Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are We "Stoked?"

Tomorrow Kansas City plays their second international friendly of the season when they take on English Premier League side Stoke City at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Stoke so far is 1-1 on this tour of the United States, they opened the tour with a loss to the Columbus Crew 2-1 and defeated Orlando City 1-0.  Stoke have brought what is basically their full roster for the tour including Peter Crouch, Ryan Shawcross, and Kenwyne Jones.  After being out at training tonight though I doubt Shawcross plays much of a roll if at all tomorrow, as he spent the session running with the trainer.

Sporting KC is in an interesting situation for themselves with this friendly.  Their busy schedule has caught up with them it'd appear, along with the warm weather, slowing down their high pressure game.  They're struggling to pick up points right now, at an inopportune time with the US Open Cup final only a week away.  The lack of goal scoring and 4 games without a win at home.  With a game this weekend ahead of the Open Cup final Peter Vermes has some decisions to make selection wise.  In the past he's liked to have his starters play 2 games in a week, usually with the second being a scrimmage during the week in practice.  But with so many meaningful games going on and the biggest game of his head coaching career in a week he could look to give starters some rest.  I think we'll possibly see a few a few starters get some time, and probably a bigger bench than we saw against Montpellier last week.

Ellis - Markovic - Besler - Sinovic
Cesar - Nagamura
Kamara - Bunbury - Aiyegbusi

PREDICTION - Please no more injuries, with Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, CJ Sapong, and Jacob Peterson all battling injuries, just no one get hurt.  Score tomorrow means nothing.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Espinoza Impresses in Honduras Win

Honduras pulled off the biggest upset of the Olympic soccer tournament today, taking out one of the gold medal favorites, Spain 1-0 at St. James' Park in Newcastle.  The loss eliminated the Spaniards from the tournament after their loss to Japan in their first group game.  Meanwhile, the win by Honduras puts them in a very good position to advance to the next round.

Sporting KC midfielder, Roger Espinoza, had himself a great performance for Honduras, including assisting on the lone goal of the game.  He ran himself ragged for 72 minutes before being subbed out looking exhausted.  Espinoza picked up a yellow card early in the game that suspended him for Honduras' final group stage game against Japan.  And he seemed to kick it up to a new level knowing that he'd be unable to play in the finale. Shortly after the yellow card Espinoza set up the one goal.  Espinoza combined with DC United midfielder Andy Najar on the wing and Espinoza's cross found the head of Jerry Bengtson who beat David De Gea.

Honduras continued to play extremely well holding off but it took them a lot of luck to hold of Spain as well.  The Spaniards hit the bar a few times and probably should have had at least 1 PK in the second half.  On top of that, Jose Mendoza had a fantastic game.  Espinoza should have doubled Honduras' lead himself in the 51st, but his open header hit the post and bounced back into play.

Honduras held on in the end, using some of the theatrics that US fans have grown to loath from many of the central American countries when leading, but Honduras got the result.

Honduras can guarantee themselves in the knock out phase with a draw against the Japanese, but could still go through with a loss if Morocco doesn't beat Spain.  If Morocco does win while Honduras loses, things could get a little more complicated with all the tie breakers.  Honduras finishing second would likely seem them meet Brazil in the quarterfinals.  Should Honduras advance, the quarterfinals would be August 4th, four days before the US Open Cup final.  Should Honduras fall there Espinoza could be back to play in the final against the Sounders, if Honduras make the semifinals, they're the day before the final.

The other aspect of the performance today is the fact that it's the second biggest window Espinoza's ever been in next to the World Cup in 2010.  And Espinoza and Honduras are having a much better Olympics than their World Cup.  Espinoza has himself in the shop window and is impressing well.  I would not be surprised to see Sporting KC get some more offers for Espinoza's services.

Attendance Comparison After 11 Home Games

 photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson

Another above capacity crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park.  The attendance for this year continues to be above capacity and the highest attended season in Sporting's history.  Here's a look at the 11th home game attendance.

1996 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 27, 1996 vs New England 4-2 win.
Average - 13,241

1997 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 19, 1997 vs DC 3-2 win
Average - 8,797

1998 - Arrowhead
Saturday August 8, 1998 vs Colorado 3-1 win
Average - 7,814

1999 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 31, 1999 vs San Jose 2-2 (2-1) shootout win.
Average - 9,090

2000 - Arrowhead
Wednesday July 19, 2000 vs New England 0-1 loss.
Average - 9,617

2001 - Arrowhead
Wednesday August 15, 2001 vs Los Angeles 1-2 loss
Average - 10,210

2002 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 27, 2002 vs San Jose 2-1 win
Average - 11,292

2003 - Arrowhead
Saturday September 6, 2003 vs New York 1-2 loss
Average - 15,085

2004 - Arrowhead
Saturday August 14, 2004 vs San Jose 0-2 loss
Average - 14,766

2005 - Arrowhead
Friday August 19, 2005 vs Chicago 3-0 win
Average - 9,911

2006 - Arrowhead
Saturday August 12, 2006 vs Columbus 4-0 win
Average - 11,036

2007 - Arrowhead
Sunday August 19, 2007 vs New England 0-1 loss
Average - 9,444

2008 - Community America Ballpark
Saturday September 13, 2008 vs LA 2-0 win
Beckham game held at Arrowhead
Average - 11,118

2009 - Community America Ballpark
Saturday August 29, 2009 vs Salt Lake 0-1 loss
Average - 10,010

2010 - Community America Ballpark
Saturday August 21, 2010 vs New England 4-1 win
The Diop Game
Average - 10,108

2011 - Livestrong Sporting Park
Sunday August 21, 2011 vs DC 1-0 win
Average - 17,356

2012 - Livestrong Sporting Park
Saturday July 28, 2012 vs Columbus 1-2 loss
Average - 19,286

Here's the rankings of the average attendance per season through 11 games.

1. 2012 - 19,286 (-)
2. 2011 - 17,356 (-)
3. 2003 - 15,085 (+1)
4. 2004 - 14,766 (-1)
5. 1996 - 13,241 (-)
6. 2002 - 11,292 (-)
7. 2008 - 11,118 (+6)
8. 2006 - 11,036 (-1)
9. 2001 - 10,210 (-1)
10. 2010 - 10,108 (+1)
11. 2009 - 10,010 (+1)
12. 2005 - 9,911 (-3)
13. 2000 - 9,617 (-3)
14. 2007 - 9,444 (-)
15. 1999 - 9,090 (+1)
16. 1997 - 8,797 (-1)
17. 1998 - 7,814 (-)

Sunday After Stats

Kei Kamara's goal was his 28th in league play for KC, tying him with Digital Takawira and Scott Sealy for 6th on that list.

It was Kamara's 20th league goal at home for KC, tying Josh Wolff for the 5th most in team history.

It was his 21st in all competitions at home, breaking his tie with Scott Sealy for 6th on that list.

Graham Zusi's assist was his 17th in league play, tying him with Matt McKeon and Jose Burciaga for 11th on that list.

It was Zusi's 21st in all competitions, tying him wtih Jack Jewsbury for 8th on that list.

Zusi's assist was his 10th in all competitions this year.  He's the first player since Preki in the 2002 and 2003 seasons to have back to back seasons with double digit assists.  He's also the first player not named Preki to do that for KC.

In the 59th minute, Michael Harrington moved past Tony Meola and into 11th place for the most minutes played in league play, he finished the game wtih 11,363 minutes played.

In the 44th minute, Harrington passed Josh Wolff and moved into 11th place on that list.  He finished the game with 12,986 minutes.

Harrington also made his 166th appearance in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Josh Wolff for 10th on that list.

Harrington also started his 125th league game, tying Meola for 11th place on that list.

More Points Dropped

Sporting KC ended their goalless streak at least.  But one goal wasn't enough for Sporting KC last night at Livestrong Sporting Park as they fell 2-1 to the Columbus Crew.  Once again it was a lack of finishing that really hurt KC as they once again out shot their opponent, but once again can't finish as they ended up with 25 shots to the Crew's 12.  The Crew actually came out and had the first decent chance of the game as Chad Marshall headed an effort goal ward, but Jimmy Nielsen tipped it away for a corner.  In the 8th minute, KC finally ended the goal drought.  Graham Zusi played a free kick toward the penalty spot where Kei Kamara out jumped Marshall and headed the ball past Andy Gruenebaum to give KC the lead.  KC could have doubled the lead in the 15th minute through Seth Sinovic.  Sinovic ran onto a ball over the top, cut back inside on his defender and dribbled in on goal, but he fired his shot wide of the near post keeping it 1-0.  In the 17th minute, the Crew leveled.  Josh Williams played a through ball to Jairo Arrieta, who had set up shop between Lawrence Olum and Matt Besler.  Arrieta received the pass and turned towards goal.  He shrugged off Olum's challenge and slotted the ball past Nielsen to make it 1-1.  In the 34th a poor pass from Zusi led to the Crew taking the lead.  Zusi was looking to play the ball back to his center backs, but instead played the ball right to Arrieta.  Arrieta, turned took a touch and let fly from about 25 yards out.  The ball flew past Nielsen and into the net giving the Crew the lead. 

KC almost immediately responded through Jacob Peterson, as another Zusi free kick was headed into the path of Peterson, who volleyed it just over the bar.  Then 5 minutes before half time, Matt Besler should have equalized from a Bobby Convey corner.  Besler found himself unmarked in the box, but put his header right at Gruenebaum, who calmly collected.

