in Montreal's 3-2 loss to Colorado.
Adam Cristman - LA - Did not dress in LA's 2-1 loss to Hosuton.  Did not play in LA's 2-1 loss to Carolina.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Started and played 70 minutes in Salt Lake's 3-2 win over Dallas.  Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Salt Lake's 3-1 loss to Minnesota.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 3-2 loss to Salt Lake.  Dressed but did not play in Dallas' 2-0 loss to Charlotte.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Out recovering from surgery.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 1-1 draw with Vancouver.  Started and played 120 minutes in Portland's 1-0 loss to Cal FC.
Eddie Johnson - Seattle - Came off the bench and played 17 minutes in Seattle's 1-1 draw with Chivas.  Started and played 45 minutes in Seattle's 5-1 win over Atlanta.
Chris Konopka - Philadelphia - Started and played 90 minutes in Philadelphia's 1-0 loss to Toronto.  Started and played 90 minutes in Philadelphia's 3-0 win, recording the shutout over Rochester.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Chivas - Came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Chivas' 1-1 draw with Seattle.  Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 win over Ventura County.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not dress in DC's 3-2 win over New England.  Did not dress in DC's 2-1 win over Richmond.
Scott Sealy - Dallas - Dressed but did not play in Dallas' 3-2 loss to Salt Lake.  STarted and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 2-0 loss to Charlotte.
Ryan Smith - Chivas - Started and played 88 minutes in Chivas' 1-1 draw with Seattle.  STarted and played 45 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 win over Ventura County.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Started and played 90 minutes in San Jose's 2-1 loss to KC.  Did not play in San Jose's 2-1 win over Fort Lauderdale.
Shavar Thomas - Montreal - Dressed but did not play in Montreal's 3-2 loss to Colorado.
Tyson Wahl - Montreal - Dressed but did not play in Montreal's 3-2 loss to Colorado.
Josh Wolff - DC - Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in DC's 3-2 win over New England.  Started and played 120 minutes in DC's 2-1 win over Richmond.

NASL
Jose Burciaga - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 1-1 draw with Fort Lauderdale.  Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 5-1 loss to Seattle.
Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Started and played 86 minutes in Minnesota's 0-0 draw with Tampa.  Dressed but did not play in Minnesota's 3-1 win over Salt Lake.
Scott Lorenz - Fort Lauderdale - Came off the bench and played 14 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 1-1 draw with Atlanta.  Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-1 loss to San Jose.
Amir Lowery - Carolina - Started and played 90 minutes in Carolina's 2-1 win over LA.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Did not play in Fort Lauderdale's 1-1 draw with Atlanta.  Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-1 loss to San Jose.

USL
Edson Elcock - Richmond - Started and played 53 minutes in Richmond's 3-1 win over Wilmington.  Started and played 77 minutes in Richmond's 2-1 loss to DC.
Akeem Priestley - Dayton - Came off the bench and played 20 minutes in Dayton's 2-2 draw with Rochester.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 70 minutes in Richmond's 3-1 win over Wilmington.  Did not play in Richmond's 2-1 loss to DC.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 1-0 win over LA.  Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 3-0 loss to New York.

PDL
Michael Kraus - FC Tucson - Started and played 90 minutes in Tucson's 1-0 win over Pali.

NPSL
Nelson Pizarro - San Diego Flash - Defeated Sacramento 3-1.

Indoor
Jamar Beasley - Wichita Wings - Season is over.
Nick Garcia - Kansas Magic - Season is over.
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Season is over.
Mike Jones - Illinois Piasa - Season is over.
JT Murray - Louisville Lightning - Season is over.
Boris Pardo - Comets - Season is over.
Yomby William - Norfolk SharX - Season is over.
Paul Wright - Anaheim Bolts - Season is over.

International
Vicente Arze - Diosgyor - Hungary - Did not dress in Diosgyor's 3-2 win over Vasas.
Omar Bravo - Cruz Azul - Mexico - Season is over.
Sunil Chhetri - Mohun Bagan - India - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Defensores de Cambaceres - Argentina - Lost 4-1 to Midland.
Daneil Cyrus - 1st FC Santa Rosa - Trinidad - Season is over.
Gary Glasgow - North East Stars - Trinidad - Season is over.
Herculez Gomez - Santos Laguna - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 26 minutes in the USA's 5-1 win over Scotland.  Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in the USA's 4-1 loss to Brazil.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Vasas - Hungary - Did not dress in Vasas' 3-2 loss to Diosgyor.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Season is over.
Jeferson - Bahia - Brazil - Did not dress in either of Bahia's games.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Season is over.
Mike Jones - FC Hjorring - Denmark - Not in season.
Neal Kitson - Northampton Town - England - Season is over.
Igor Kostrov - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Season is over.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Season is over.
Michal Mravec - FC Emmen - Netherlands - Season is over.
Pablo Punyed - Fjolnir - Iceland - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Fjolnir's 5-0 win over IR.
Craig Rocastle - Thrasyvoulos Fylis FC - Greece - Season is over.
Milos Stojcev - FC Akzhayik - Kazakhstan - Came off the bench and played 20 minutes in Akzhayik's 3-1 loss to Irtysh.
Matt Taylor - SC Paderborn 07 - Germany - Season is over.
Diego Walsh - TOT SC - Thailand - Season is over.

Sporting KC Sign Miller

Sporting KC added another player to their roster today with the addition of Supplemental Draft pick Kyle Miller.  Miller, the 54th selection in the Supplemental Draft, is the 4th player from this year's draft class to be signed, along with Dom Dwyer, Cyprian Hedrick, and Shawn Singh. 

Since being drafted, Miller has consistently been training with the team.  As a local KC kid, it's been easy for Miller to hang around and continue to train with the team.  He's appeared in a few reserve games as a guest player for KC as well.  Miller also becomes the 6th player with local ties on the team, joining Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Jon Kempin, Kevin Ellis, and Michael Thomas.

S.A.S. Wednesday After Stats

Chance Myers and Aurelien Collin are the only two players to start every game in all competitions this year.

Myers, Collin, Matt Besler, and Graham Zusi are the only 4 players to appear in every game so far this season.

Three players, Jon Kempin, Konrad Warzycha, and Dom Dwyer made their professional debut.

Kempin, at 19 years, 51 days, became the second youngest player to ever start a game for Kansas City in all competitions behind Yura Movsisyan's 18 years 357 days.  He knocked Peter Byaruhanga at 20 years 364 days off the 10 ten.

Kempin also became the 4th youngest player to appear in a competitive game for Kansas City, knocking Byaruhanga's 20 years 325 days off the top 10.

Kempin is also the youngest player to have his first appearance be a start for Kansas City.

Soony Saad, at 19 years, 286 days became the 4th youngest player to start a game for Sporting KC in all competitions.  Saad knocked Nick Garcia at 20 years, 351 days off the top 10.

Paulo Nagamura's goal was his 10th in all competitions in his MLS career.

Chance Myers made his 7th US Open Cup appearance for KC, tying him with Diego Gutierrez for 12th on that list.

Myers made his 6th Open Cup start, tying him with Jonathan Leathers, Gutierrez, and Shavar Thomas

Matt Besler made his 6th USOC appearance, tying him with Leathers, Ryan Pore, Alex Zotinca, Francisco Gomez, Bo Oshoniyi, Chris Brown, and Shavar Thomas for 14th.

Sporting KC Survive Scare on Night of Upsets

Sporting KC had to hold on late, but came away with a 3-2 win over USL-Pro side, Orlando City in the 3rd round of the US Open Cup last night at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Sporting were one of the lucky MLS sides, as MLS teams struggled against many of the lower level opponents last night, 7 MLS teams went down to their lower level competition last night in Open Cup play.  With two more games tonight, MLS is currently 7-7 in this round.

Sporting started last night strong trying to find the early goal, but were unsuccessful in those attempts.  Orlando slowly started to come into the game, mainly through the efforts for forward Dennis Chin, who gave KC headaches all night with his speed.  The game was very open as both teams were able to get up and down the field.  KC was getting opportunities from crosses, but each one would seem to fall to where no KC players were.  Meanwhile with KC's wingbacks getting so far forward, Orlando looked to exploit it on the break.  If not for a fantastic tackle by Aurelien Collin on Chin, Orlando would have had a great chance to go up 1-0.  Late in the half Orlando was almost able to grab the lead.  Jamie Watson had a chance from the top of the box after another Chin run, but Jon Kempin dove to his left and at full extension knocked the ball away to keep the game scoreless.  In stoppage time KC almost grabbed the lead through Soony Saad as he was played in on goal, but as Saad tried to slot the ball back post, Miguel Gillardo made a good stop getting his hand down.  A minute later though KC had the lead.  Peterson Joseph made a square pass to Paulo Nagamura who was about 25 yards out from goal.  Nagamura took a touch and let fly with a shot from distance that beat Gillardo and gave KC the half time lead 1-0. 

In the second half, while KC controlled more of play, it was Orlando that was creating the better chances early on.  Chin again tried to set up Watson in a 1v1 situation vs Kempin, but once again the home grown goalkeeper came up with a big save.  A few minutes after that though, Orlando was level.  A cross from Erik Ustruck found Kevin Molino alone in the box and he headed it past Kempin.  No one followed Molino's run from the midfield and it was an easy finish for the midfielder.  After the goal, KC continued to really push the game.  Saad was unlucky to restore the lead on a nice play where he received the ball with his back to goal and a man on him, turned outside and fired a shot that hit the post and bounced back into play.  Peter Vermes' insertion of Graham Zusi was a point that really started to change the game.  While Joseph didn't play a bad game, Zusi just brought a different dynamic that allowed KC to really get on Orlando.  Zusi almost immediately set up Chance Myers, but Gallardo blocked his effort.  In the 63rd, KC retook the lead through Saad.  CJ Sapong collected a loose ball down the left and played a ball wide toward Saad and Nagamura near the corner of the box.  Saad let the ball run for Nagamura, who touched the ball back to Saad. From near the corner of the box, Saad took a touch and buried a shot in the far corner to restore KC's lead.  Shortly after the first goal, Saad had his brace.  A corner from Graham Zusi was punched out by Gallardo.  The punch though was only as far as Saad who teed up from 30 yards out and his low effort found the corner and KC was up 3-1. 

