Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sporting KC Open Preseason with Loss to Portland

Sporting Kansas City opened the 2015 season with a loss in their first preseason game, 2-0 to the Portland Timbers.

Sporting kicked off without a number of players, beside Matt Besler and Jon Kempin who are still with the US national team, Roger Espinoza, Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Saad Abdul-Salaam, and Graham Zusi all sat out the game for Kansas City. While the game was the standard two 45 minute halves, Kansas City made numerous changes at both the 30 minute and 60 minute mark giving pretty much everyone 30 minutes.

KC suffered an injury blow in just the 15th minute as Seth Sinovic caught an elbow from Fanendo Adi. Sinovic went down and was subbed out for Amadou Dia, and ended up having to get stitches for a cut he received. Portland opened the scoring from the spot in the 30th minute through Gaston Fernandez. After a block and a good save by goalkeeper Luis Marin, a handball in the box led to a Portland penalty. Fernandez fired the penalty right up the middle giving Portland the lead. Immediately after KC made their first set of changes.

Portland didn't make any changes at the 30 minute mark, instead waiting until half time. Sporting's second set of players didn't concede. Early in the second half though it was the Timbers that doubled their lead as Michael Nanchoff hit a nice free kick from just outside the box that beat Tim Melia, hit off the post and in. Throughout the game, Sporting really didn't create much in the way of dangerous chances on goal. But other than those two goals, Portland also struggled to create chances. Overall, it looked like two teams playing their first preseason game.

There were also four new trialists in the game for Kansas City. Along with the unsigned draft picks, Dia, James Rogers, and Tony Rocha, Sporting academy product, Felipe Hernandez, and former Sporting player, Christian Duke, Kansas Cit also had Brent Griffiths, who started the game at center back and played 60 minutes for Kansas City, Alex Dixon, Santiago Otero, and Daniel Rodriguez. Griffiths has spent his entire career in the A-League in Australia, playing with a number of teams there. Dixon is a former Houston Dynamo home grown player, Otero is an Argentine who last played with Godoy Cruz, and Rodriguez, I'm unable to find anything to confirm where he'd previously played.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Comets Move to 16-0, Sweep Mustangs

The Missouri Comets had been able to take care of business fairly early on against the Chicago Mustangs the first two times they’d played them this season, jumping out to a 6-1 and 10-1 half time leads. This time though the Comets found themselves in a much tighter battle against the former PASL champions.

The first quarter saw both teams go end to end with chances, but neither team was able to find a goal. The Comets had some of the best chances early on as Robert Palmer and Leo Gibson both went close for the Comets but couldn’t get their efforts on goal. Late in the quarter it was the Mustangs who forced the Comets and goalkeeper Stephen Paterson into some good saves. The best of those were actually saved off the line by the Comets defense as the Mustangs peppered the goal.

The second quarter saw the Comets finally find a way to break through the Mustangs defense. Off a restart to the left of the Mustangs’ goal John Sosa laid the ball off to Vahid Assadpour who fired a low shot into the far corner that goalkeeper, Jesus Flores did not see as it rolled into the net.  A couple minutes later, the Comets were on the power play after a tripping penalty and again had chances to extend their league. They thought they’d scored after a shot by Josh Gardner was saved and deflected off a Mustang defender and was headed into the net but Flores stopped it on the line.  Late in the quarter is when more of the action occurred as the Mustangs first leveled through Edgar Martini who brought down a long ball, settled and fired a shot that deflected off Brian Harris and into the net to make it 1-1. Seconds later, the Comets were back ahead. After a Mustangs’ foul, the ball was quickly played out wide to Gardner who centered the ball in to Assadpour who immediately played it back wide to Gardner who squared the ball into the middle for Andre Braithwaite who tapped the ball home to put the Comets back on top. The Mustangs though struck back again, this time on the power play after Alain Matingou was called for boarding. The Comets had chances to counter, with Harris having a 1v1 with the goalkeeper that he fired wide of the goal. The Mustangs were able to level with just over a minute left as a couple shots by Guilherme Veiga were blocked. The ball got knocked out to Hewerton outside the yellow line. He fired a shot from distance that went into the upper 90 leveling the score at 2-2 as the teams headed into half time.

The third quarter saw the two teams continue their defensive play early on in the quarter. The Comets though were the pushing the game more as the quarter wore on. Just about half way through the quarter, Matingou raced past his defender towards goal, Flores came off his line and out of the box to pressure in a situation where he probably didn’t need to. Matingou’s shot hit off Flores’ arm and a blue card was handed out to the Chicago keeper. On the ensuing shootout for Leo Gibson, Flores came up with a good save to knock the ball out for a corner.  The Comets dominated the power play, keeping Chicago pinned in their own end. Late in the power play, Gibson received the ball down in the corner near the box. Flores pressured him, leading Gibson to pull the ball outside the box. Flores inexplicably followed him. Gibson was able to play the ball into the middle to an unmarked Sosa who chipped the ball into the net as Flores was stranded.