The second half was all Kansas City as they peppered the Crew goal.  In the 50th, Zusi fired a shot on goal that Gruenebaum pushed onto the bar.  The rebound fell right to the feet of Teal Bunbury, but he pushed the rebound wide of the empty net.  Bunbury had 2 more opportunities shortly after on a fast break but twice Gruenebaum came up with big saves.  In the 63rd, Besler had another good opportunity, off a short corner, the ball got crossed into the box.  Besler made the back post run and got a piece of the ball but it was just wide of the post.  It was close enough that the confetti cannon went off.  Shortly after that the bar came to Columbus' rescue again.  Off a long throw from Besler, Kamara got above everyone and headed the ball on goal, but the effort hit the post leaving the score 2-1.  KC continued to throw numbers forward, but couldn't find a goal, Julio Cesar tested Gruenebaum from long range, but the ball went just over the goal.  KC just wasn't getting any luck to go their way as they continued.  Into stoppage time the game went as KC continued to search for an equalizer.  Early in stoppage time KC did get some help from the Crew.  Midfielder, Cole Grossman went in studs up on Zusi on a challenge around midfield.  The referee immediately went to his back pocket, producing the red card.  Up a man for the last little part of the game, KC had one last glorious opportunity as Korede Aiyegbusi slid a pass to Kamara in the middle of the box, but Kamara had trouble controlling the pass and then pushed his shot wide of the goal from inside the 6 yard box.  Shortly after that the final whistle was blown and KC slumped to their 3rd home loss of the season, and 4th straight game without a win at LSP.

Other than Zusi's poor pass, another one of the talking points from the game will be the way that one of the goals started.  After play was stopped with KC in possession, standard "sportsmanship" is to return the ball to the team.  Instead the Crew played the ball normally leading to the goal.

Quesitons will be asked of Peter Vermes' substitution strategy last night, he inserted Julio Cesar for Convey, which pushed Peterson into the wing forward role.  Not a horrible sub in the 64th minute as Convey regains fitness, it pushed Peterson into the position he's been most successful in this year and got Cesar back onto the field.  Then Peterson went down with an injury and in the 71st was subbed out and replaced by Aiyegbusi.  While he set up the final scoring chance, with more attack minded players like Peterson Joseph and CJ Sapong on the bench, the insertion of Aiyegbusi is at least a little questioning.  The final sub may be the most head scratching, as Vermes subbed out Olum and inserted Neven Markovic at center back in the 84th minute.  Down a goal inserting a center back, even if Olum was hurt doesn't make sense.  Again with the offensive players on the bench it didn't make sense.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - The miss at the end aside, Kamara was a pain to deal with for the Crew back line.  It's amazing to see his growth as a player from the time he originally came to KC.

Player Ratings
- Nielsen 5, Harrington 5, Olum 4, Besler 5, Sinovic 5, Nagamura 5, Peterson 6, Zusi 4, Convey 5, Bunbury 5, Kamara 6.  Subs Cesar 6, Aiyegbusi 6, Markovic NR.

Friday, July 27, 2012

All We Are Saying

KC is back home again when they'll take on the Crew at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Kansas City continues to struggle to find the back of the net.  They've gone 325 minutes without find the back of the net in a league game at home, the second longest streak in team history.  A streak only topped by a streak at the end of the 1998 through the beginning of the 1999 season.  Against a defensive minded Crew side breaking that record wouldn't be shocking.

Since Kansas City went into Columbus Crew Stadium and beat the Crew 2-0 a few weeks ago, the Crew have won both of their games.  They defeated DC United 1-0 at Crew Stadium and won their friendly against Stoke City 2-1 on Wednesday.  Their injury list continues to grow, they lost Bernardo Anor the last time Kansas City played them on a tackle from Kei Kamara.  They have signed a designated player today, signing Federico Higuain from the Argentine first division.  He though won't be available for the game having just signed today.

Sporting's injury issues are fairly low, but they do have two that will affect the starting lineup.  Chance Myers is still listed as being out with a groin strain, meaning that Michael Harrington is likely to replace him in the starting lineup.  The other is Aurelien Collin, who people already expected to miss this game due to his facial fracture suffered in the all star game on Wednesday.  Lawrence Olum would seem the likely replacement for him in defense, although Neven Markovic could be a surprise starter in the game.  Bobby Convey got a short run out against Montpellier and be in the starting lineup again for the second game in a row.

Harrington - Olum - Besler - Sinovic
Nagamura - Zusi
Kamara - Sapong - Convey

Number to Remember - 42 - If Kansas City reach the 42nd minute tomorrow without scoring a goal, they will tie the record from the 1998 and 1999 season for the longest stretch in KC history without scoring a goal in their home stadium.

Key Match Up - CJ Sapong vs Chad Marshall - Still one of the league's best center backs in the league, even with his injury issues, he's going to make things hard for Sapong.  But Sapong is going to be just as much a handful for him.  He'll provide a big body to go against Marshall on free kicks.

PREDICTION - KC really needs to get a win from this game, or at least a goal.  They need to end this winless streak at home.  KC's home form lately has been quite poor and turning that around is going to be a need confidence wise, especially ahead of the upcoming US Open Cup final, getting some confidence is a big thing.  Against a very stout Columbus defense, really breaking out of this slump is going to be a struggle, but at this point, just get the win, let's start there, and move from there.

SKC - 1 (Sapong)
CLB - 0

Season Ticket Renewal and Transfer Window

Today season ticket holders started to receive renewal information in the mail for tickets for the 2013 season.  Sporting did come up with a unique way of doing season ticket renewal, setting up a new "dating" website for renewals, Love and Sporting a great idea to at least add some spice to the renewal process.  Prices for season ticket holders haven't gone up that much, if at all, in some sections.  The largest increase was $2 in the Cauldron and East Stand midfield.  Still some of the best value in the city for Sporting events.

There is still a renewal bonus, although not as good as last years where season ticket holders could get a trip to the Victory Suite.  This year, they'll be invited to a tailgate in the Sprint plaza for the season opener.

Deadline Day Transfer Falls Through

Earlier today, Thad Tweeted some information about a potential deadline day signing for Sporting KC.  A foreigner player that KC was close to signing but was unlikely to come off.  He mentioned that the player had agreed to the deal, but there was a requirement of Sporting KC from another party that KC had not met that was holding up the deal.

Then later tonight on Twitter, Robb Heineman tweeted that they hadn't been able to get the deal done.  The deal had apparently been for Javi Guerra, a 30 year old Spanish forward who has scored 46 goals in 80 games for Spanish second division side Real Valladolid.

So KC was looking to at least attempt to help with the scoring issues that they are currently having by trying to bring in Guerra, but with the deal falling through and the transfer window close to closing, KC would need to look for a free agent, or look to trade within MLS to assist with their scoring troubles.  I know it's not entirely what fans wanted to see/hear today most people were hoping for a signing to come in and assist with the goal scoring for Sporting KC.  And while people may not be happy that they haven't signed someone, hopefully there's a little bit of hope with the fans that they at least were trying to sign someone to help with Kansas City's scoring woes.

Still as of the end of the day today, Kansas City is now one of only three teams that do not have a designated player.  They are the only team in the Eastern Conference without one as the other two without a DP are San Jose and Colorado.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Collin, Espinoza, and Angevine News

Some player news for you today.  First, more on the injury to Aurelien Collin from last night.  Collin posted on Twitter that night that he had suffered a facial fracture after his challenge on Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien.  Sporting KC announced today that Collin is set to miss 1-2 weeks because of the injury.  When he comes back, he'll end up wearing a mask to protect the injury for a little while after that.  Collin though seems to think that he can come back quicker than that, and seems to want to play this weekend.  Tonight on This Week in Sporting, Collin also confirmed that he had suffered a small concussion and blacked out momentarily after the collision as well.  A scary moment.  In the mean time, with Collin out that would seem to put Lawrence Olum into the starting spot along with Matt Besler.  That isn't horrible as it will give the two time together before the US Open Cup final on the 8th which Collin was set to miss anyway due to suspension.

Espinoza and Honduras

Roger Espinoza and Honduras opened their Olympic campaign today with a game against Morocco in Glasgow.  Espinoza started for the Honduran team and played the entire game in the midfield, picking up a late yellow.  Honduras got 2 goals from New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson after falling behind 1-0 early.  Morocco scored an equalizer shortly after Bengtson gave Honduras the lead and the game ended 2-2.  Honduras' next game is on Sunday when they take on Spain at St. James Park.  Spain lost their opener, 1-0 against Japan, and one of the pre-tournament  favorites will be looking to avoid putting themselves on the edge of elimination in the game.

Angevine Officially Signed

Today Sporting KC officially announced the signing of local goalkeeper, Scott Angevine.  Angevine becomes the 4th goalkeeper on Kansas City's roster along with Jimmy Nielsen, Eric Kronberg, and Jon Kempin.  He also becomes the 7th player from the Kansas City area on Sporting's roster, joining Kempin, Matt Besler, Kevin Ellis, Kyle Miller, Seth Sinovic, and Michael Thomas.  The signing puts 29 players on Sporting KC's roster at this time, one short of the roster maximum of 30, but that's not counting Oriol Rosell, who is expected to sign. That likely means that unless KC makes other roster moves, they're not going to be making any other moves.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Collin Injury Overshadows All Star Win for Sporting KC

The MLS All Stars got a stoppage time winner from former Wizard, Eddie Johnson to defeat Chelsea 3-2 in the all star game at PPL Park outside Philadelphia, PA.  The MLS all stars grabbed the lead through Chris Wondolowski, saw John Terry and Frank Lampard score to put the Blues in front.  Chris Pontius scored an equalizer in the second half and Johnson scored the winner in stoppage time.  But it's what happened between the first two goals that will haunt Sporting KC fans going forward. 