Things looked like they'd gotten a bit easier for KC shortly after the goal when Anthony Pulis was sent off for an intentional elbow.  While KC had a few chances after the red, including Jacob Peterson forcing a good save off Gallardo on a header, it was Orlando though that would really start to push the game though.  Down a man they made life difficult for KC and really kept the pressure up.  In the 84th minute, Orlando got back into the game when Chin scored on Kempin to make it 3-2. The final 6 minutes plus stoppage time were nervy, but the insertion of Matt Besler helped settle down the defense and KC held on for the 3-2 win.  They'll now take on Colorado next Tuesday at Livestrong.

Wizards Man of the Match - Soony Saad - The two goal hero for KC had a good game.  If not for some fine goalkeeping and the post Saad very well could have had 4 goals last night.  And funny enough it almost didn't happen as Vermes was ready to pull Saad for Teal Bunbury when an injury to Peterson Joseph forced a change to the substitution.


Player Ratings - Kempin 6, Myers 5, Collin 5, Warzycha 3, Sinovic 5, Nagamura, 6, Olum 4, Joseph 5, Peterson 6, Saad 8, Dwyer 5.  Subs Sapong 6, Zusi 7 Besler NR.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sporting KC vs Orlando City Play by Play

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remember Richmond

Sporting KC have a quick turnaround and are back in action again tomorrow only 2 days after their 2-1 win over San Jose.  Back at Livestrong Sporting Park, KC will take on Orlando City in the 3rd round of the US Open Cup.  Last year in the 4th round of the cup, KC suffered their first loss at LSP, losing 2-0 to USL Pro side, the Richmond Kickers.  Orlando is a better USL side than Richmond is and will give Kansas City everything they can handle.

Orlando, the defending USL Pro champions, are off to a great start this season as well.  They are 7-0-2 since their season kicked off.  Orlando has plenty of experience on their roster, Kyle Davies and Jamie Watson are MLS veterans, and there's good pedigree in the team as well, with the son of Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, Anthony Pulis and the brother of Wayne Rooney, John Rooney.  OCSC made their way into the 3rd round by beating local USASA, the KC Athletics 7-0 last Tuesday.   The thing that could be working against Orlando is that they'll be on their 4 game in 8 days.  And while 3 of those games have been in Orlando, it's definitely not going to be easy to be on their 4th game in such a short period of time.

Kansas City is on shorter rest though with only 1 off day in between.  The team has given out mixed signals on the type of lineup that they'll put out tomorrow.  Last week Peter Vermes said that he'd likely use two different lineups.  But articles out today seem to point to the potential for players that went 90 minutes last night to get similar minutes tomorrow against Orlando.  It would appear that after playing only 23 minutes against San Jose, due to injury, Seth Sinovic will get a run out again with casts on both hands.  The other thing that appears to be certain is that home grown player, Jon Kempin will get his first career start in a competitive match tomorrow in goal.  The one thing to keep in mind with regards to the lineup is that per the rules for the cup, KC can only have 5 internationals on the 18 man roster for the game.  I think we will see a few players from Sunday get a start again today, but it'll mainly be reserves. 

Kempin
Ellis - Olum - Besler - Sinovic
Nagamura - Sassano
Joseph
Dwyer - Saad - Peterson

Key Match Up - Lawrence Olum vs Orlando - Olum was signed late last season from Orlando and this is an opportunity for Olum to go up against his former side.  So far I personally haven't been impressed with his play, hopefully he steps up to the occasion.

PREDICTION - This game scares me immensely.  The team is saying all the right things ahead of this game, but it's one thing to say the right thing, it's another thing for them to actually go through on it.  Orlando is a good side, better than Richmond.  KC cannot fall asleep in this game.  A loss wouldn't be the end of the world but would be a big disappointment.  I want to predict a win in this one, but I'm incredibly worried that it won't happen.

SKC - 1 (Saad)
OCSC - 2 (Rooney, Griffins)

S.A.S. Monday Edition

Lots of stats from yesterday's win over San Jose.

Seth Sinovic made his 50th league appearance in his MLS career.

KC is now 9-0-0 when CJ Sapong scores in league play.  In all competitions, KC is 12-0-0 when he scores.


CJ Sapong's goal was his 8th in all competitions at home for KC, tying him with Jose Burciaga and Chris Henderson for 19th on that list.

Kei Kamara's goal was his 19th at home in league play for KC, that breaks his tie with Scott Sealy for 6th on that list.

It was also Kamara's 20th at home in all competitions, tying him with Sealy for 6th on that list.

Kamara's goal was also his 25th league goal for KC, the 8th player to hit that mark for KC.

Kamara's assist was his 13th in league play for KC, breaking his tie with Paul Wright for 19th place on that list.

Kamara's assist was also his 13th in all competitions for KC, tying him with Wright and Chris Brown for 19th on that list.

Kamara's game winner was his 8th for KC in league play, tying him with Digital Takawira for 5th place on that list.

It was also his 8th game winner in all competitions, tying him with Sealy, Igor Simutenkov, and Takawira for 6th on that list.

Graham Zusi's assist was his 15th league assist for KC, tying him with Claudio Lopez and Henderson for 13th on that list.

Zusi's assist was his 18th in all competitions, tying him with Burciaga and Francisco Gomez for 12th on that list.

Michael Harrington's assist was his 14th in league play for KC, tying him with Gomez and Diego Gutierrez for 16th place on that list.

Harrington's assist was also his 15th in all competitions, tying him with Gutierrez and Henderson for 16th place on that list.

Jimmy Nielsen recorded his 30th league win for KC last night, that ties him with Kevin Hartman for the 4th most in team history.

Nielsen's win was his 32nd in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Hartman for 4th place on that list.

Back to Winning

Sporting KC finally ended their long winless run and got a win May for the first time since 2009.  KC's last win in the month of May happened on May 16th, 2009, in Utah against Real Salt Lake.  A span of 14 games in the month of May since KC last won.  It wasn't without some stress at the end again for KC as they almost losta 2 goal lead again against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Early on, the first chance fell to San Jose in the first minute as Marvin Chavez forced a good save out of Jimmy Nielsen after he'd cut inside on Chance Myers.  KC started to control after the early chance and in the 5th minute a great spell of possession by KC was capitalized on with a goal.  KC worked the ball from one side of the field, to the other, and back again looking for a way through the San Jose defense.  A deflected pass from Teal Bunbury found Graham Zusi who raced at the San Jose defense before laying the ball out wide to Kei Kamara.  Kamara one timed a cross into the box, where CJ Sapong had made a great run to the back post and knocked the ball past Jon Busch and into the net for a 1-0 lead.  With Bobby Convey out of the lineup, KC had a big athletic front line with Bunbury, Kamara, and Sapong.  And with San Jose's lack of height in the back, KC played more crosses in from each side. 

In the 20th minute, KC was dealt a cruel blow.  Seth Sinovic, who had only just returned after missing time breaking his right hand, went over the LED boards on the end line.  When he came back up he had a deep cut on his left hand.  Sinovic left the game with the injury and it was later reported that Sinovic ended up with 20 stitches in his hand from the cut.  Shortly after Sinovic's injury, Bunbury almost made it 2-0.  Kamara and Zusi combined for a 1-2 at midfield and then Kamara got past two San Jose defenders.  Kamara raced down the field and played a ball in to Bunbury.  Bunbury's first attempt was blocked, but the ball came back to him and he fired it just wide of the goal.  San Jose struggled to create chances, but did force a good save out of Nielsen in the 31st through Steven Beitashour.  After a throw from San Jose was partially cleared, Beitashour settled and volleyed from about 25 yards out.  Nielsen though made a nice diving save pushing the ball wide of the goal.  KC really should have made it 2-0 in the 36th minute.  A long throw from Matt Besler was headed back to the back side of the goal.  Kamara won the ball off of Chavez with a great sliding tackle and played a ball back into the box that made it's way through to Aurelien Collin about 3 yards out from goal.  Collin though appeared to be surprised the ball made it through to him.  He stumbled and didn't make good contact with the ball as Busch collected.

Only a few minutes later, KC did grab the 2-0 lead.  Myers collected the ball on his side of the field and while trying to find an open man started making his way into the middle.  Myers eventually played the ball to Michael Harrington, who had replaced Sinovic.  Harrington played a great ball into the box, where Kamara got in front of his man and headed the ball into the net to double the lead.

KC continued to push in the second half.  Zusi had a good opportunity early on off a Myers cross, but he put his effort wide of the goal.  The game really started to open up though as San Jose looked for a way back into the game while KC looked to strike on the counter.  After a cross was punched by Nielsen, Chavaz tried to chip Nielsen, but the Dane was able to grab the ball.  Finally in the 72nd minute, the goal that looked to be coming came.  Simon Dawkins collected a pass just outside Sporting's box and curled a shot into the corner out of the reach of Nielsen.  And all of the sudden things started to feel a lot like last week's game in Colorado. 