The temperature started to rise as both teams started to get a little heated. With less than five minutes left, Gibson and Chicago’s Efrain Martinez had a coming together after a Missouri foul. Gibson said something to Joshio Sandoval, who was on the ground. Sandoval took exception and got up to confront Gibson. The referee started to get Gibson away when Martinez came up from behind and grabbed Gibson. Gibson then turned and pushed Martinez, giving both a blue card and putting the two teams at 4v4. Early on in the power play, the Mustangs controlled play, enough so that they felt confident pulling Flores and putting on the “fifth” attacker. But immediately after inserting him, the Mustangs gave the ball away as Paterson made a save. Paterson quickly threw the ball to Harris for the counter.  Harris raced down the field and played the ball across to Roberto Palmer who knocked the ball past the “fifth” attacker and into the net to make it 4-2.

The fourth quarter saw the Comets continue to dominate the play and they were able to extend their lead. Just over three minutes into the quarter, the Mustang’s picked up their second substitution violation, leading to a yellow card for the Mustangs. With that being their third yellow card of the game, it led to a blue card as well, giving the Comets with a man advantage. The Comets were able to take advantage of the man advantage with just 30 seconds left in the power play. Sosa played the ball in to Gibson at the top of the box. With three defenders around him, the Mustangs’ allowed Gibson to turn, pick the lower corner and knock the ball in to make it 5-2. Less than seven minutes in, the Comets made it 5-2. Paterson cleared a ball up field to Braithwaite who was in behind Chicago’s defense. A Mustang’s defender was racing back, but Braithwaite cut back in and fired a shot past Flores to make it 6-2. The Comets continued their pressure and less than nine minutes in were able to cap the game off on a restart. Sosa picked up his third assist of the game, playing the ball into the corner for Josh Gardner who had much of the goal to shoot for as the Chicago defender didn’t pull with him. Gardner didn’t miss, making it 7-2. The Comets were able to kill the rest of the game off and the game ended with the Comets moving to 16-0 on the season. As the game ended, Mustangs’ head coach Armando Gamboa immediately made a b-line for the referees to voice his displeasure over the calls that had happened, as the Mustangs out fouled the Comets almost two to one at 31 to 17. The officials didn’t waste any time, pulling out the red card for Gamboa as both teams left the field. The Comets are now off until a trip to St. Louis next Friday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Besler Goes 90, Records Assist but US Lose

Matt Besler earned his 24th cap for the US national team starting on the left side of a three man back line in Jurgen Klinsmann's new 3-5-2 formation. In just the sixth minute, Besler sent a fantastic through ball down the line for Brek Shea to run onto. The new Orlando City signed fired a shot across the face of goal and into the net to give the USA a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately less than five minutes later, Besler played a role in Chile's equalizer. As Chile worked down the USA's right, Besler tracked Roberto Gutierrez. Right before the cross was played in, Besler seemed to hesitate just a little bit, maybe expecting center back, Jermaine Jones to pull up and play Gutierrez offside as the US did a number of times during the game. Unfortunately Jones didn't pull up and Gutierrez had an uncontested header that he put past Nick Rimando and into the net. The US retook the lead before half time through Jozy Altidore to lead 2-1 as the teams headed into half time.

The second half though was dominated by Chile as they took the game to the US who appeared to tire as the second half wore on further. Mark Gonzalez scored a pair of goals less than 10 minutes apart to give Chile the lead. The first he raced past his marker on the USA's right, got into the box and fired a shot past Rimando to tie the game at 2-2. Then in the 75th, he pounced first on a rebound that Rimando had done well to save initially. But Gonzalez's follow up deflected off Steve Birnbaum and past Rimando to make it 3-2 Chile. Which is how the game ended. The US team will return to the States ahead of a friendly on February 8th against Panama in Los Angeles.

See Besler's assist below.

Gansler in the Hospital - Former SKC Wizards Update

Some sad news to report first this week. Former Kansas City head coach and Sporting Legend, Bob Gansler was hospitalized over the weekend after suffering a stroke on Saturday.  The 73 year old who led Kansas City to the 2000 MLS Supporters' Shield, 2000 MLS Cup, and 2004 US Open Cup is in the hopsital recovering from the stroke. The coach to take the US back to the World Cup for the first time in 40 years in 1990 is a US Soccer Hall of Famer and currently has the most wins for a head coach in club history.

In other news this week, it appears that Andy Gruenebaum is set to move onto his career after soccer. Gruenebaum was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes in the first stage of the re-entry draft, but did not show up for preseason. Instead he has apparently decided to stay in Kansas City and start a family.

Also this week, Martin Steuble has signed with a new club, joining Ceres FC of the Filipino League. Steuble had been without a club after not having his contract picked up by Kansas City. Finally, in the silly season news, Yura Movsisyan has been linked with a move back to MLS. The Chicago Fire was the team according to the reports, but his agent denied the Fire had made an offer, but said one MLS team had. Movsisyan's MLS rights though are still held by Salt Lake, and any team interested in bringing him in would need to go through them.