Aurelien Collin and Jimmy Nielsen started for the All Stars as they actually played Chelsea pretty straight up early on in the game.  In the 21st, Landon Donovan picked out Thierry Henry on the wing.  Henry's cross into the middle was met by Wondolowski and Terry at the same time. But Wondolowski reacted first to the second ball and put it home.  In the 25th minute is when things went bad for Sporting fans.  Collin barreled over Michael Essien from behind.  Both players remained down and when Collin got up he looked dazed and out of it.  He walked off the field under his own power and was off the field for a few minutes being given a concussion test.  In the 32nd he came back on right as Chelsea were taking a corner.  Collin's mark was Terry who out jumped the dazed Collin and put the ball in the net.  Shortly after that, Collin left the field, being substituted for Carlos Valdes of the Philadelphia Union. 

KC's other starter, Nielsen had a little work to do but wasn't forced to do much, in fact he only had to make 1 save in his 45 minutes of action before subbing out at half time.  Sporting's third all star, Graham Zusi entered the game in the 57th minute for Henry.  Only a minute later, Chelsea were in front.  After coming up with a big save on Lampard only a minute earlier, Dan Kennedy missed on a cross and Lampard slotted the ball into the empty net to put Chelsea on top.  The all stars tied it up in the 73rd when Dwayne DeRosario combined with his United teammate Pontius, laying a ball back to him that Pontius made no mistake with.  The game looked like it was going to PKs, when a nice combination in the field led to Kyle Beckerman picking out Johnson with a through ball.  Johnson's shot was deflected by David Luz, but the deflection carried the ball over Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull and into the net putting the All Stars up 3-2. 

Collin is the big concern for Peter Vermes and Sporting KC, what appears to be a concussion for Collin could leave him out for a few games, which isn't a good thing as KC continues a difficult stretch.  While Collin is suspended for the Open Cup final, having him on the field in league play was going to be crucial.  If he can't go on Saturday either Neven Markovic, Lawrence Olum, or Konrad Warzycha will replace him in the starting lineup next to Matt Besler.

Former SKC Wizards Update

The European seasons are starting to kick off, meaning more players appearing on the report regularly.  With KC's scoring woes, it hurts a little seeing both Herculez Gom ez and Yura Movsisyan scoring in their club's season opener.  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
luke Sassano
Sam Scales
Ivan Trujillo
Lance Watson

Davy Arnaud - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 win over New England.  Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 3-0 loss to Houston.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Did not play in RSL's 2-0 win over Colorado.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 loss to San Jose.  Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Dallas' 5-0 win over Portland.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Out recovering from surgery.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 1-0 loss to Chivas.  Came off the bench and played 36 minutes in Portland's 5-0 loss to Dallas.
Eddie Johnson - Seattle - No game this week.
Chris Konopka - Philadelphia - Dressed but did not play in Philadelphia's 2-0 loss to New York.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Chivas - Did not play in Chivas' 1-0 win over Portland.  Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 3-1 loss to LA.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not play in DC's 1-0 loss to Columbus.
Scott Sealy - Dallas - Came off the bench and played 8 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 loss to San Jose.  Started and played 76 minutes, scoring a goal in Dallas' 5-0 win over Portland.
Ryan Smith - Chivas - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 win over Portland.  Started and played 57 minutes, recording an assist in Chivas' 3-1 loss to LA.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Came off the bench and played 19 minutes in San Jose's 2-1 win over Dallas.  Did not play in San Jose's 2-1 loss to Vancouver.
Shavar Thomas - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 win over New England.  started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 3-0 loss to Houston.
Tyson Wahl - Colorado - Started and played 90 minutes in Colorado's 2-1 loss to Toronto.  Started adn played 90 minutes in Colorado's 2-0 loss to RSL.
Josh Wolff - DC - Came off the bench and played 14 minutes in DC's 1-0 loss to Columbus.

Jose Burciaga - Atlanta - Started and played 45 minutes in Atlanta's 2-1 loss to Edmonton.
Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Did not play in Minnesota's 2-1 loss to Fort Lauderdale.  Did not play in Minnesota's 1-0 loss to Carolina.
Scott Lorenz - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-1 win over Minnesota.  Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 1-0 loss to San Antonio.
Amir Lowery - Carolina - Started and played 90 minutes in Carolina's 1-0 win over Minnesota.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Came off the bench and played 12 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-1 win over Minnesota.  Did not play in Fort Lauderdale's 1-0 loss to San Antonio.

Edson Elcock - Richmond - Came off the bench and played 45 minutes in Richmond's 2-0 win over Dayton.
Akeem Priestley - Dayton - Started and played 65 minutes, recording an assist in Dayton's 2-1 win over Harrisburg.  Started and played 45 minutes in Dayton's 2-0 loss to Wilmington.  Did not play in Dayton's 2-0 loss to Richmond.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 2-0 win over Dayton.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 2-1 loss to Orlando.

Michael Kraus - FC Tucson - Started and played 90 minutes in Tucson's 2-1 loss to the Sounders U23.

Nelson Pizarro - San Diego Flash - Season is over.

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.

Vicente Arze - Diosgyor - Hungary - Season is over.
Omar Bravo - Cruz Azul - Mexico - Started and played 58 minutes in Cruz Azul's 0-0 draw with Morelia.
Sunil Chhetri - Sporting Clube de Portugal B - Portugal - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Defensores de Cambaceres - Argentina - Season is over.
Daneil Cyrus - 1st FC Santa Rosa - Trinidad - Season is over.
Gary Glasgow - North East Stars - Trinidad - Season is over.
Herculez Gomez - Santos Laguna - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Santos' 2-1 win over San Luis.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Vasas - Hungary - Season is over.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Season is over.
Jeferson - Bahia - Brazil - Did not play in either of Bahia's games.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Season is over.
Mike Jones - FC Hjorring - Denmark - Season has not started.
Neal Kitson - Northampton Town - England - Season is over.
Igor Kostrov - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in Tiraspol's 0-0 draw with Olimpia.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring 2 goals in Krasnodar's 2-1 win over Rubin Kazan.
Michal Mravec - FC Emmen - Netherlands - Season is over.
Pablo Punyed - Fjolnir - Iceland - Started and played 90 minutes in Fjolnir's 2-1 loss to Vikingur Olafsvik.
Craig Rocastle - Thrasyvoulos Fylis FC - Greece - Season is over.
Milos Stojcev - FC Akzhayik - Kazakhstan - No game this week.
Matt Taylor - Preußen Münster - Germany - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Munster's 2-0 win over Wacker Burghausen.
Diego Walsh - TOT SC - Thailand - Lost to BBCU 3-2.

Bittersweet Day for Kamara

There was some good news and some bad news today involving Kei Kamara.  The good news first, Kamara, along with midfielder Roger Espinoza were named as reserves for the MLS All Star team.  In regards to the MLS game tonight it means little, neither one traveled to Philadelphia for the game, they weren't part of the roster.  The reason they were named as all stars is because it is part off the collective bargaining agreement between MLS and the players union.  There had to be 13 more players named as all stars.  Kamara and Espinoza earned the calls for Sporting.  What that means for the players is that they'll get their bonus for being an "all star" which is certainly a good thing for those guys.

Espinoza wouldn't have been able to play anyway as he's in London with Honduras for the Olympics.  They kick off their Olympic campaign tomorrow against Morrocco in Glasgow Scotland.

On the opposite side of things, some bad news for Kamara personally (but good news for Sporting KC).  Today, Kamara was suspended from the Sierra Leone national team "indefinitely."  Kamara and the national team captain, Ibrahim Kargbo have been suspended for having "frequently shown contempt to the Sport Minister Paul Kamara and football officials.  The pair were also accused of making inciting, derogatory statements and threatening remarks on air against football authorities."

It's the third time that Kamara has been suspended by his national team for comments made about the FA and sports authority.  It seems that the comments this time were in response to the refunding of air tickets, match fees and bonuses and other things.  Kamara has usually made his comments via Twitter usually after his trip and the last one was really no different when he made comments about the country being behind the team but not necessarily the FA and sporting authority joining the rest of the country behind the team.

It's a sad thing for Kamara and his international career but a good thing for Sporting KC, as Kamara will now not miss time heading to Sierra Leone for the Leone Stars African Cup of nations qualifier against Tunisia in September (7-9) and October (12-14).  In a critical part of the season it will be nice to have Kamara available for selection.

Reserve Heavy Lineup Falls to Montpellier

With the busy schedule that Sporting KC in the middle of currently it's no surprise that the lineup that KC put out tonight was less than the full squad.  It gave rest to a number of players that needed it, and gave game time to those that hadn't been getting a lot.  The starting lineup for KC against Montpellier featured a number of players who have played little part in KC's league season so far this year as they rested the likes of Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, Matt Besler, and Seth Sinovic, with Kevin Ellis, Korede Aiyegbusi, Dom Dwyer, and others stepped in to get some action against the French champs.