KC still created chances though unlike against Colorado.  It looked like KC had a free kick coming in a good position after Ike Opara appeared to shoulder Zusi down just outside the box.  Referee Baldomero Toledo appeared set to let play continue, but his linesman raised his flag for a foul.  After a discussion where it looked like KC would get a free kick, Toledo overruled his linesman and restarted play with a drop ball.  The play seemed to piss Zusi off as he played the next 5 minutes with a renewed fire and was unlucky to not make it 3-1 off a great pass from Kamara.  Kamara curled a teasing ball into the box towards Bunbury and Zusi.  Zusi reached the ball and fired on goal, but Busch saved the shot to keep it 2-1.  Sapong put the rebound over the goal.

Things got interesting in stoppage time in front of the Cauldron.  Busch was trying to get a play restarted quickly and get a ball from one of the ball boys.  From reports of people that were right behind the goal, behind the ball boy, he was taking his time giving the ball back to Busch, apparently in a bit of gamesmanship.  Busch ran up to him telling him to give him the ball, then grabbed the ball out of his hands.  Busch then apparently swatted at the ball boy, hitting him in the arm.  After the final whistle blew to end the game and give KC the win, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, Greg Cotton, made his way on a jog to the goal area.  There with security and police, the ball boy was escorted to midfield.  I expect the league disciplinary committee will be contacting Busch about an upcoming fine and suspension.  Based on the history of what mistreatment of a ball kid has gotten, I'd expect at least 3 games.  But unlike the verbal abuse that got Colin Clarke a 3 game suspension, I could see Busch getting more for actually making contact with the kid.

Wizards man of the match - Kei Kamara - A goal and an assist for Kamara in his last game before departing for international duty.  Kamara was all over the place and had a fantastic game.

Honorable mention - Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 6, Collin 5, Besler 6, Sinovic 5, Cesar 5, Espinoza 5, Zusi 7, Sapong 7, Bunbury 7, Kamara 8.  Subs Harrington 6, Olum 5, Nagamura NR.

Attendance Comparison Through 6 Home Games

Another standing room only crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park as Sporting KC pulled in just under 20,000, at 19,974 for today's game against the San Jose Earthquakes.  Sporting KC continues to push to set a new high for attendance average in a season this season.  Here's a look at attendance through 6 games throughout the seasons.

1996 - Arrowhead
9,551
Wednesday 6/5/1996 vs Tampa 1-3 loss
Average - 13,995

1997 - Arrowhead
8,151
Thursday 5/22/1997 vs Columbus 3-1 win
Average - 8,889

1998 - Arrowhead
5,027
Wednesday 5/27/1998 vs Columbus 1-1 (3-2) shootout win
Average - 7,616

1999 - Arrowhead
11,186
Saturday 5/15/1999 vs DC 3-3 (0-3) shootout loss
Average - 9,030

2000 - Arrowhead
13,484
Wednesday 5/17/2000 vs DC 2-0 win
Average - 8,482

2001 - Arrowhead
10,529
Saturday 6/30/2001 vs Tamp 3-0 win
Average - 10,245

2002 - Arrowhead
9,721
Saturday 6/15/2002 vs DC 2-0 win
Average - 11,762

2003 - Arrowhead
10,857
Saturday 6/7/2003 vs New York 2-1 win
Average - 14,815

2004 - Arrowhead
8,014
Wednesday 6/2/2004 vs New England 2-3 loss
A late Pat Noonan hattrick seals a New England comeback.
Average - 14,500

2005 - Arrowhead
6,787
Saturday 6/11/2005 vs New England 0-2 loss
Average - 9,657

2006 - Arrowhead
9,014
Saturday 6/17/2006 vs Chicago 3-2 win.
Average - 10,949

2007 - Arrowhead
9,485
Sunday 7/1/2007 vs Toronto 1-1 draw.
Average - 9,409

2008 - Community America Ballpark
10,385
Saturday 6/28/2008 vs Salt Lake 1-0 win.
Average - 9,602

2009 - Community America Ballpark
10,385
Saturday 6/6/2009 vs Columbus 0-2 loss
Average - 9,590

2010 - Community America Ballpark
10,167
Thursday 6/10/2010 vs Philadelphia 2-0 win
KC's last game before the break the league took for the group stages of the World Cup.
Average - 9,894

2011 - Livestrong Sporting Park
16,382
Saturday 7/23/2011 vs Toronto 4-2 win.
Still the most goals KC has scored in a single game at home since LSP opened
Average - 17,820

2012 - Livestrong Sporting Park
19,974
Sunday 5/27/2012 vs San Jose 2-1 win.
Average - 19,177

Here's the years lined up in order.

1. 2012 - 19,177 (-)
2. 2011 - 17,820 (-)
3. 2003 - 14,815 (+1)
4. 2004 - 14,500 (-1)
5. 1996 - 13,995 (-)
6. 2002 - 11,762 (-)
7. 2006 - 10,949 (-)
8. 2001 - 10,245 (+1)
9. 2005 - 9,657 (-1)
10. 2008 - 9,602 (+1)
11. 2009 - 9,590 (+1)
12. 2010 - 9,494 (-2)
13. 2007 - 9,409 (-)
14. 1999 - 9,030 (+1)
15. 1997 - 8,889 (-1)
16. 2000 - 8,482 (+1)
17, 1998 - 7,616 (-1)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Friendly for Sporting KC?

A few weeks ago, Sporting KC announced the friendly against Stoke City on August 1st at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Today, it appears that there's another friendly coming to KC.  Word on Goal.com is that before the Stoke City game, KC will play another friendly against French side, Paris Saint-Germain.  PSG finished second in Ligue 1 this year, 3 points behind Montpellier. 

According to the article, KC would take on PSG on July 26th, two days before KC takes on Columbus at LSP.  The game would be PSG's second of 3 on their tour, as they take on Chelsea at Yankee Stadium on the 22nd.  And on the 31st they are in Montreal to take on Juventus.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sporting Need to Right Ship

Sporting Kansas City are back in action tomorrow against San Jose in their final league match for two weeks due to the upcoming international break.  Before they reach the break, they'll look to end their 4 game winless streak back at home.  For the 4th time during their winless streak, KC is taking on a team that is coming in on shorter rest than KC.  Montreal, Chicago, Colorado and now San Jose have all played the Wednesday before KC take them on.  KC has gotten 1 point out of the 9 available so far from those games. 

San Jose is a little short handed for this game, especially at the striker position.  First, San Jose is without leading scorer, Chris Wondolowski and his 11 goals as he is in Jacksonville with the US national team.  They are also without second leading scorer, Steven Lenhart, who picked up a yellow against Los Angeles on Wednesday and will have to sit out Sunday's game due to yellow accumulation.  The Lenhart v Aurelien Collin match up last year was intense and the highlight of last year's game at LSP.  San Jose still has plenty of talent in the midfield though that will cause trouble for KC, including Marvin Chavez and Simon Dawkins. 

Kansas City had 3 players called up for national team duty late last week/early this week, but all 3 will be available on Sunday.  Graham Zusi did not make the final cut on the US roster, while Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara are leaving for duty after the game tomorrow.  All 3 being available is certainly a boost for Kansas City's chances this weekend, and I expect all 3 to play a role.  The thing KC also has to watch out for is that they have an Open Cup game on Tuesday against a very dangerous Orlando City team that already has many KC fans worrying about a repeat of last year's Richmond Kickers' game at LSP.  Peter Vermes is well aware of the dilemma and does have his eye on Tuesday as well.  Still I expect Kansas City to field their full first team in the league game tomorrow against San Jose, even though the Open Cup is still the easiest path to the CONCACAF Champions' League. 

Nielsen
Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Espinoza - Cesar
Zusi
Kamara - Bunbury - Convey

Number to Remember - 16 - That's the number of goals San Jose is missing from their lineup tomorrow.  Eleven for Wondoloski and another 5 for Lenhart.  The rest of San Jose's roster has scored 10 goals this season, 4 of those through Alan Gordon.

Key Match Up - Bobby Convey vs San Jose - Convey didn't exactly endear himself with many people in San Jose on his way out of town.  This will be the only opportunity for Convey to play his former team in a match this year and you would want him ready to step up and have a big game.  Especially after Convey got moved to the left back position by Frank Yallop.

PREDICTION - With KC having all 3 of their internationals available, and San Jose being without Wondolowski and Lenhart, KC should win this game.  KC has traditionally not done well against teams that are undermanned, but they have done better since Vermes took over the coaching duties.  This is a game that KC has to win, the team needs to get back to winning ways ahead of the layoff.  Against a San Jose team that doesn't have first choice strikers, now is the time.

SKC - 2 (Kamara, Bunbury)
SJ - 0

Friday, May 25, 2012

2012 Salaries Released

Today, the MLS Players' Union released the player salaries for this year on their website.  Once again it's full of information regarding the player salaries for Sporting KC and the rest of the teams around the league.  The league has made big strides in making the salary of the players improve and making a much more liveable wage for the players. 

Here is the list of salaries for Kansas City, the first number is the 2012 base salary.  The second is the guaranteed compensation.


