Two bits of Sporting KC news today.
Saad called up by Lebanon
Sporting KC forward, Soony Saad will miss the majority of the rest of Sporting's preseason. He's been called up to represent Lebanon in a pair of games. The first is a friendly against Pakistan on February 19th. The second game is an AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Thailand on March 5th. Saad will not return to Sporting until after that game, just ahead of the season opener against Seattle on March 8th.
Lebanon still has a shot at qualifying for the 2015 Asian Cup, but will need to beat Thailand, and probably need help. They are currently locked into third place in their group with 5 points. The top two teams in each of the five group qualify automatically along with the best third place team of all the groups. Currently Lebanon is the second best third place team behind Iraq, who is on 6 points. So for Lebanon to even have a chance they must beat Thailand.
The good news for Lebanon is Iraq's opponent is China, who is in second place in their group on 8 points. So for China to clinch qualification, they will need to beat or draw with Iraq. The bad news is that the game is in Iraq. All isn't bad though, because a win by Lebanon and a loss by China would put them level on points. But for that to happen, there will need to be a six goal swing in goal difference (Lebanon is currently at -5 GD while China is on +1). So it's certainly an uphill battle, but against a winless Thailand team it's possible.
Sporting Juniors Commit on National Signing Day
On national signing day it's football that gets the big headlines as high school football players commit to their college future. But the day is not just for college football. All athletes are eligible to sign their letters of intent to play college sports today. That includes soccer, and 12 Sporting Academy players signed their letters of intent to play college ball.
Nine of the twelve players have committed to playing division one soccer. Three of those players have committed to playing in the competitive ACC.
Here's the full list:
Darby Cronin (Missouri-Kansas City)
Andrew Dittemore (Missouri State)
Andy Ericks (Colorado School of Mines)
Heath Honold (Wake Forest)
Mason Leonard (Drake)
Blake Levine (Baker)
Matthew Lewis (Fordham)
Andy Lopez (North Carolina)
Joey Piatczyc (West Virginia)
Cole Stevenson (Denver)
Austin Williamson (Northeastern State University)
Zach Wright (North Carolina)