The first part of the game was surprisingly well matched as KC's reserves did a decent job of working the ball against many of MHSC's first team.  In fact the best early chance fell to KC.  After Peterson Joseph did a good job of getting open, he played a nice cutting pass to Soony Saad.  Saad got by his defender to the end line and played a ball on the ground back across the box, but no KC player could get to the ball and it went through the box.  As the half continued though, Montpellier started to get more of the ball, really starting to show their class.  Forward Gaetan Charbonnier started to really cause some problems for the center back tandem of Lawrence Olum and Konrad Warzycha, he did an excellent job on one cross of bringing it down with his chest and turning on goal, but Eric Kronberg came up with a big save to keep it 0-0.  The goal was coming though and in the 39th it finally came.  Charbonnier was able to get to the ball first on a cross by Marco Estrada and his flick header went past Kronberg and into the net.  A really well worked goal by the French.  Kronberg was called on a few times to make some decent saves to keep the game close and he showed well.

The second half saw Montpellier make 9 changes to their lineup as they have a more important game in New York on Saturday, the French Champions Trophy match against Lyon.  With Montpellier having more reserves out, KC was able to get more of the ball.  Unfortunately KC was able to do very little with much of their possession, continuing to work the ball down the wing and look for crosses even though the forward line of Aiyegbusi, Dwyer, and Soony Saad were all close to a head shorter than some of the Montpellier center backs.  Instead of the crosses, KC should have been looking more for the cutting runs like what led to the chance Saad created in the first half.  In the 72nd minute after some more good build up, Montpellier grabbed a second.  Emanuel Herrera was played into the box behind KC's defense.  Kronberg came off his line and pushed Herrera wide, but Herrera did well to round the keeper and from an acute angle slid the ball into the net for a 2-0 advantage. 

After the goal KC continued to possess and actually had some decent spells with Joseph, Aiyegbusi, and substitute CJ Sapong doing well.  Unfortunately KC still struggled to get shots off and still got no shots on goal.  Finally in second half stoppage time the third goal came.  After sustained possession for KC, Montpellier broke on the counter.  A shot came in from just outside the box that Kronberg did quite well to get down and make a save on.  Unfortunately the first to react to the rebound was Herrera who buried the rebound into the net to give him a brace on the night.

Overall, disappointing to lose 3-0, but Montpellier was just in a completely different class in this game.  They pass the ball extremely well and were quite fun to watch.

Wizards Man of the Match - Neven Markovic - The recent signing, in his first game with the club showed extremely well at left back and center back.  Going forward he still has a few things to learn, but in defense he did a very good job of standing up the attacks on the left side of defense.  He committed a few fouls, probably in a league game would have picked up a yellow, but overall a good performance.

Honorable Mention - Eric Kronberg

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sporting Sign Angevine

For those that looked at the lineup tonight for Sporting KC, there might have been a few "who?" comments when looking at the back up goalkeeper on the bench.  Others would know exactly who it was.  The back up keeper tonight against Montpellier tonight was Scott Angevine, a local KC area product who has trained with the team during the summer while he was in school Angevine went to school with KC's second round draft pick, Cyprian Hedrick. 

Angevine becomes the 7th KC area player on the roster as KC continues to utilize their local pipe line of players.  The one other thing that the signing of Angevine likely means, is that the team's first home grown player, Jon Kempin is likely done for the year after breaking his ankle.  The injury forced KC to go with only two keepers for a while, although league keeper Scott Spangler trained with the team.  Spangler though was out hurt as well, and Angevine now gets his shot on the roster.

The team hasn't officially announced the move, although Angevine has posted he's signed on Twitter, his college has a release about it, and from comments Thad made on Twitter yesterday, he wouldn't have been able to dress tonight if he wasn't signed.  The move is apparently just awaiting league approval before the team announces it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Transfer Window Closing

MLS' secondary transfer window is set to close on Friday, the 27th.  KC has announced one signing during the window, Neven Markovic, and another looks set to happen, Oriol Rosell.  Two central defenders that have helped to address some of the concerns that I'd personally had regarding our depth in defense.  Neither of those players though are expected to play much of a role for KC as the season continues.

Meanwhile, today, Everton FC announced today that they'd agreed to a deal with the New York Red Bulls for Tim Cahill to transfer for one million pounds.  The Red Bulls currently sit one point ahead of Sporting in the Eastern Conference standings.  They've also already added forward Sebastien Le Toux to their roster ahead of the second half of the season.  Houston has added designated player, Oscar Boniek Garcia, even Toronto has looked to improve their squad, adding Eric Hassli.  The Eastern Conference teams have been looking to improve their starting lineup.  Meanwhile KC has kept their starting lineup the same.  While that's not a horrible thing considering that KC is currently in second place in the Eastern Conference, KC's scoring woes lately would seem to point to KC's offense being something that could looked to be improved.  There haven't even been any rumors that have come out about potential players coming to Sporting.  Granted there is still time in the MLS trade window for Sporting to try to make a move within the league if they so choose, but the lack of movement is something that fans are noticing and starting to really raise their voices about, especially with other teams making their own moves.

Kamara Not Going to All Star Game

On Friday I mentioned how there were rumors that David Beckham would not travel to Philadelphia for the MLS All Star game, instead heading to London for the Olympics.  The rumor at the time was that a Sporting KC player would be the one replacing him on the team.  At the time I guessed that it would be Kei Kamara getting the call up if Beckham doesn't go.  Today we found that Beckham is going to be in Philadelphia.  At the same time we learned that Kamara was going to the replace should Beckham had not gone to Philly.

Friendly Season

It's that time of the MLS season when foreign clubs are in the US preparing for their seasons in Europe and play a few games against MLS and foreign competition.  Kansas City joins in on that tomorrow when they take on French champions, Montpellier at Livestrong Sporting Park.  Earlier today I posted a bit of a look at Montpellier HSC and some of their players ahead of the game.  Not sure how much we'll see of some of their best players, but one guy I am interested in seeing at least a little of is Younes Belhanda.  The one thing that will dictate quite a bit how much they play tomorrow is the fact that in 5 days, Montpellier has their first chance at silverware on the season when they play Lyon in New York for the French Champions Trophy.

Kansas City will be without 3 of their regular starters as they are in Philadelphia for the All Star game.  Aurelien Collin, Jimmy Nielsen, and Graham Zusi are all preparing to play Chelsea Wednesday at PPL Park and will not be available tomorrow.  Also not in KC tomorrow will be head coach Peter Vermes, he's in Philadelphia for league meetings, leaving assistant coach, Kerry Zavagnin in charge of the friendly.  It'll be interesting to see how much time the starters will get tomorrow, in previous comments Vermes has hinted that the starters would get some time.  But with the busy schedule that KC seems to be playing, it's also possible that Vermes will want Zavagnin to rest them as their busy schedule continues.  In fact Vermes said the following recently regarding the game "We're looking forward to getting a week in of training because we'll have a different team on the field come Tuesday night. Then we'll do the same thing next week and I think it will be a big help to us."

So I'd expect a lot of the reserves to get the majority of the time when the teams come out.  One question that is quite minor but interesting, is who is going to back up Eric Kronberg.  Nielsen is in Philadelphia, and Jon Kempin is out with a broken foot.  League keeper Steve Spangler, who has trained with Sporting is also injured.  According to the CBA, apparently no Sporting Juniors players (like Jacole Turner) can play in the friendly.  As Thad said on Twitter today, that would seem to leave a field player or goalkeeping coach, John Pascarella as Kronberg's back up.  That's a little worrisome as Kronberg probably isn't completely 100% from his back injury earlier this year.  While I don't think Kronberg is going to spend much time on the field this year, that could be a big blow to KC if Kronberg goes down, as Nielsen is still only 2 yellows away from a suspension.

Ellis - Olum - Markovic - Miller
Thomas - Warzycha
Aiyegbusi - Saad - Dwyer

PREDICTION - All I want are no injuries for players tomorrow.  Result means nothing, just don't get hurt.

A Look at Montpellier

This comes courtesy of Matt Demlein, who offered to give a bit of a look at Montpellier, ahead of tomorrow's friendly.

On Tuesday night, Sporting Kansas City plays the French Champions, Montpellier.  Montpellier were a surprise this past season, holding off Paris Saint-Germain during the second half of the season despite having a budget that was smaller than the transfer fee PSG paid for Javier Pastore.

Montpellier started the season off strong, losing only two of their first eight. However, where the team truly proved themselves was in the second half of the season.  Montpellier lost only three games between January and the end of the season in May.  They played a thrilling 2-2 in Paris in February, a game in which PSG had to come back in the late stages to pull back a tie. 

Much of that team still remains, minus one big loss, however. Attacker Olivier Giroud left the club shortly after playing for France at EURO 2012, heading to Arsenal. Giroud lead the “Ligue” with 21 goals. 

However, the team does still have John Utaka, who once played at Portsmouth when they were in the Premier league. Utaka scored both goals in Montpellier’s final game of the season at Auxurre that clinched the squad the title. 

Another player to watch is Younes Belhanda. Belhanda has attracted interest as well from English clubs as the team’s primary playmaker. In fact, Belhanda’s loss at the end of the season, due to a red card for fighting in a wild game against Evian, was considered to be a bigger hit to Montpellier’s title chances than losing Giroud would have been.  Montpellier is looking at a long season this year, with the French Champions Trophy game next week in New York, as well as Champions League play. The team is not deep, and will have to determine early on if they want to compete at that level. The last time the team went to Europe, in the Europa League in 2010-2011, they finished 14th.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Attendance Through 10 Home Games

photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson

Another over capacity crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park saw Sporting KC's 0-0 draw with the New England Revolution.  Just over 19,000 were at LSP last night for the game, keeping Sporting KC's average attendance this year over the announced capacity of the stadium.  Here's a look at the average attendance through the seasons for the 10th game of the season.