Aiyegbusi, Olukorede D $44,100.00 $44,100.00
Besler, Matt D $91,751.00 $103,001.00
Bunbury, Teal F $100,000.00 $198,000.00
Cesar, Julio D $252,000.00 $255,750.00
Collin, Aurelien D $210,000.00 $216,250.00
Convey, Bobby M $200,000.00 $215,000.00
Dwyer, Dom F $60,000.00 $72,500.00
Ellis, Kevin D $44,000.00 $44,750.00
Espinoza, Roger M $125,000.00 $158,750.00
Harrington, Michael M-D $125,000.00 $151,833.33
Hedrick, Cyprian M $33,756.00 $33,756.00
Joseph, Peterson M $44,100.00 $44,100.00
Kamara, Kei F $210,000.00 $212,500.00
Kempin, Jonathan GK $46,500.00 $53,583.33
Kronberg, Eric GK $69,850.00 $69,850.00
Myers, Chance D-M $86,000.00 $101,666.67
Nagamura, Paulo M $250,000.00 $255,500.00
Nielsen, Jimmy GK $200,000.00 $220,000.00
Olum, Lawrence M/D $44,100.00 $44,100.00
Peterson, Jacob F $81,000.00 $85,833.33
Saad, Soony F $44,000.00 $44,000.00
Sapong, CJ F $65,000.00 $82,000.00
Sassano, Luke M-D $81,000.00 $83,025.00
Singh, Shawn D $33,750.00 $33,750.00
Sinovic, Seth M-D $60,000.00 $66,750.00
Thomas, Michael M $55,000.00 $57,963.21
Warzycha, Konrad M $33,750.00 $33,750.00
Zusi, Graham F-M $105,000.00 $138,812.50

Some thoughts on the salaries.

- Graham Zusi had the biggest salary increase, going from $42,000 last year to $105,000 this year, a nice increase of $63,000 per year.  Not a bad jump.

- Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic also saw nice jumps.  Besler jumper $33,341 and Sinovic jumped $27,396.

- Paulo Nagamura may be one of the most expensive back ups in the league, making a quarter million.  Combine that with Michael Harrington's $125,000, Jacob Peterson's and Luke Sassano's $81,000 each KC has over half a million, $537,000, on four players that are regularly on the bench.

- CJ Sapong and Sinovic are probably still the best deals on the roster.  Sapong got a raise this year of $23,000 and between the two, they're making as much as Harrington is.

One more final thing, here's a look at the change in players' base salary between last year and this year.  Only two players, Bobby Convey and Peterson had their salaries drop from their salaries last year.


Aiyegbusi, Olukorede $2,100.00
Besler, Matt $33,341.00
Bunbury, Teal $15,000.00
Cesar, Julio $42,000.00
Collin, Aurelien $24,996.00
Convey, Bobby ($113,500.00)
Dwyer, Dom $60,000.00
Ellis, Kevin $11,396.00
Espinoza, Roger $25,000.00
Harrington, Michael $15,000.00
Hedrick, Cyprian $33,756.00
Joseph, Peterson $2,100.00
Kamara, Kei $10,000.00
Kempin, Jonathan $4,500.00
Kronberg, Eric $7,350.00
Myers, Chance $14,000.00
Nagamura, Paulo $25,000.00
Nielsen, Jimmy $0.00
Olum, Lawrence $44,100.00
Peterson, Jacob ($61,500.00)
Saad, Soony $11,396.00
Sapong, CJ $23,000.00
Sassano, Luke $29,400.00
Singh, Shawn $33,750.00
Sinovic, Seth $27,396.00
Thomas, Michael $55,000.00
Warzycha, Konrad $1,146.00
Zusi, Graham $63,000.00

Zusi Back with Sporting

Today, Jurgen Klinsmann made the 4 cuts he was planning on making ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Scotland in Jacksonville.  Graham Zusi is one of the four players that was released from camp ahead of the team's move from Orlando to Jacksonville for the game.

What's bad news for Zusi in one aspect is good news for Sporting KC in another.  That means that Zusi will be available for Sunday's game against San Jose at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Combine that with the fact that Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara are not leaving for international duty until after Sunday's game, and KC will have their best 11 available for selection on Sunday.  Meanwhile, San Jose will be without Chris Wondolowski, who made the final cut and will be with the US team in Jacksonville.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Former SKC Wizards Update

Another week of former SKC Wizards updates.   First congratulations to former Wizard, Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna, who won the Mexican Clausura title this past week.  Also, two former Wizards have new teams.  Mike Jones has joined FC Hjorring in the Danish second division and will join in July..  Meanwhile, Jose Burciaga is back playing soccer professionally, signing with the Atlanta Silverbacks and making his first in their Open Cup game Tuesday night.  Here's the rest of this week's update.

Active without a club or unknown
Stephane Auvray
Chris Brunt
Doug DeMartin
Birahim Diop
Pablo Escobar
Mauro Fuzetti
AJ Godbolt
Tom Gray
Willy Guadarrama
Santiago Hirsig
Aaron Hohlbein
Jonathan Leathers
Carlos Marinelli
Ryan McMahen
Anthony Noriega
Ryan Pore
Sergei Raad
Ofori Sarkodie
Sam Scales
Ivan Trujillo
Lance Watson

MLS
Davy Arnaud - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 loss to New York.
Adam Cristman - LA - Did not dress in LA's 1-0 loss to Chivas. Did not play in LA's 3-2 loss to San Jose.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - No game this week.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 1-1 draw with Philadelphia.  Started and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 loss to Chicago.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Out recovering from surgery.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Did not dress in Portland's 2-1 win over Chicago.
Eddie Johnson - Seattle - Started and played 90 minutes, recording a goal and an assist in Seattle's 2-2 draw with Vancouver.  Started and played 90 minutes in Seattle's 2-0 loss to Columbus.
Chris Konopka - Philadelphia - Dressed but did not play in Philadelphia's 1-1 draw with Dallas.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Chivas - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 win over LA.  Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Chivas' 1-1 draw with New York.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not play in DC's 3-1 win over Toronto.
Scott Sealy - Dallas - Dressed but did not play in Dallas' 1-1 draw with Philadelphia.  Came off the bench and played 18 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 loss to Chicago.
Ryan Smith - Chivas - Did not dress in Chivas' 1-0 win over LA.  Did not dress in Chivas' 1-1 draw with New York.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Started and played 56 minutes in San Jose's 1-1 draw with Columbus.  Came off the bench and played 24 minutes, scoring a goal in San Jose's 3-2 win over LA.
Shavar Thomas - Montreal - Did not play in Montreal's 2-1 loss to New York.
Tyson Wahl - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 loss to New York.
Josh Wolff - DC - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in DC's 3-1 win over Toronto.

NASL
Jose Burciaga - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 1-0 win over the Georgia Revolution in the US Open Cup.
Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Did not dress in Minnesota's 3-1 win over Fort Lauderdale.  Came off the bench and played 46 minutes in Minnesota's 2-0 win over Des Moines in the US Open Cup.
Scott Lorenz - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 3-1 loss to Minnesota.  Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Fort Lauderdale's 7-2 win over Fresno in the US Open Cup.
Amir Lowery - Carolina - Started and played 90 minutes in Carolina's 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico.  Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Carolina's 6-0 win over PSA in the US Open Cup.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Fort Lauderale's 3-1 loss to Minnesota.  Did not dress in Fort Lauderdale's Open Cup win.

USL
Edson Elcock - Richmond - Started and played 52 minutes in Richmond's 1-1 draw with Pittsburgh.  Did not play in Richmond's 4-0 Open Cup win.
Akeem Priestley - Dayton - Came off the bench and played 11 minutes in Dayton's 1-1 draw with Rochester.  Started and played 90 minutes in Dayton's 4-0 loss ot Harrisburg.  Started and played 58 minutes in Dayton's 2-1 win over Chicago Fire PDL in the US Open Cup.
Yomby William - Richmond - Did not dress in Richmond's 1-1 draw with Pittsburgh.  Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 4-0 win over Aegean.
John Wilson - Charleston - No game this week.  Did not dress in Charleston's 2-1 win over Reading.

PDL
Michael Kraus - FC Tucson - Did not play in Tucson's 1-0 win over Southern California.

NPSL
Nelson Pizarro - San Diego Flash - Defeated North Coast 2-0.

Indoor
Jamar Beasley - Wichita Wings - Season is over.
Nick Garcia - Kansas Magic - Season is over.
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Season is over.
Mike Jones - Illinois Piasa - Season is over.
JT Murray - Louisville Lightning - Season is over.
Boris Pardo - Comets - Season is over.
Yomby William - Norfolk SharX - Season is over.
Paul Wright - Anaheim Bolts - Season is over.

International
Vicente Arze - Diosgyor - Hungary - Came off the bench and played 23 minutes in Diosgyor's 2-1 loss to Szombathelyi Haladas.
Omar Bravo - Cruz Azul - Mexico - Season is over.
Sunil Chhetri - Mohun Bagan - India - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Defensores de Cambaceres - Argentina - No game this week.
Daneil Cyrus - 1st FC Santa Rosa - Trinidad - Season is over.
Gary Glasgow - North East Stars - Trinidad - Season is over.
Herculez Gomez - Santos Laguna - Mexico - Dressed but did not play in either of Santos' games as they won the Mexican title over Monterrey.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Vasas - Hungary - Did not dress in Vasas' 1-0 loss to Kaposvari Rakoczi.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Season is over.
Jeferson - Bahia - Brazil - Did not dress in either of Bahia's games.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Lost 2-1 to HASK.
Mike Jones - FC Hjorring - Denmark - Not in season.
Neal Kitson - Northampton Town - England - Season is over.
Igor Kostrov - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Started and played 90 minutes in Tiraspol's 2-0 win over Iskra-Stal.  Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Triaspol's 4-1 win over Milsami-Ursidos.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Season is over.
Michal Mravec - FC Emmen - Netherlands - Season is over.
Pablo Punyed - Fjolnir - Iceland - Won their cup game 6-0.  Tied Bi/Boungarvik 2-2 in league.
Craig Rocastle - Thrasyvoulos Fylis FC - Greece - Did not play in either of Thrasyvoulos' games.
Milos Stojcev - FC Akzhayik - Kazakhstan - Started and played 59 minutes in Akzhayik's 2-1 loss to Kairat.
Matt Taylor - SC Paderborn 07 - Germany - Season is over.
Diego Walsh - TOT SC - Thailand - Season is over.

