Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sporting KC Internationals Busy this Weekend

Sporting KC has recently had 7 of their players on international duty, representing their country, and this past weekend was busy for all of them.

On Friday it was announced that Sporting KC's first round pick in the super draft this year, Mikey Lopez had been selected to the roster for this summer's U20 World Cup in Turkey. He's flown straight from France, competing in the Toulon tournament with the U20 team to Portugal, where the team is holding their training preparing for the World Cup.

The news wasn't as good for Soony Saad though.  Saad, who scored on his debut for Lebanon had been asked to stay on ahead of Lebanon's 2 World Cup qualifiers against South Korea and Iran. Saad was set to play a role in those games, but because of paper work issues with his one time FIFA switch, he was unable to play in Lebanon's 1-1 draw with South Korea that eliminated Lebanon from World Cup qualifying.  Saad has returned to Sporting KC at this time because the paper work issue will not be resolved by the time of Lebanon's other qualifier against Iran.

Friday night, Sporting's two full US internationals were both in the starting lineup as the US took on Jamaica in Jamaica. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi both started for the US in their 2-1 win at "The Office." Both players handled the situation well, Besler remains undefeated when starting for the US now with a 2-0-1 record.  Handled the Jamaican attack quite well throughout the game.  Zusi also had himself a strong game and was a danger throughout. He set up the first goal of the game doing very well on the right wing before playing in a perfect cross to Jozy Altidore who headed the ball in to give the US a 1-0 lead in the first half.  On the opposite side though he gave away the foul that led to the Jamaica goal.  And on that play Zusi picked up his second yellow of the Hex, meaning he has to sit out the game this coming Tuesday against Panama in Seattle.

On Saturday, Kei Kamara and Sierra Leone took the field in a virtual must win qualifier in Freetown against Tunisia.  A loss would have eliminated Sierra Leone from World Cup qualification.  Kamara scored his 3rd international goal of his career as the Leone Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead.  They kept the lead until a 44th minute penalty from Tunisia tied the game.  Sierra Leone regained the lead in the 72nd though and looked to be on their way to a big win.  Unfortunately Tunisia equalized again in stoppage time again to make it 2-2.  With that result, Sierra Leone remain 5 points behind Tunisia with only 2 games left to play.  This means Sierra Leone needs to win out and Tunisia needs to lose out for the Leone Stars to advance in World Cup qualifying.

Also on Saturday, Haiti took on the world champs, Spain in a friendly in Miami, Florida.  Peterson Joseph started the game for Haiti.  Joseph ended up being subbed out just before the hour mark, being replaced by his Sporting teammate, Mechack Jerome.  Haiti surprisingly kept the result close as they only fell to Spain 2-1.

Things remain busy for Sporting's internationals this week as well.  Besler and Zusi have the qualifier against Panama.  Sierra Leone face a must win qualifier on the road against Cape Verde.  Joseph and Jerome will make their way to Brazil where they will take on the previous World Cup champs, Italy.

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