1996 - Arrowhead
Sunday August 11th, 1996 vs LA 2-2(3-1) shootout win.
Average - 13,740

1997 - Arrowhead
Sunday July 6th, 1997 vs Dallas 1-3 loss
Average - 8,661

1998 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 19th, 1998 vs Colorado 4-1 win
Average - 7,658

1999 - Arrowhead
Thursday July 22nd, 1999 vs Tampa 4-3 win
Average - 8,335

2000 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 8th, 2000 vs New York 0-1 loss
Average - 10,120

2001 - Arrowhead
Saturday August 4th, 2001 vs Columbus 1-3 loss
Average - 10,441

2002 - Arrowhead
Wednesday July 24th, 2002 vs New York 1-3 loss
Average - 11,268

2003 - Arrowhead
Friday August 22nd, 2003 vs Colorado 2-2 draw
Average - 14,878

2004 - Arrowhead
Wednesday July 28th, 2004 vs New York 1-2 loss
Average - 15,088

2005 - Arrowhead
Wednesday July 20th, 2005 vs DC 1-1 draw
Average - 10,129

2006 - Arrowhead
Saturday July 29th, 2006 vs New England 1-1 draw
Average - 11,225

2007 -Arrowhead
Sunday July 29th, 2007 vs Chivas 3-2 win
Average - 9,484

2008 - Community America Ballpark
Saturday August 23rd, 2008 vs Dallas 1-1 draw
Jimmy Conrad scores a late equalizer to tie it.
Average - 9,619

2009 - Community America Ballpark
Sunday August 16th, 2009 vs Chicago 0-2 loss
Zoltan Hercegfalvi picks up a red card minutes after coming in.
Average - 10,019

2010 - Community America Ballpark
Saturday August 7th, 2010 vs Salt Lake 1-1 draw
Average - 10,081

2011 - Livestrong Sporting Park
Wednesday August 17th, 2011 vs Portland 3-1 win
Average - 17,557

2012 - Livestrong Sporting Park
Saturday July 21st, 2012 vs New England 0-0 draw
Average - 19,321

Here's a look at the years ranked by their average attendance.

1. 2012 - 19,321 (-)
2. 2011 - 17,557 (-)
3. 2004 - 15,088 (-)
4. 2003 - 14,878 (-)
5. 1996 - 13,740 (-)
6. 2002 - 11268 (-)
7. 2006 - 11,225 (-)
8. 2001 - 10,441 (+1)
9. 2005 - 10,129 (+1)
10. 2000 - 10,120 (-2)
11. 2010 - 10,081 (-)
12. 2009 - 10019 (-)
13. 2008 - 9,619 (-)
14. 2007 - 9,484 (-)
15. 1997 - 8,661 (-)
16. 1999 - 8,335 (-)
17. 1998 - 7,658 (-)

Sunday After Stats

Sporting KC has gone 325 minutes without a goal at home, the second longest streak in team history behind 367 from the end of the 1998 season through the start of the 1999 season.

Peter Vermes coached his 110th game in all competitions for KC, tying Ron Newman for the second most games coached for KC.

Michael Harrington made his 165th appearance in all competitions, tying him with Josh Wolff for 10th on that list.

It was Harrington's 145th in league play, breaking his tie with Wolff and Matt McKeon for 9th on that list.

More Points Dropped

KC's offense continues to struggle at home, as for the third straight game last night, KC couldn't find the back of the net at Livestrong Sporting Park as the New England Revolution came in and earned a point in a 0-0 draw.  Sporting has now gone 325 minutes since Julio Cesar's goal against Toronto, the last one scored at home by KC.  The team record for home goals appears to be 367 minutes, set from the end of the 1998 season through the beginning of the 1999 season.  From a team with so much offensive firepower, this is quite disturbing.

It was actually the Revolution that came out with the smarter play from the start.  In the fourth minute, Ryan Guy got played in by Benny Feilhaber, but Jimmy Nielsen came up with the save as Guy was forced to shoot from long range with Aurelien Collin closing him down.  The Revs continued to have the better of the early play and thought they'd taken the lead in the 15th minute off a corner.  Lee Nguyen played in a driven corner to the back post where Guy laid out on a diving header.  Nielsen got his fists and punched the ball away, but the Revolution players argued that the ball had crossed the line.  The replays appear in conclusive, but it is extremely close on whether the whole ball crossed the line or not.  As the half wore on, KC started to get more possession of the ball, and in the 21st minute had their first decent opportunity of the match, when New England couldn't clear their end and Jacob Peterson let fly with a shot from just outside the box that curled wide of the post.

KC picked up the pressure in the second half, and in the 52nd minute had their best opportunity of the game.  Michael Harrington played a low cross into the box for Peterson, who did a great job of flicking the ball on towards the back post, but New England goalkeeper Matt Reis did a good job of laying out to palm the shot away for a corner.  The game started to open up a little more as KC pushed forward more leaving themselves open at the back and New England tried to take advantage of that.  New England was the team that looked more likely to take advantage of it though, Saer Sene knocked a Chris Tierney free kick back across the face of goal but no Revolution player was able to follow the shot.  Matt Besler was called into action as well to block another effort from Guy as the game looked destined for 0-0. 

In stoppage time, KC had a half chance off a Besler throw in.  On the play, Kei Kamara went up with Reis to try and win the header.  Reis got a hand on it, but got an elbow from Kamara in the forehead in the process.  Paulo Nagamura skied the rebound as Reis went to ground.  It wasn't an intentional elbow from Kamara on the play, and he immediately checked on Reis when he went down.  It wouldn't surprise me though if the disciplinary committee at least took a second look at the play because Kamara led with the elbow and it was reckless as Reis got busted open.  Even with the extra stoppage time added on to the initial 5 minutes, KC was unable to find the net and had to settle for only a point as the offense continues to struggle to find net at home.  It's not often a team scores more on the road, but KC is doing that right now, in 11 road games, KC has scored 15 goals (1.36 GPG) while in their 10 home games, KC has only scored 11 (1.1 GPG) and only 8 since the home opening 3-0 win over the Revs earlier this season.  Less than a goal a game in the 9 home games since the opener.

Wizards Man of the Match - Aurelien Collin - Shut down the Revs attack after their early start, did a great job of keeping Guy and then Sene in check for the majority of the game before he heads off for the All Star game.

Honorable Mention - Matt Besler

Player Ratings - Nielsen 7, Harrington 6, Collin 8, Besler 8, Sinovic 7, Nagamura 6, Zusi 5, Peterson 6, Convey 5, Sapong 4, Kamara 5.  Subs Thomas 6, Saad NR, Olum NR

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back Home

Sporting KC are back at Livestrong Sporting Park after the 3 game road trip to take on  the New England Revolution in a rematch of the home opener for Sporting KC.  Unlike the home opener on St. Patrick's Day, this game is going to be brutal, temperatures are going to be well into the triple digits.  The heat wave in Kansas City continues and tomorrow's going to be a rough with the weather.

New England comes into the game after traveling to Montreal where they lost 2-1 to the Impact.  They will be without their new designated player, Jerry Bengtson, who is with Roger Espinoza and Honduras for the Olympics.  They still have Saer Sene up top though, and he's had quite a successful first season so far in Kansas City.  They're lost their last two league games, both to Canadian clubs, 1-0 to Toronto and 2-1 to the Impact.

Sporting KC is fighting a bit of an issue with squad selection, especially in the midfield.  Roger Espinoza is away on Olympic duty, Graham Zusi has missed the last two games with injury (although it appears that he could return tomorrow), and Peterson Joseph is suspended for his red card against Houston.  Bobby Convey could very well return to the starting lineup for the first time since May as well.  It does appear that Chance Myers will miss his first game of the season due to injury, and Seth Sinovic also looks like he could potentially miss the game as he is questionable.  If both can't go, it'll be the first game in over a year that neither will have started for Sporting KC.  Michael Harrington would take one of those spots, the other could be Korede Aiyegbusi, or possibly new signing Neven Markovic.  The selection issues for KC are no easy task.

Harrington - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Nagamura - Thomas
Kamara - Bunbury - Convey

Number to Remember - 8 - Not counting the season opener against New England, that's the number of goals that Sporting KC has scored at Livestrong Sporting Park this summer in league play.  That's a fairly low amount, no where near enough if KC wants to really compete in league play.  Goals need to start coming at home.  Whether the team gets over hyped from the energy of the crowd or what, this HAS to improve.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Saer Sene - The two Frenchmen going up against each other could be a good match up to watch.  Sene has 8 goals on the season for the Revs, their leading scorer.  Collin shutting him down will be his main priority.

PREDICTION - The potential changes in the lineup that KC could throw out tomorrow could cause some concern for KC's offense especially.  The Revolution are currently tied for 7th in the Eastern Conference and have only won twice on the road this season.  If KC wants to be taken seriously as contenders, this is a game that you win, going away.

SKC - 2 (Sapong, Kamara)
NE - 0

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another SKC All Star, and Local TV in Trouble?

Two questions that could loom large over Sporting KC in the coming days.  First is a rumor that has come up only today.  LA Galaxy midfielder, David Beckham had been named to the MLS all star team that will be taking on Chelsea at PPL Park this coming Wednesday.  But the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics are on Friday, and Beckham is possibly going to play a role or want to attend those ceremonies.  Should Beckham go to London, DC United head coach Ben Olsen, who is also coaching the All Star team, will have to name a replacement. The rumor, according to Steven Goff, is that a Sporting KC player will be named to replace Beckham should he not go to the all star game.