Potential Opponent for Sporting KC Announces (and Other News)

Today, US Soccer announced the potential 4th round match ups and hosts for the US Open Cup.  Should Kansas City make their way past Orlando next Tuesday at Livestrong Sporting Park, KC will get the chance to stay at home.  KC will stay at Livestrong Sporting Park for the potential 4th round match up on June 5th.  A win over Orlando will see KC take on the winner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Colorado Rapids match.  The Rowdies and Rapids meet at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa next Tuesday in their US Open Cup match.

In other Sporting KC news, the Swope Park Rangers took to the field today against the local PDL side, the KC Brass.  The Rangers got first half goals from Luke Sassano and Soony Saad as the Rangers held the half time lead.  In the second half, Dom Dwyer scored twice as the Rangers comfortably won the game against the Brass.  A nice warm up for many of the players who are likely to see some time coming up next Tuesday against Orlando City in the Open Cup.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sporting KC to Play Orlando in Open Cup

It was fun for the last week or so to dream about a Sporting KC vs KC Athletics US Open Cup 3rd round match up at Livestrong Sporting Park.  That dream came crashing down to earth hard tonight in Orlando when Orlando City destroyed the Athletics 7-0 at Seminole Soccer Complex.  The defending USL Pro champions will now travel to Kansas City next week looking to complete the sweep of Kansas City teams in the tournament against the MLS side.

Before KC plays Orlando on Tuesday the 29th, they'll play San Jose on Sunday the 27th.  Meanwhile, Orlando will be taking on the LA Blues on Thursday the 24th, and then play Charlotte on Saturday the 26th.

Already some fans are visualizing the worse, a repeat of last year's performance against a USL Pro side, Richmond, where KC controlled play until they reached the final third of the field, then struggled to break down the USL side.  Hopefully the team has learned their lesson and Peter Vermes drills this into his head.

Things didn't start well for the Athletics tonight, as in only the 4th minute, a cross into the box was heading into the Athletics net by defender Coady Andrews for an OnGoal.  The Athletics held out for the next 20 minutes, but in the 26th Max Griffin scored to make it 2-0.  Two minutes later, John Rooney put one in from short range to make it 3-0.  Before the half, Griffin finished his brace to make it 4-0 at the half.

In the second half, Orlando had to wait until the 60th minute to make it 5-0, which they did through Jaime Watson.  Rooney got a second in the 71st.  In the 86th, Matt Luzunaris made it 7-0 where the game finished.  Based off the lineup, the Athletics were only able to get 11 players down to Orlando for the Tuesday game unfortunately.

Sporting KC to Learn Open Cup Opponent Tonight

Down in Orlando tonight, the KC Athletics meet Orlando City SC at 6:30pm in their 2nd round US Open Cup match.  The winner will make a trip to Livestrong Sporting Park to take on Sporting KC in the 3rd round on the 29th.  The Athletics are the heavy underdog against the defending USL Pro champions, who are 3-0 in the year's young season.  They'll be looking to pull off their second upset of the tournament after knocking off the Real Colorado Foxes in round 1. 

The Athletics certainly have the support of the Cauldron, who has donated money to the Athletics to help them offset the cost of the trip to Orlando.  If you want to help the cause, you can donate here

While I'd love to see a Kansas City derby in round 3 of the tournament at Livestrong, my hopes unfortunately are not that high.  Orlando is a very good side and it's going to be an extremely difficult task for the Athletics to pull it off. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Coaching Changes to Sporting Juniors

Today, Sporting KC announced some changes to the coaching staff for the Sporting KC Juniors teams.  The team announced the addition of Tommy Howe as coach of the Juniors U12 team and assist Jon Parry in coaching the U16 and U18 teams.  Howe comes to Kansas City after being establishing one of the most well known clubs from the other side of the state, Scott Gallagher SC in the 70's.  He's also helped found Metro FC and Woodson City Rangers. 

He comes with a very impressive resume as a youth coach, he's helped lead teams to 7 national titles and 14 regional titles.  He's also been part of the development of a number of pros, including players like Brad Davis, Pat Noonan, and Tim Ream, all players that have been successful in MLS and earned themselves some call ups with the national team. 

While Howe is coming in, two coaches are leaving the program to pursue other opportunities.  Former Wizard, Paul Rideout is leaving the club, as is U13 and U14 coach, Dustin Ottesen.  They are going to continue to coach for Sporting Club affiliate, Blue Valley Soccer Club, but will no longer directly coach under SKC.

So far the Juniors have produced two professional players in Jon Kempin and Kevin Ellis.  They've also seen two more players that have been part of the Juniors system drafted by MLS clubs in Kyle Miller and Matt Kuhn.  Goalkeeper Jacole Turner and forward Eduardo Moreno have spent some time with US youth national teams.  Hopefully we start to really see the fruits of the development in KC's Juniors system.  Ellis is the only Juniors' player to appear in a game, playing in the team's US Open Cup game last year vs the Chicago PDL side.

Call Ups Continue for Sporting, Espinoza Called by Honduras

The call ups continue for Sporting KC for international duty.  Joining Graham Zusi and Kei Kamara on the list of players that have been called up to represent their national team is Roger Espinoza, who today was called up by the Honduran national team ahead of their games in the next few weeks.  Espinoza is joined on the roster by another San Jose player, VĂ­ctor Bernárdez. 

The Honduran team have 4 games during the stretch, friendlies this coming Saturday vs New Zealand, and on 6/2 vs El Salvador.  They then have two World Cup qualifiers on 6/8 vs Panama and on 6/12 vs Canada.  If he is away for the entire time, Espinoza would miss the league game on Sunday vs San Jose and potentially 2 US Open Cup games.  Overall though it wouldn't surprise me if Espinoza skips out on the New Zealand friendly and reports after KC's game on Sunday against the Earthquakes.

The potential loss of those 3 though could be quite a blow for KC if all 3 are out against San Jose.  While Kamara and Zusi haven't been playing the greatest during the losing streak, there's a drop off from them and a likely replacement, Kamara to Jacob Peterson or CJ Sapong (on the wing), Zusi to Luke Sassano, Bobby Convey, or Peterson Joseph.

That is of course if Peter Vermes sticks with the 4-3-3 while they are away.  Honestly does anyone expect him to go away from that lineup?  I really don't.  But if he were I wouldn't be totally against switching to a 4-4-2, throwing Cesar and Nagamura in a dual holding role.  Have Convey and Peterson, or maybe Joseph on the wing.  And have Sapong partner Teal Bunbury in a 2 man forward line.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kamara Called Up as Well

To go along with Graham Zusi's call into the US national team camp in Orlando, another Sporting KC player has been called up to his national team.  Kei Kamara is one of 15 international players that have been called up for Sierra Leone's camp ahead of some friendlies and three important qualifiers.  The first friendly is this coming Tuesday against Iraq, and the second friendly is on the 26th against Jordan. 

Those two are just the warm up games though.  The important games come up a little later.  On June 2nd, Sierra Leone kick off qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Freetown against Cape Verde.  Then on the 9th they go on the road to take on Equatorial Guinea in another World Cup qualifier.  The biggest of the 3 though occurs on the 15th in Freetown when they play Sao Tome and Principe in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.  Sierra Leone lost the first leg on the road 2-1 and now will need to make up the deficit at home.

If he accepts the call up, along with Zusi potentially going for games as well, KC's offense could be in a bit of trouble.  And we still have yet to hear about Honduras' call ups and losing Roger Espinoza as well.

Zusi Called into National Team Camp

Today, Jurgen Klinsmann named the rest of his US national team camp roster ahead of their upcoming friendlies and World Cup qualifiers.  Sporting KC midfielder, Graham Zusi was one of 11 players today named to the team to round out the 27 man camp roster.  Twenty-three of the players on the camp roster will make the rosters for friendlies against Scotland (5/26), Brazil (5/30), Canada (6/3), and World Cup qualifiers against Antigua (6/8) and Guatemala (6/12).

Should Zusi make the roster, he'd miss only 1 league game, next Sunday, the 27th, against San Jose.  But Zusi would also be set to potentially miss 2 US Open Cup games, the team's 3rd round game vs Orlando or the KC Athletics on the 29th, and the fourth round on 6/5 should KC win their 3rd round matchup.

For some Sporting fans it may be a little surprising that Zusi has gotten a call up.  He hasn't been lighting things up lately for KC in the middle of the midfield.  I'm surprised that Zusi got the call over Sacha Kljestan, who just finished a strong season in Belgium, including a league title with Anderlecht.  I would have thought he should have gotten the call ahead of Zusi, but it's great to see Zusi get the call up.  If Zusi is gone for a while, it could explain the surprise inclusion of Peterson Joseph in last night's 18 man roster.  Joseph or possibly Bobby Convey would seem to to the logical replacements for the attacking midfielder in KC's lineup.

There was no place on the camp roster for CJ Sapong, who has struggled as of late, and last night lost his starting spot to Teal Bunbury.

Sunday After Stats

Here are some stats from last night's game.

Since CJ Sapong was drafted by KC, this is the first league game that Sapong has not played in, a span of 41 games.

Teal Bunbury's 2 goals gave him 9 in league play away from home.  That moves him past Sasha Victorine, Eddie Johnson, Matt McKeon, and Mark Chung and into 8th place on that list.

The two goals gave Bunbury 11 in all competitions away from home, moving him into 6th place on that list, ahead of Scott Sealy, Mo Johnston, Chris Brown, and McKeon.

Bunbury's first goal was his 15th league goal, breaking his tie with Jack Jewsbury for 13th and tying him with Brown for 12th.

His first goal was also his 19th in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with McKeon for 12th place on that list.

Bunbury's second goal was his 16th in league play, breaking his tie with Brown and giving him sole possession of 12th place on that list.

His second goal was also his 20th in all competitions for KC, tying him with Brown and Igor Simutenkov for 10th place on that list.

The game against Colorado was the 50th time the two teams have met in league play.  KC is 20-17-13 with 85 goals for and 67 against in those 50 games.

A Draw Like a Loss


photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson



In a vacuum, last night's draw in Colorado is a good result.  KC ended their 3 game losing streak, on the road in a place where KC normally doesn't get wins.  Teal Bunbury got out of his goal scoring slump picking up 2 goals, and Seth Sinovic returned to the first team.  Unfortunately, we don't live in a vacuum, and after last night's game instead of feeling like KC picked up a point, it felt as though KC dropped two after they scored two early goals and then let Colorado take the game to them for the next 50+ minutes until Colorado equalized.


Things couldn't have started better for KC on the night though.  Around a minute into the game, Graham Zusi picked out picked out Bobby Convey on the left hand side with a great cross field ball.  Convey played the ball to an overlapping Seth Sinovic.  Sinovic crossed the ball into the box where an unmarked Bunbury headed the ball past Matt Pickens with a diving header to give KC the very early 1-0 lead.  Colorado probably should have equalized in the 12th minute.  Similar to the goal that Conor Casey scored last year, Aurelien Collin played a poor pass right to Casey.  Casey ran in on goal and tried to chip Jimmy Nielsen but didn't get the shot high enough and Nielsen collected.  KC came right back down the field and almost made it 2-0.  Kei Kamara did well to win a header in Colorado's box, then held off Drew Moor, turned and fired a shot on goal that Pickens got down and saved.  Shortly after Kamara's chance, KC did make it 2-0.  On a long throw from Matt Besler, Chance Myers challenged Pickens on the throw and the ball fell to Bunbury who one timed the shot into the net to make it 2-0 KC in the 14th minute and KC looked to be cruising.

After the goal though, the direction of the game changed.  KC was not getting forward much at all.  Instead the majority of the game was spent in Kansas City's end of the field.  Colorado controlled the game, but for the rest of the first half, KC was able to hold off the Rapids attack.

That changed early in the second half though.  After Convey lost a ball close to midfield, he raced  back to recover and made a poor challenge on Martin Rivero.  Convey drew a yellow card for it, and on the ensuing free kick Rivero picked out Tyrone Marshall, who had lost his mark and headed the ball past Nielsen and into the net to get Colorado within one.  KC continued to struggle to maintain possession and it seemed that an equalizer was only minutes away.  In the 60th minute it finally came.  Another free kick, this one at the top of the box, was struck by Jeff Larentowicz low to the corner.  Nielsen got down well to save the attempt, but could only push the shot wide.  Casey was the first to react to the shot, collected the ball and squared a ball into the middle for Kosuke Kimura who had crashed the box, losing Jacob Peterson and put the ball into the net to tie the game at 2-2. 

KC seemed to wake up a bit after the game became tied, but really still struggled to create chances.  The insertion of Peterson Joseph was a bright spot late in the game for KC as he did well to track back and created KC's more dangerous chances late on with some good dribbling and passing.  Lawrence Olum had a good look from the top of the box late in the game, probably the person I wanted least in that situation to take that shot.  Olum though blasted the shot well over the goal.  Rivero could have won it late as well with a header but Nielsen punched the ball out.  With the last touch of the game, Kamara could have won it for KC off a corner, but his header ended up going wide of the goal and right after the referee blew his whistle to end the game.

Wizards Man of the Match - Teal Bunbury
- Bunbury got himself off the mark in the 2012 season with 2 goals last night.  Neither was incredibly fancy, but they were both well finished by the US international.  Hopefully this is the wake up that Bunbury needed.  He tends to score his goals in bunches so maybe this is the first of many to come.

Player Ratings
- Nielsen 5, Myers 5, Collin 4, Besler 5, Sinovic 5, Cesar 5, Nagamura 4, Zusi 4, Kamara 5, Bunbury 6, Convey 4.  Subs Peterson 3, Joseph 6, Olum NR.

Friday, May 18, 2012

From One Streak to Another

Sporting KC has gone from a 7 game winning streak to start the season to a 3 game losing streak.  The streak has seen KC go from having sole possession of first place in the East and MLS to being tied for second place in the East and a tie for fifth overall.  KC will try to break out of that streak tomorrow when they take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver.

The Rapids are the 3rd straight team that KC is playing on short rest, as Montreal, Chicago, and now Colorado have all played a Wednesday game before their weekend encounter against Kansas City.  So far, KC is 0-2 in those encounters.  They'll try to break that in the Mile High City.  Colorado looked poor against DC on Tuesday, especially in the defensive half.  The Rapids are without Marvell Wynne in defense, and Tyrone Marshall filled in for him in defense.  They will also be without Omar Cummings who is injured as well.  Their target striker, Conor Casey is back though, he got his first start of the season on Wednesday against DC.  The question is with Casey coming back from injury if he'll have the fitness to start and be as effective after over an hour on Wednesday.

Kansas City needs to get their act together, while they didn't play great against Portland they didn't play poorly either.  But against Montreal and Chicago it's been a little different.  Against Montreal, KC got totally outplayed by the expansion side, and against the Fire, KC played a bit better, but they beat themselves with stupid mistakes.  One of those mistakes is forcing another lineup change from Peter Vermes as Roger Espinoza is suspended for the game tomorrow.  Paulo Nagamura seems the prime candidate to replace Espinoza in the starting 11.  The other potential change is that Seth Sinovic could be re-inserted into the starting lineup ahead of Michael Harrington, but Vermes could also play it cautiously with Sinovic as well.  There's been talk about starting Teal Bunbury at forward, the question is who he'd replace.  Kei Kamara has looked especially poor during the last two games and would seem to be a candidate in need for a break from starting.  The other possibility is giving Bobby Convey a break and starting the 3 forwards that played in the playoffs last year for KC in Bunbury, Kamara, and CJ Sapong.  I'm not sure that Bunbury will though.

Nielsen
Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Cesar - Nagamura
Zusi
Kamara - Sapong - Convey

Number to Remember - 3 - KC is undefeated in their last 3 games in Denver, two draws and a win in last year's playoff.  KC has only lost two times in Colorado since DSG opened up.  Their only win their though came in last year's playoffs when Bunbury scored a brace on the way to a 2-0 win.

Key Match Up - Graham Zusi vs Jeff Larentowicz - Zusi hasn't been as successful in the midfield during the team's losing streak, opposing midfields have been able to neutralize Zusi. He seems to have made it a little worse though by seeming to try to take on too many players and taking one too many touches before getting rid of the ball and losing it instead.  With Pablo Mastroeni still suffering from concussion symptoms, Larentowicz will be the main player attempting to shut down Zusi.

PREDICTION - Colorado fans seem as down on their team for this game as most Sporting fans seem to be.  Niether fan base seems to have high hopes for their team heading into this game.  Teams have figured out KC's high pressure offense it seems, and Colorado is injury plagued at the moment.  What KC is going to need to be successful tomorrow is an early goal.  If KC can get an early goal as they've been able to do during their 7 game win streak for the most part, they'll be able to get Colorado to attack them more opening the game up for the style of play that KC likes. I'm not sure that'll happen, but I think KC will be able to end their losing streak.

SKC - 1 (Kamara)
COL - 1 (Hill)

Espinoza to Mexico?

Yesterday on "The Gringo Report" from MLS, there was a quick mention at the bottom of the article about players heading to Mexico for trials.  The one name specifically that is mentioned is Kansas City's Roger Espinoza.  I'd spent a little time last night looking for a source on where those rumors had come from, but wasn't able to find anything in the Mexican media about it (I'll be searching more today and will update if I find any). 

When asked about this by Steve Brisendine, a source inside the team called the rumor "silly".  During the season I'd absolutely agree that this is a silly rumor, Espinoza is having a career year at the moment and is doing a great job in the midfield.  After the season though is another question.  My understanding is that this is a contract year for Espinoza, and if he's a free agent after the season, anything could happen.  If Espinoza was to go abroad after this season, Mexico would be the most likely location in my eyes.  I can't see Espinoza making the jump to Europe, but I think Mexico would fit well with his style of play.  Hopefully KC is able to hold onto him as he's done extremely well since moving to midfield, but if he continues to play well he is going to attract that interest.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

More on Athletics Open Cup Win

Earlier this week, the KC Athletics won their first round US Open Cup match against the Real Colorado Foxes.  People reading this blog knew that already.  I'd been trying to get some more information on the result, including who scored for the Athletics.  After exchanging an email with player/coach, Kyle Perkins, I was able to get more information on the game. 

The Foxes took the lead in the first half through Mike Lind.  The Athletics themselves though had chances in the first half, hitting the post, and having two penalty shouts, while goalkeeper, Steven Grow kept them in the game.  A change in tactics at half time for the Athletics saw them get a way back into the game.  About 7 minutes into the half, the Athletics got a goal.  The Foxes keeper spilled a shot in front of goal.  Perkins followed the shot and was brought down in the box giving the Athletics a PK.  Kevin Shrout tucked the ball into the lower corner to tie the game at 1-1.