The safe bet on the player to replace Beckham, should it be a Sporting KC player, would be Kei Kamara.  Kamara can play the wing position that Beckham likely would have been playing.  He's had a good season so far, scoring 7 goals this season for KC.

Conspiracy theorist could look at it differently though.  If Olsen were to name Kamara, or another Sporting player to the roster, that would make 4 KC players on the all star list, joining Aurelien Collin, Jimmy Nielsen, and Graham Zusi in traveling to Philadelphia for the game.  With Olsen's United team currently 3 points back, with a game in hand on KC, those that are wearing the tin foil hat could say that Olsen is looking to tire out some of KC's best players by having them travel to Philadelphia for the game.

Time Warner and KCTV-5 Contract

Time Warner cable recently had KMBC-TV and KCWE go black due to a dispute over the contract.  Now it appears that Time Warner and KCTV-5 are in the same boat.  Their contract runs through July 25th, at which time KCTV-5 and it's sister station, KSMO.  That's big news for Sporting KC fans as KSMO is Sporting KC's TV partner.  If no deal is reached and KSMO goes black, Sporting's games would not be on television in the KC metro area for those that have Time Warner cable.  The first game that it would affect would be a home game on July 28th at home vs Columbus.

Both sides are obviously blaming each other for the potential loss of the channel.  The thing that could work in Sporting's favor is the fact that KCTV-5 also broadcasts Chiefs games.  And with the Chiefs season getting closer, a prolonged dispute between the two will cause great animosity among many in the KC area, and that will likely fall mainly on Time Warner.  So it's probably in their best interest to get a deal done.  But we shall certainly see.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rosell Signing and Espinoza/Honduras Warm Up

The rumors have been around for a little while now that former Barcelona B defender, Oriol Rosell was signing with Sporting Kansas City.  He'd trialed with the team earlier this year, then was released from his contract with Barca B with a deal in MLS being on the table.  That led to the news in Spain that Sporting was the MLS target.  Today, things got cleared up it would seem.  First, Rosell himself posted on Twitter that he'd signed with Sporting Kansas City.  A little bit later in the day, Robb Heineman posted that Rosell had been signed by Kansas City. Coming from the president of the club, no reason to not believe that Rosell is signed and on the way soon.  KC's beat writer for the Star, Tod Palmer though says the deal IS in place, but not finalized yet.  I don't doubt that both Heineman and Palmer is write.  Rosell has probably signed his deal with Sporting KC, but everything probably has to be finalized completely with the league at this point.  Once that's complete, then KC will "officially" announce the deal.

Espinoza and Honduras win warm up

After playing for Kansas City in Columbus, Roger Espinoza took off for Europe to join the Honduran national team.  Today Honduras played Egypt in a friendly in France ahead of the Olympics in London.  Honduras topped the Egyptians 1-0 thanks to a goal from Maynor Figueroa off a free kick.  Espinoza started and played 90 minutes for Honduras in their warm up match.

S.A.S. Thursday After Stats

Jimmy Nielsen tonight became the 9th oldest player to appear in and start a game for Sporting KC at 34 years, 347 days, moving past Bo Oshoniyi.

Paulo Nagamura made his 150th MLS start in his career tonight.

Kei Kamara's goal was his 8th away from home for KC in league play, tying him with Sasha Victorine for 9th on that list.

It was also his 8th in all competitions away from home for KC, tying him with Victorine, Francisco Gomez, and Mark Chung for 11th on that list.

Michael Harrington made his 144th league appearance for KC, tying him with Matt McKeon and Josh Wolff for 9th on that list.

Aurelien Collin made his 50th start for KC, he's the 45th player to hit that mark.

Sporting End Road Trip on a Low

After winning the first 2 games of their 3 game road trip, Sporting KC had to be pretty confident heading into their first game of the road trip in Houston against the Dynamo, even though the Dynamo were unbeaten at their new stadium.  The long trip, the tired/injured legs, and some stupidity though all conspired against Sporting as they fell 2-1 to the Dynamo to close out the road trip.

From the start, KC's midfield seemed to be a step behind that of the Dynamo.  Michael Thomas and Paulo Nagamura seemed to struggle really enforce their will on the game.  Peterson Joseph on the other hand seemed to be doing ok when he could get the ball, but was making some questionable decisions on the defensive side of the ball.  In the 16th minute, when Teal Bunbury was played in behind the Houston defense, but got pushed wide of the goal, the play started as Joseph appeared to foul Warren Creavalle to win the ball.  The Dynamo though were controlling the game, and in the 25th minute, took a deserved lead.  In a stretch where the Dynamo completed 23 passes, in the end, Will Bruin found Calen Carr in the box unmarked and Carr made no mistake, turning and shooting all in one motion as the ball slid past Jimmy Nielsen and into the far corner giving the Dynamo the lead.  The Dynamo passing cut through KC's defense, leaving KC with only Aurelien Collin and Michael Harrington in the box to cover and Harrington didn't get over in time to mark Carr as Collin went to defend Bruin.

KC didn't look to really be into the game for much of the half, but in the 41st minute were handed a life line.  Kei Kamara got played down the right wing where he played a great cross into the box towards Jacob Peterson.  Peterson though was dragged down by Andre Hainault in the box and to the penalty spot we went.  It looked like Bunbury was wanting to take the PK, but Kamara seemed to win out and stepped up to take the PK.  Kamara froze Tally Hall on the ensuing PK as the Dynamo keeper didn't even move as Kamara blasted the PK into the net.  KC was level going into the half, which had to be a big boost after some of the poor play in the first half.  Unfortunately the entire mindset of half time changed in stoppage time.  Carr received the ball down the left side, barely in KC's half of the field, Joseph came in with a sliding tackle, going through Carr, not getting the ball.  Immediately the referee blew the whistle and after a minute produced a red card for the Haitian international.  On replays it was clearly a stupid and reckless challenge, as Joseph slid completely through Carr to get to the ball.

The second half became strictly about survival, and getting out of Houston with a point.  Peter Vermes subbed in CJ Sapong for Teal Bunbury at the half.  A move that surprised me a bit considering how the midfield had been overrun before KC had one sent off.  I would have thought the insertion of Julio Cesar would have been a good move to help slow the game down for KC.  The Dynamo in the second half, attacked in waves.  Luckily for KC they struggled getting the final ball and putting a shot on goal.  Carr couldn't get the ball out from under his feet after Bruin played him the ball from the end line.  Their best chance came off the foot of one of KC's players, as Seth Sinovic deflected a Brad Davis free kick.  The deflection forced Nielsen to push the ball onto the post to keep it out of the net.  In the 79th, all of the Dynamo's pressure paid off, as Carr continued to play like an all star against KC's back line.  Carr played the ball out wide to Davis who crossed into the middle.  Carr had continued his run and made just enough contact with the ball as he fell over to push the ball towards net.  Nielsen couldn't get across his goal fast enough and the ball rolled in giving the Dynamo a 2-1 lead.  After the goal KC tried to push the game more, looking for the equalizer and had some dangerous half chances off the head of Peterson and through Kamara, but KC couldn't find an equalizer, and to be honest it wasn't really deserved as Houston out played KC for much of the game.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jacob Peterson - Peterson continues to be in extremely good form in the last month.  He set up KC's PK by getting fouled in the box and was a threat on the rare instances that KC was able to get forward.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 4, Harrington 5, Collin 5, Besler 4, Sinovic 5, Nagamura 3, Thomas, 4, Joseph 2, Kamara 5, Bunbury 5, Peterson 5.  Subs Sapong 4, Myers 4, Convey NR.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Former SKC Wizards Update

Here is this week's former Wizards update.  All of Wednesday's games will appear on next 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
luke Sassano
Sam Scales
Ivan Trujillo
Lance Watson

Davy Arnaud - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 loss to Philadelphia.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Started and played 52 minutes in Salt Lake's 5-0 loss to San Jose.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 win over Colorado.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Out recovering from surgery.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 5-3 loss to LA.
Eddie Johnson - Seattle - Started and played 90 minutes in Seattle's 2-2 draw with New York.
Chris Konopka - Philadelphia - Did not dress in Philadelphia's 2-1 win over Montreal.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Chivas - No gmae this week.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not dress in DC's 4-0 loss to Houston.
Scott Sealy - Dallas - Came off the bench and played 8 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 win over Colorado.
Ryan Smith - Chivas - No game this week.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Came off the bench and played 13 minutes in San Jose's 5-0 win over Salt Lake.
Shavar Thomas - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 loss to Philadelphia.
Tyson Wahl - Colorado - Did not play in Colorado's 2-1 loss to Dallas.
Josh Wolff - DC - Did not dress in DC's 4-0 loss to Houston.

Jose Burciaga - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist Atlanta's 2-1 win over Puerto Rico.
Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Minnesota's 2-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Scott Lorenz - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-2 draw with San Antonio.
Amir Lowery - Carolina - No game this week.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 79 minutes, recording an assist in Fort Lauderdale's 2-2 draw with San Antonio.

Edson Elcock - Richmond - Did not dress in Richmond's 3-1 win over Pittsburgh.
Akeem Priestley - Dayton - Started and played 78 minutes in Dayton's 0-0 draw with Harrisburg.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Richmond's 3-1 win over Pittsburgh.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 3-1 win over Wilmington.

Michael Kraus - FC Tucson - Did not play in Tucson's 6-0 loss to Orange County.