Ten minutes after the first goal, the Athletics struck again.  Marty Johnson collected the ball wide on the right hand side around midfield and dribbled into the Foxes end beating a few defenders before laying the ball back to Perkins who had the simple finish to make it 2-1.  Six minutes after Perkins gave the Athletics the lead, they closed the game off.  Left midfield Peter Karioris and left back Miguel Rodrigues combined for a give and go down the left that found Rodrigues with plenty of space on the left.  Rodrigues drilled the ball across the box that took a favorable deflection for the Athletics and went into the net making it 3-1. 

Content with the 3-1 lead, the Athletics switched to a 4-5-1 formation and in Perkins words, "parked the bus," killing the game off.Comets player, Coady Andrews, former UMKC player, Chris Markey, former KC Wizard, Brian Roberts, and Rodrigues held down the defense with Grow and were able to kill the game off.

With the Athletics pass the first hurdle, they now look ahead to the next one against Orlando next Tuesday.  Perkins knows the defending USL Pro champs are a great team, but they're focusing in on OCSC ahead of the game. 

Still you can't blame the team for looking ahead just a little bit towards a potential 3rd round match up against Sporting KC should they win.  A match up against Sporting would certainly be exciting, but as Perkins told me, they need to focus on the next game.

Espinoza and Vermes Appear to Avoid Disciplinary Committee

Today the MLS Disciplinary Committee announced the suspensions and fines for the past week.  Brek Shea and Mamadou Danso picked up suspensions for actions this past week, but two names were absent from the list.  Roger Espinoza and Peter Vermes were both missing from the list.

Espinoza had picked up a red card for an elbow to Sebastian Grazzini while going for a ball.  Originally KC thought that they might appeal Espinoza's red card but decided against it.  What likely saved Espinoza from a 3 game suspension was the fact that while Espinoza's elbow was extended, he didn't move the elbow, it stayed in the position it was in.  If he'd had moved it out towards Grazzini more I'm definitely sure he would have gotten a longer suspension.

The one that I may be more surprised about though is the lack of a fine for Vermes for his comments immediately post game.  On KSMO immediately after the game, Vermes had some very critical comments of the referee for their loss to Chicago, saying he'd made the game about himself and called him the man of the match.  No fine though has been announced by the league though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Former SKC Wizards Update


Another week of former SKC Wizards updates.  The foreign leagues are starting to wind down for the season at this point.  Here's the full update.

Active without a club or unknown
Stephane Auvray
Chris Brunt
Doug DeMartin
Birahim Diop
Pablo Escobar
Mauro Fuzetti
AJ Godbolt
Tom Gray
Willy Guadarrama
Santiago Hirsig
Aaron Hohlbein
Mike Jones
Jonathan Leathers
Carlos Marinelli
Ryan McMahen
Anthony Noriega
Ryan Pore
Sergei Raad
Ofori Sarkodie
Sam Scales
Ivan Trujillo
Lance Watson

MLS
Davy Arnaud - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Montreal's 1-1 draw with LA.
Adam Cristman - LA - Did not play in LA's 1-1 draw with Montreal.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Started and played 75 minutes, recording an assist in Salt Lake's 1-0 win over Seattle.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Dressed but did not play in Dallas' 2-1 loss to Columbus.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Out recovering from surgery.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 45 minutes in Portland's 0-0 draw with Houston.
Eddie Johnson - Seattle - Started and played 90 minutes in Seattle's 1-0 loss to Salt Lake.
Chris Konopka - Philadelphia - Did not dress in Philadelphia's 3-2 loss to New York.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Chivas - Dressed but did not play in Chivas' 1-1 draw with San Jose.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not play in DC's 1-0 loss to Houston.  Did not play in DC's 2-0 win over Colorado.
Scott Sealy - Dallas - Dressed but did not play in Dallas' 2-1 loss to Columbus.
Ryan Smith - Chivas - Came off the bench and played 22 minutes, recording an assist in Chivas' 1-1 draw with San Jose.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Started and played 90 minutes in San Jose's 1-1 draw wtih Chivas.
Shavar Thomas - Montreal - Dressed but did not play in Montreal's 1-1 draw with LA.
Tyson Wahl - Montreal - Did not dress in Montreal's 1-1 draw with LA.
Josh Wolff - DC - Came off the bench and played 22 minutes in DC's 1-0 loss to Houston.  Came off the bench and played 9 minutes in DC's 2-0 win over Colorado.

NASL
Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Did not play in Minnesota's 2-1 win over Carolina.
Scott Lorenz - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-0 loss to Puerto Rico.
Amir Lowery - Carolina - Started and played 90 minutes in Carolina's 2-1 loss to Minnesota.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Came off the bench and played 21 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-0 loss to Puerto Rico.

USL
Edson Elcock - Richmond - Came off the bench and played 18 minutes in Richmond's 2-2 draw with Harrisburg.
Akeem Priestley - Dayton - Did not dress in Dayton's 1-0 loss to LA.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 72 minutes in Richmond's 2-2 draw with Harrisburg.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 1-0 loss to Rochester.

PDL
Byron Carmichael - Ocean City - No game this week.
Michael Kraus - FC Tucson - Did not play in Tucson's 1-0 win over Pali.

NPSL
Nelson Pizarro - San Diego Flash - Defeated Bay Area Ambassadors 3-0.

Indoor
Jamar Beasley - Wichita Wings - Season is over.
Nick Garcia - Kansas Magic - Season is over.
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Season is over.
Mike Jones - Illinois Piasa - Season is over.
JT Murray - Louisville Lightning - Season is over.
Boris Pardo - Comets - Season is over.
Yomby William - Norfolk SharX - Season is over.
Paul Wright - Anaheim Bolts - Season is over.

International
Vicente Arze - Diosgyor - Hungary - Dressed but did not play in Diosgyor's 2-1 win over Honved.
Omar Bravo - Cruz Azul - Mexico - Season is over.
Sunil Chhetri - Mohun Bagan - India - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Defensores de Cambaceres - Argentina - Defeated El Porvenir 2-0.
Daneil Cyrus - 1st FC Santa Rosa - Trinidad - Season is over.
Gary Glasgow - North East Stars - Trinidad - Season is over.
Herculez Gomez - Santos Laguna - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 16 minutes in Santos' 1-1 draw with Tigres.  Came off the bench and played 38 minutes in Santos' 2-2 draw with Tigres.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Vasas - Hungary - Did not dress in Vasas' 2-1 loss to Paksi SE.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Season is over.
Jeferson - Bahia - Brazil - Did not dress in Bahia' 2-0 win over Portuguesa.  Did not play in Bahia's 3-3 draw with Vitoria.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Defeated Croatia Sesvete 3-2.
Neal Kitson - Northampton Town - England - Season is over.
Igor Kostrov - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Came off the bench and played 14 minutes in Tiraspol's 1-0 win over Zimbru.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Krasnodar's 3-3 draw with Spartak Nal'chik.
Michal Mravec - FC Emmen - Netherlands - Season is over.
Pablo Punyed - Fjolnir - Iceland - Did not play in Fjolnir's 1-1 draw with Vikingur Olafsvik.
Craig Rocastle - Thrasyvoulos Fylis FC - Greece - Did not dress in either of Thrasyvoulos' games.
Milos Stojcev - FC Akzhayik - Kazakhstan - Started and played 87 minutes in Akzhayik's 3-1 loss to Shakhter Karagandy.  Beat Kaspyi 3-1 in the cup.
Matt Taylor - SC Paderborn 07 - Germany - Season is over.
Diego Walsh - TOT SC - Thailand - Season is over.

Sporting KC to Host 3rd Round US Open Cup

No matter who Sporting Kansas City play in the 3rd round of the US Open Cup, one thing is for certain, Sporting KC will play the game at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Today, US Soccer announced the pairings and hosts for the third round of the tournament, schedule to take place on May 29th.  Sporting KC will host the winner of the second round game between Orlando City and the KC Athletics.

Both of which are enticing match ups for Sporting.  Should they play Orlando City, Sporting will be going up against the defending USL Pro champions 2 days after what is expected to be a tight game against San Jose at Livestrong Sporting Park.  The good news is that the game is in KC, but with it being only 2 days before the Orlando game, I'm not sure we'll see many first teamers, and I'm not sure how Sporting's reserves will match up against Orlando.

If the Athletics end up getting a second upset against Orlando, Sporting will get a Kansas City derby against the USASA club side at LSP.  That'd definitely be a fun match up for fans to see two Kansas City teams go at it in a meaningful game.

Sporting will find out who they play, next Tuesday, the 22nd when Orlando and the KC Athletics meet down in Florida.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Athletics Advance in US Open Cup

The KC Athletics went on the road in the first round of the US Open Cup and came away with a big win over the Real Colorado Foxes of the PDL 3-1 tonight.  After falling behind 1-0 to the Foxes, the Athletics scored 3 unanswered to get the win.  With the win, the Athletics will now go on the road again, this time to Florida, where they'll take on the defending USL-Pro champions, Orlando City next Tuesday.


More information will be posted later.

Espinoza, Livestrong, and Heineman

Today word came out from Peter Vermes and Sporting KC that the team has decided not to appeal the red card against Roger Espinoza in KC's 2-1 loss to Chicago.  Vermes said that they decided not to appeal for "many reasons."  Certainly one of those reasons is probably the word frivolous.  If the disciplinary committee deems an appeal frivolous, they can double the suspension.  I still believe that when the league disciplinary committee meets, Espinoza will get an extra game but we'll have to see.  I also expect we'll hear about a fine for Vermes as well.