Nelson Pizarro - San Diego Flash - Loss to Sonoma 2-2 (4-2 on PKs).

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.

Vicente Arze - Diosgyor - Hungary - Season is over.
Omar Bravo - Cruz Azul - Mexico - Season is over.
Sunil Chhetri - Sporting Lisbon B - Portugal - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Defensores de Cambaceres - Argentina - Season is over.
Daneil Cyrus - 1st FC Santa Rosa - Trinidad - Season is over.
Gary Glasgow - North East Stars - Trinidad - Season is over.
Herculez Gomez - Santos Laguna - Mexico - Season is over.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Vasas - Hungary - Season is over.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Season is over.
Jeferson - Bahia - Brazil - Lost 2-1 to Flamengo.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Season is over.
Mike Jones - FC Hjorring - Denmark - Season has not started.
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 in Fjolnir's 3-3 draw with Throttur Reykjavik.  Beat Haukar 4-0.
Craig Rocastle - Thrasyvoulos Fylis FC - Greece - Season is over.
Milos Stojcev - FC Akzhayik - Kazakhstan - Did not play in Akzhayik's 0-0 draw wtih Kaisar.
Matt Taylor - Preußen Münster - Germany - Season is over.
Diego Walsh - TOT SC - Thailand - Season is over.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Road Trip Ends

Sporting Kansas City's 3 game road trip is coming to an end tomorrow in Houston.  Sporting KC make their first trip to BBVA Compass Stadium to take on the Dynamo.  KC comes in having won their last two games on this road trip, both by a 2-0 score line, over Philadelphia and Columbus.  Houston on the other hand had the midweek off last week, but beat DC at home on Sunday, 4-0.

The Dynamo win over 10 man DC United on Sunday, pushing their unbeaten run to 4 games (2-0-2), they also extended their shutout run to over 300 minutes now.  The team has had what's been the minor distraction of the upcoming transfer of Geoff Cameron to EPL side Stoke City, but that ordeal looks to be close to an end, and Houston already looked to be moving on without the player.  Will Bruin has pushed past CJ Sapong for goals in the class of 2011 draft class.  Bruin hit double digits for goals on the season with his goal against DC on Sunday.

After Sporting's big win in the Open Cup last Wednesday, they rested a few starters a little bit against the Crew on the weekend, giving a guy like Graham Zusi a much needed rest and cutting down on the minutes a bit for Sapong and Teal Bunbury.  Per the Sporting Twitter account today, Bobby Convey is back in training and could play a role tomorrow.  This could be big, especially if Jacob Peterson is still out due to his injury he picked up against the Crew.  Peterson is questionable currently with an ankle sprain that he picked up against the Crew.  It's a blow to KC as Peterson has been in some extremely fine form, scoring goals in 3 of KC's last 4 games, all 4 of which KC has won.  His loss could be offset if Convey can play.  If not, expect Bunbury, Sapong, and Kei Kamara to start again up top.  The other loss is that KC will be without midfielder, Roger Espinoza who has now left to join Honduras for the Olympics in London.  This could see Julio Cesar, who seems to have been in the dog house lately, return to the starting lineup, or it could be Michael Thomas starting with Paulo Nagamura.

Myers - Collini - Besler - Sinovic
Nagamura - Cesar
Kamara - Bunbury - Sapong

Number to Remember - 5 - KC is unbeaten in their last 5 games they've played for the first time in one location.  Since losing their first game at Red Bull Arena, Sporting has drawn in Vancouver at Frontier Field, won at Jeld-Wen in Portland, drawn at Livestrong Sporting Park, won at BC Place in Vancouver, and at Saputo Stadium, in their first game at each of those sites.  They'll look to make it 6 and give Houston their first loss at their new stadium.

Key Match Up - Chance Myers vs Mac Kandji - The two were an entertaining match up to watch when the two teams met a week and a half ago in KC.  I'm sure the two will be quite entertaining to watch again tomorrow.

PREDICTION - Kansas City's road trip has taken them from Philadelphia, to Columbus, to Houston.  While Houston is on their 2nd of 3 games in 7 days.  In the heat and humidity down in Houston these things would seem to point to a rather dull, drab game.  Both teams could be a little tired, KC from the travel, and Houston from the one day less of rest compared to KC.  I'm not expecting a ton from tomorrow's game.

SKC - 0
HOU - 0

Renteria Suspended by Disciplinary Committee

The MLS disciplinary committee came out with one announcement today regarding a retroactive suspension from this past weekend's games.  The one suspension announced is from KC's game against Columbus.  Columbus Crew forward, Emilio Renteria has gotten himself a 1 game suspension for his head butt on KC midfielder, Paulo Nagamura.

On the play, Nagamura fouled Renteria, earning himself a yellow card.  Renteria got up and got in the face of Nagamura, heading butting him.  Credit to Nagamura, he didn't take a dive on the play staying on his feet after Renteria head butted him.  At the time, the referee only gave Renteria a yellow card, but the disciplinary committee saw it differently.  See the play below.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Open Cup Ticket Update

Today, Sporting KC season ticket holders had the opportunity to purchase even more tickets to August 8th's US Open Cup final against Seattle.  This was the second release phase of tickets for the finals.  The first had allowed season ticket holders to purchase their existing ticket(s) for the game.  Today, KC season ticket holders were able to purchase ones in addition to their existing tickets.  And it certainly looks like there aren't going to be a ton of tickets available when they go on sale to the general public tomorrow.

The Cauldron and the South Stand both appear to be sold out (although tickets seem to be occasionally still cropping up to by on Ticket Master, and word is a number of South Stand tickets will come available tomorrow).  Other sections around the stadium are starting to really fill up as well. 

The selling of the Cauldron caused a few problems today, because people couldn't get onto the Account Manager to buy the extra tickets.  Personally I can't get on the account manager at work so I placed a call in to the front office almost exactly at 10am and purchased a few extra tickets for some friends that are currently not season ticket holders.  I got them purchased without a problem and continued on with my day.  Checking Twitter and online later, I realized issues had come up, people couldn't purchase through the account manager, and apparently the Cauldron sold out very quickly from people that called in to the front office. 

Turns out that wasn't totally true.  Many of the extra tickets for the members stand had already been allotted to the Cauldron to sell to the general public.  According to Sean Dane on the Cauldron Facebook page, there was nothing the KC front office staff that dealt with ticket sales directly could do about it because Ticket Master had allocated those tickets, so in the eyes of the people selling tickets, the section was sold out.  Dane worked with the front office to get those tickets back to the team so that they could sell them in the presale, and even those tickets sold out as well, leaving very few, if any, available for the general public tomorrow.

That is, unless you want to pay well above market price for the ticket.  Checking some third party ticket sites this evening, I saw tickets in the members stand available for between $95 and $124 for just a single ticket in the section.  It appears that some people bought quite a few extra tickets, looking to sell them for a nice profit.  The easiest way to resolve this would have been something that the Cauldron currently does when they sell tickets, limit the number of tickets that can be sold to one person.  The Cauldron limits this to 2, something like that probably would have helped a little bit.

The enormous ticket prices are shocking, years ago I never would have figured that a ticket in the Cauldron would be priced at over $100.  These prices will only stay this way if people actually pay those ticket prices, if people don't buy those tickets at that price, tickets will go down.

At this rate though it looks like KC will do a nice job of filling the stadium for the Open Cup final.  The question remains of Sounders fans buying tickets around the stadium in other sections outside their supporters' section.  The Sounders have apparently already sold their allotment of tickets that have been provided by KC, and with the way sales have gone the past few days, I'm not sure if they'll get any more in their allocation.

Open Cup Final Start Time, Rosell, and All Stars

Just a little bit ago, Sporting KC and the Seattle Sounders announced the start time of the US Open Cup final on August 8th.  The game will kick off at 8pm Central Time on that Wednesday, 6pm on the West coast.  There's still no announcement of any TV for the final, but the assumption on the start time is that it hopefully was done 30 minutes later than usual Sporting home games to help facilitate a potential TV deal.

Rosell One Step Closer to KC

Last week, I mentioned how Oriol Rosell, a trialist earlier this season had been granted his release from his contract with the Barcelona B side.  At the time it was mentioned that Rosell had a deal with an MLS side on the table.  At the time I assumed that it was KC that had offered the deal, as KC had been the only club mentioned that Rosell had trialed with.  The Spanish media has now picked up on this and is saying that Rosell has a 2 year contract offer on the table from Sporting.

Based on the article, it appears that Rosell looks set to turn down offers to play with the B sides of Valencia and Villarreal to sign with Kansas City.  It appears that part of the reason for this decision is Rosell's interest in completing his degree at the same time.

All Star Game Day Roster

Aurelien Collin, Jimmy Nielsen, and Graham Zusi were all named to the MLS First XI for the all star game against Chelsea last week, but that was no guarantee that the 3 would be named to the game day roster for the game next week.  Yesterday on the ESPN broadcast, the roster for the game was announced.  Collin, Nielsen, and Zusi were all named to the roster that will be taking on Chelsea.  No other KC players were added to the roster that will take on the European champions at PPL Park. Chelsea have also named their roster ahead of their tour that includes stops in Seattle and New York before the all star game in Philadelphia, and the trip ends with a game in Florida.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday After Stats

Last night's win was Sporting's 5th on the road this season, tying a team record for wins in a non-shootout season, tying the 2000, 2004, and 2005 for the record.  It's also the 3rd most including the shoot out years, behind the 1997 (9 wins) and 1996 (6 wins) seasons.

Teal Bunbury's goal was his 10th away from home in league play, tying Scott Sealy and Mo Johnston for 6th on that list.

Bunbury's goal was also his 17th in league play, tying him with Eddie Johnson and Jimmy Conrad for 10th on that list.

It was also Bunbury's 22nd in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Mark Chung for 9th on that list.

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

It was also Kamara's 14th in all competitions, breaking his tie with Paul Wright and Chris Brown for 19th on that list.

The win was Jimmy Nielsen's 14th in all competitions this year, breaking his tie with Bo Oshoniyi for 2nd place on that list.

It was his 33rd in league play, tying him with Mike Ammann for 3rd on that list. 

The 14th win is the 3rd most in a single season for a goalkeeper, and second most in the non-shootout era.  Only Tony Meola (15) in 2000 and Mike Ammann (21) in 1997 (shootout era) have more.  He's tied with his season last year and Garth Lagerwey in 1996.

Role Reversal

It seems like the M.O. for Sporting KC this year has been to employ the high pressure on their opponents, create giveaways and create a number of chances in the game, while limiting the chances that their opponents get.  Last night though, Sporting KC reversed that role a little bit.  KC still employed some high pressure, but an early goal for Jacob Peterson allowed Sporting KC to sit back a little bit and basically told the Crew "OK come and beat us."  The Crew created plenty of chances, but couldn't find the net, and KC grabbed a second on the counter to seal a 2-0 win as they seemed to relax a little bit more in this one after the high on Wednesday.

In typical fashion for KC, they came out with the high pressure against the Crew and forced a number of early giveaways.  In only the 3rd minute off a Crew throw in, KC almost grabbed the lead as Peterson Joseph found Soony Saad in the box.  Saad couldn't control the first effort, but off a sliding tackle the ball came back to him.  He played the ball wide to Kei Kamara who blasted his shot wide of the net.  KC continued to pressure and in the 6th minute grabbed the lead.  Kamara started the play by intercepting a pass and racing down the right.  He laid the ball back to Joseph who took a few dribbles and then with the outside of his foot, dinked a pass through to Peterson who put his shot past Andy Gruenebaum to give KC the early 1-0 lead.

Shortly after the 1-0 lead, KC almost doubled it on another mistake by the Crew.  On an errant back pass to Gruenebaum, Kamara gave chase and when Gruenebaum tried to clear, it deflected off Kamara and went just wide of the net, as Gruenebaum avoided pulling a Kasey Keller.  Columbus though started to control the game at that point, as KC seemed content to let Columbus come at them and try to beat them.  Columbus definitely did that, and should have equalized or then taken the lead on a few occasions.  The first of those good chances came in the 24th minute, when KC failed to deal with a free kick from the Crew.  Josh Williams chased the ball down and flicked it back into the path of Emilio Renteria at the corner of the 6.  But Renteria fired the ball wide of the post from close range and KC remained in the lead.  A few minutes later, it was Justin Meram's turn to test Jimmy Nielsen.  Played in on Nielsen by Tony Tchani, Meram's shot was right at Nielsen who knocked the ball away.  The ball was only partially cleared, but KC was able to clear the rebound without another dangerous opportunity for Columbus.

Into the second half, Columbus continued to push for an equalizer and almost had it inside the first few minutes.  Eddie Gaven beat Seth Sinovic on the by line and cross into the middle for Meram.  Meram beat Chance Myers in the air and beat Nielsen, but couldn't be the cross bar, as his header went off the underside of the cross bar to Aurelien Collin who headed the ball back into the hands of Nielsen.  Things started to get quite chippy, as Peterson Joseph and Paulo Nagamura both picked up yellows for bad tackles, but Renteria was probably lucky to stay on the field.  After Nagamura fouled Renteria, Renteria stood up got in Nagamura's face and made a headbutting motion, making contact with Nagamura's forehead.  It didn't look like much contact, and Nagamura didn't try to sell it like he'd been shot, but Renteria did pick up a yellow for his efforts.  That play could very well be reviewed by the disciplinary committee and it wouldn't surprise me if Renteria is given a fine/suspension for that play.

Renteria in the 75th almost got Columbus back in the game again as he got a chance behind KC's defense but Nielsen again came up big.  The rebound fell to Tchani, who with the open net put his effort wide of the goal.  In the 82nd minute, KC made Columbus pay for the misses.  Once again it was Kamara starting the play by picking off a poor pass out of the back.  Kamara led a 2v3 break with Teal Bunbury.  After Kamara got the second defender to commit to him, Kamara squared the ball to Bunbury. Bunbury took a touch and then slotted the ball into the corner, sealing the game for KC and another 3 points for Sporting.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - Started both of KC's goals last night with some heads up play and interrupting Columbus' passing out of their defense.  A strong performance out of the Sierra Leone international.

Honorable Mention - Jimmy Nielsen

Player Ratings - Nielsen 8, Myers 6, Collin 7, Besler 7, Sinovic 6, Nagamura 6, Espinoza 6, Joseph 6, Kamara 8, Saad 5, Peterson 6.  Subs Sapong 5, Bunbury 7, Thomas 6.

Friday, July 13, 2012

In for a Bit of a Let Down?

Wednesday, Sporting KC advanced to their first final since 2004, now tomorrow, Sporting KC will be back on the field again taking on the Columbus Crew in Columbus.  With the team having qualified for the final, this game appears ripe for a let down by the team.  Mainly because they have the high of the cup final still in their minds.  It's up to Peter Vermes to keep KC's players heads in the game if they want to walk out of Columbus with 3 points.

If Columbus was higher in the table, I'd say they were flying under the radar.  You've heard very little about them in the league season so far.  But they aren't really that high in the table.  Currently they sit in 7th in the East with 22 points, 3 points out of the fifth and final playoff spot.  The other reason why we really haven't heard a lot lately is that they've only played 4 games since June 16th.  In the same time frame, Kansas City has played double the amount of competitive games, 6 league and 2 Open Cup.  Columbus will be a bit more rested than Sporting is without those games, but Kansas City is getting healthier, while the Crew are continuing to struggle with some injury issues.

To help to avoid the potential let down, Vermes could look to switch up his side a little bit in a similar manner that he did in Seattle earlier this year.  Maybe Vermes gives a break to players like Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi, Paulo Nagamura, and one of Chance Myers or Seth Sinovic in place of guys like Soony Saad, Peterson Joseph, Julio Cesar, and Michael Harrington.  With the win on Wednesday, KC play two games a week all the way through the 11th of August, a brutal stretch for Sporting KC.  KC will need to use some of it's depth a bit and making those changes after the big game on Wednesday would seem to make a lot of sense.

Myers - Collin - Besler - Harrington
Cesar - Espinoza
Saad - Bunbury - Peterson

Number to Remember - 8 of 10 - Sporting KC have not scored in 8 of the last 10 halves in MLS play.  They've scored 4 goals in those two halves, but KC's scoring woes as a whole as they struggle to consistently find the net.

Key Match Up - Roger Espinoza vs Eddie Gaven - Gaven continues to be one of the Crew's most consistent players and is their leading scorer as well.  Keeping him in check is going to be a key to KC's success.

PREDICTION - I don't expect or need a lot from this game, the win on Wednesday has put us in the final and I was willing to give up a game to get to that point.  This game would be one I'd be ok with. This is a game that would be perfect for KC to take a bit of a slower approach to and to conserve their legs a bit.  Columbus' offense hasn't set the world on fire, which could work in KC's favor as well.

SKC - 1 (Saad)
CLB - 1 (Meram)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tickets for the Open Cup

It's been about 24 hours since Sporting KC clinched their spot in the US Open Cup final this year.  And this morning tickets went on sale for Sporting KC season ticket holders for the game at 10am.  By noon, only 2 hours after tickets had gone on sale, Robb Heineman announced on Twitter that 8,186 tickets had been sold for the game already.  That was only 300 less than the announced attendance for yesterday's semifinal in Philadelphia at PPL Park.  That is also only 703 less than came to the 2004 US Open Cup final when KC drew 8,819 against the Chicago Fire.  That's only through KC's current season ticket base buying their seats.  Starting Monday, season ticket holders will be able to purchase extra tickets starting at 10am.  Tuesday at 10am the remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public.

For the visiting team in the finals, the Seattle Sounders, they were originally allocated 100 tickets like most visiting teams to Livestrong Sporting Park.  That amount was expand to 220 fairly quickly.  From a quick check of the Emerald City Supporters website, there are only 90 left in their allocation.  At this time there is no word on whether that amount will be expanded, but I'd expect Seattle fans to buy some tickets once they go on sale to the general public on Tuesday.  Rumors on Twitter today were that the Sounders were trying to get 1,000 tickets allocated for the finals.  Personally I can't really see Seattle getting 1,000 tickets at Livestrong, even if it is for a cup final.  Mainly because of the fact that with the number of season ticket holders KC has and where they're located, unless Sporting moves some of their existing season ticket holders, annoying and potentially pissing off some of the people that regularly put money into the team, there isn't really a way to put 1,000 away supporters in one location. 

Both sides have come up with the same idea to try to get more of their fans in.  Some KC fans have suggested buying up the rest of the Seattle allocation and donating them.  On the other side, ESC members are saying they should buy up the general ticket allocation to "show KC how real fans support their team away!"  Both sound like overly ambitious plans.  Either way, just under a month away, this will be a very well attended game and should be a big party as Seattle chances a historic 4th straight USOC title, while KC looks for their first trophy since 2004.