In other news, congratulations need to go out to Sporting KC, Livestrong Sporting Park, and Robb Heineman tonight for winning awards today in Italy.  Livestrong Sporting Park was up for four awards, winning the award for Venue of the Year and Community Award.  It lost out to Etihad Stadium in Manchester for the Customer Experience award and lost to The American Express Community Stadium in Brighton.  Robb Heineman won the award from Executive of the Year, beating out executives from the NBA and English soccer.  Finally, Fan360, the Sporting Innovations product won the Product Innovation award.  Going up against stadiums and executives from around the world is a great statement about what the team has done and is continuing to do.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Should KC Appeal Roger Espinoza's Red Card?

Plenty of discussion has taken place over the calls made in Sporting's 2-1 loss to Chicago last night at Toyota Park.  A lot of that discussion has centered on the foul by Roger Espinoza on Sebastian Grazzini when the two went for a 50/50 ball and Espinoza's elbow hit Grazzini in the face.  Rookie referee, Jose Carlos Rivero made no hesitation going to his pocket and producing a red card.  Grazzini definitely made a meal of the challenge, especially considering he was almost immediately right back on the field, but watching it again you can hardly argue that Espinoza went into that challenge recklessly.  See it again below.



Fast forward now to the end of the game, immediately after the game finished, Peter Vermes was interviewed by Sporting KC's television staff on the field.  Vermes was certainly frustrated and had the adrenaline flowing with the end of the game, and came out saying that Rivero had made himself the center of attention, that he'd made the game about himself, and that he had been the man of the match. 

Reading his quotes in the post match press conference, he'd seemed to calm down, but not much, say: 'The referee is there to ref the game, not to be part of the show.  And today, that’s what he made himself.  He made himself part of the show.  And that’s disappointing, because players, they work hard, they are the ones who are the entertainers on the field, not him, and unfortunately that’s what the game was like today.  He changed the game.”

He continued to specifically discuss the red card, saying "...but the red card is not a red card." 

He compared Espinoza's red card this year to the one Omar Bravo got last year in this game. "Two years now here, in a row, we come here and we have two red cards which aren’t red cards, which completely changes the outcome of the game."

Vermes then goes into discussing the loss of Espinoza for the next game as well, although hints at appealing the decision: "So now we don’t only lose the player for this game, but we lose him for the next game, depending on whether MLS does and allows the appeal."

After that, Vermes is asked flat out if he will be appealing the red card.  “We’ll be watching it.  We’ll be watching what the angles are, what show it, because that’s a big part of the appeal and we’ll make a decision from there.  As of right now, it probably looks pretty darn good.  I saw it live.  Our guy clears the ball, and the other guy runs into him, it’s actually a foul on the other guy.  If there’s anything going on there.  Once a guy jumps, he can’t change his position, and he’s played the ball, not the other way around.  Just a first time referee in the MLS, makes a very, very poor decision.”

I don't know what Vermes saw live, but having the ability to watch replays on TV from the comfort of Quick's BBQ last night, I don't think it looks "pretty darn good."  Espinoza jumped into the challenge and led with his elbow.  To me that's a definite red card due to the reckless nature of it.  To me personally I think Espinoza is going to be earning himself at least 1 if not 2 extra games for that challenge. 

So to me it's a no brainer that you don't put an appeal on this red card, it doesn't make sense.  It especially doesn't make sense once you read about the appeal process.  Teams are allowed 2 unsuccessful appeals during the course of the season, the part that worries me, is the third part of section 1, regarding frivolous challenges.  Similar tackles to Espinoza's have earned multiple game suspensions and I could see a challenge of this being deemed frivolous.  Should that happen, KC would be unable to appeal red cards for the rest of this season and all of next season, and the suspension is automatically doubled.

The decision to actually challenge the red card on Espinoza has already been made by the team, as the appeal has to be made within 24 hours of the completion of the match.  As of this posting, that time has surpassed.  So we will see if the team did choose to, but do you think that KC should appeal Espinoza's red card?

Reserves Beat Chicago

Of the two games this weekend, KC couldn't win the bigger of the two, but at least the traveling fans didn't go home without seeing one win.  The Swope Park Rangers took on the Chicago Fire this morning in Chicago, and came away with a 3-1 win over the Fire.  Three first half goals were enough to see the Rangers to victory. 

Korede Aiyegbusi opened the scoring in the 26th after receiving a pass from Luke Sassano.  Then in the span of about 3 minutes, the Rangers made it 3-0.  In the 39th, Teal Bunbury scored to make it 2-0.  Then 3 minutes later, in the 42nd, Bunbury got a brace after being played in by Konrad Warzycha. 

The second half saw the game get physical like the first team game did last night, with 7 yellows, including two ejections.  Daniel Paladini got a second yellow in the 61st minute.  The reserves only got 5 minutes with a man up as Paulo Nagamura picked up 2 yellows in the span of 2 minutes and was sent off as well.  A 79th minute goal from Orr Barouch was not enough as the Rangers took the 3-1 win.

Sunday After Stats

 Here's a look at some stats from last night's game against Chicago.

Bobby Convey scored his first goal for Sporting KC last night.

Convey's goal was the 50th goal that KC has scored against the Fire.

Kei Kamara recorded his 12th assist for KC on Convey's goal, that ties him with Paul Wright for 19th for the most assists in league play.

Kamara made his 75th league appearance for Kansas City.

Roger Espinoza's red card was his 4th in league play in his MLS career, tying him with Davy Arnaud for the second most in team history.

It was Espinoza's 5th in all competitions, also tying him with Arnaud for second place in all competitions.

CJ Sapong made his 50th appearance in all competitions for KC last night, he's the 51st player to hit that mark.

Michael Harrington made his 135th start in all competitions for KC, tying him with Diego Gutierrez for 12th on that list.

Graham Zusi made his 50th start for KC in all competitions.  He's the 43rd player to hit that mark.

Stupid Mistakes Costly for Sporting KC

Sporting KC played a decent 45 minutes in the first half against Chicago, but fell apart in the second half, as the Chicago Fire beat KC 2-1 to send Kansas City to their 3rd straight loss.  Early on it was the Fire that really controlled the play, keep the ball deep in KC's end and looking very threatening, especially on corner kicks, but the Fire couldn't find an opener.  KC looked threatening coming the other direction on the counter.  Kei Kamara forced a finger tip save from Sean Johnson as he got played in on goal.  As the half wore on, KC started to get more of the play, and in the 31st minute, got the goal.  Kamara played the ball to Roger Espinoza who had made a run down the line.  Espinoza played a ball on the ground back across goal where Bobby Convey had made a run towards the near post.  Convey miss hit his shot, but got enough of a touch on it to have the ball get past Johnson and into the net to give Kansas City the 1-0 lead.  KC continued to push for a second goal after that first one, and if not for some good goalkeeping from Johnson, would have found it off the foot of Espinoza.  In the 43rd minute, CJ Sapong made a run down the right side and played a ball back towards the top of the box.  Espinoza hit it on the volley with his left.  A slight touch from Johnson pushed the shot onto the cross bar and out for a corner kick.

In the second half though, things went down hill, and it all happened very quickly for KC.  Sporting looked to be holding on, able to deal with the Fire's attack until the 60th minute.  A long ball down the line found Dominic Oduro who had a step on Aurelien Collin.  Oduro raced into the box with Collin tailing.  Collin went to ground with a sliding tackle and got a little of the ball, but got more of Oduro, taking down the Fire forward, leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the spot.  It was virtually a carbon copy of the penalty call that went against Collin last week at home against Montreal.  For the second week in a row, Collin though avoided a card in that situation.  Sebastian Grazzini stepped up and slotted the ball into the top corner on the penalty kick, leaving Jimmy Nielsen with no chance to make the save.

Only a minute after the Fire tied the game, things got worse for KC.  On a 50/50 Espinoza went flying in to clear the ball against Grazzini.  Espinoza led with his elbow and landed it around Grazzini's face.  Grazzini made a meal of it, but Espinoza rightly got a red card and an early shower for his effort as KC went down to 10 men.  A stupid challenge that didn't need to happen right in the middle of the field.  Espinoza will be hearing from the league, and will probably get an extended suspension for the elbow.  With the man advantage now, the game was all Fire, KC rarely was able to get it out of it's own end of the field.  If anyone was going to find a winner, it was going to be the Fire, and in the 81st minute, it was gifted to them by Kamara.  On a simple cross from Dan Gargan into the box, Kamara took it on his thigh to settle it, but instead of immediately clearing it, he took an extra two touches and lost the ball to Patrick Nyarko on the end line.  Nyarko squared to Oduro who had a tap in to give the Fire the lead.  Up a man and now up a goal, there was little doubt about the result.  Nielsen had to make a few saves to keep it from getting worse.

To embarrass KC fans a little more, immediately after the game, Peter Vermes said that the referee was trying to make the game about himself instead of about the players, and called the referee the man of the match.  Some very stupid comments from Vermes that will see him also getting a call from the league office most likely this week.  I couldn't argue with the calls the referee made, Collin's PK, while he got some of the ball also got plenty of Oduro as well, and the whole "getting the ball first" is a misconception.  And on Espinoza's red card, while you can argue intent, you can't argue the fact that Espinoza led into the challenge with his elbow, shoulder.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen
- There really isn't anyone that stood out here.  If not for his stupid red card, Espinoza probably would have gotten this, but well he did.  Nielsen came up with 4 saves last night and there was little he could have done on either of the goals that he did concede.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 5, Collin 4, Besler 4, Harrington 3, Cesar 5, Espinoza 3, Zusi 3, Kamara 3, Sapong 4, Convey 5.  Subs Bunbury 4, Peterson 4, Olum NR.