Active without a club or unknown
Vicente Arze
Federico Bessone
Bobby Convey
Toni Dovale
Christian Duke
Mechack Jerome
Peterson Joseph
Michael Kafari
Neal Kitson
Igor Kostrov
Rauwshan McKenzie
Michal Mravec
Victor Munoz
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestly
Ivan Trujillo
Konrad Warzycha

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

Stefan Antonijevic - Tampa Bay - Offseason.
Alex Martinez - Carolina - Offseason.

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

Jamar Beasley - Ontario - No game this week.
Adnan Gabeljic - St. Louis - Played in St. Louis' 11-5 win over Tulsa. Scored two goals in St. Louis' 9-8 OT loss to Wichita.
Josh Gardner - Missouri - Had a goal in Missouri's 14-8 win over Saltillo. Played in Missouri's 8-7 OT win over Monterrey.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Scored a goal in Baltimore's 15-7 win over Rochester.
Mike Jones - Dallas - Played in Dallas' 9-5 win over Brownsville. Scored a goal in Dallas' 7-6 win over Brownsville.
Boris Pardo - Wichita - Played in Wichita's 9-8 OT win over St. Louis. Played in Wichita's 12-4 loss to Milwaukee.

Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - No game until 2/22.
Scott Angevine - Vasa - Finland - Offseason.
Claudio Bieler - Quilmes - Argentina - No game until 2/14
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Did not play in Chivas' 2-2 draw with Dorados. Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Chivas' 1-1 draw with Universidad Guadalajara.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - No game this week.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Came off the bench and played 62 minutes in Bengaluru's 3-1 loss to Pune.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Argentina - No game until January 31.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Started and played 90 minutes in Ha Noi's 1-1 draw with Da Nang. Started and played 90 minutes in Ha Noi's 2-1 loss to Thanh Hoa.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Offseason.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla - Mexico - Dressed but did not play in Puebla's 0-0 draw with America. Started and played 90 minutes in Puebla's 1-1 draw with Atlante.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Banned
Jeferson - Boavista - Brazil - No game until 1/31
Will John - Maghreb Fes - Morocco - Lost 2-1 to Ittihad Khemisset
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Offseason.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - No game until 2/8.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - No game until 3/6.
Lawrence Olum - Kedah FA - Malaysia - No game until 2/28.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Offseason.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - Started and played 90 minutes in Sporting's 3-2 loss to Belenenses. Dressed but did not play in Sporting's 1-0 win over Academica.
Soony Saad - BEC Tero Sasana FC - Thailand - Offseason.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Did not dress in either of Blackburn's games.
Martin Steuble - Ceres-La Salle - Philippines - Recently signed for the club.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - On break until February.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - No game until 2/28.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ellis Re-Signed, Carrasco Signed

As expected (considering Ellis' Tweet and both players' appearances in the preseason video) Sporting KC has re-signed homegrown defender Kevin Ellis and signed midfielder Servando Carrasco. The pair of four year veterans bring KC's total number of players under contract to 25 as the team has kicked off preseason in Arizona.

Ellis enjoyed a break out season in 2014 becoming one of KC's more reliable defenders after injuries and international call ups decimated the back line over the course of the season. Ellis appeared in 20 games in league play last year for KC, starting 16 of them.

Carrasco came to Kansas City on draft day, when Sporting traded their second round pick, the 30th overall to the Houston Dynamo for Carrasco's rights. The defensive midfielder was out of contract so Kansas City had to come to an agreement on a new deal with him. He'd spent the last year and a half in Houston after starting his career in Seattle with the Sounders.

Speaking of preseason starting, KC currently has four players in camp on trial as well. Christian Duke, who was waived at the end of the 2014 season but was invited back to camp as a non-rostered invitee. The team also invited Sporting KC U16 academy player, Felipe Hernandez, and two goalkeepers, former Real Salt Lake academy goalkeeper, Matt Bersano and St. Louis Ambush player, Kevin Corby, who went to school at UMKC.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Top Goal Scorers in All Competitions

 Another statistical update, the list of top 20 goal scorers in all competitions. First here's the list as it's gone through the years.

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 - 2013

1. Preki - 81 (71 league, 8 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

2. Davy Arnaud - 52 (43 league, 4 playoff, 5 open cup) (-)

3. Josh Wolff - 46 (43 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup) (-)

4. Chris Klein - 43 (39 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

5. Kei Kamara - 41 (38 league 3 open cup) (-)

6. Mo Johnston - 32 (31 league, 1 playoff) (-)

7. Vitalis "Digital" Takawira - 31 (28 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

8. Scott Sealy - 30 (28 league, 2 open cup) (-)

9. Dom Dwyer - 28 (24 league, 2 playoff, 2 international) (N/A) - Once again, Dwyer's big season sees him jump all the way into the top 10. 22 league goals combined with a goal in the playoffs and in the CONCACAF Champions League see him land here.

10. CJ Sapong - 27 (20 league, 2 playoff, 5 open cup) (-1)

11T. Teal Bunbury - 24 (19 league, 2 playoff, 3 open cup) (-1)

11T. Graham Zusi - 24 (22 league, 2 open cup) (+3)

13T. Mark Chung - 21 (20 league, 1 playoff) (-2)

13T. Chris Brown - 21 (15 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup, 4 international) (-2)

15. Igor Simutenkov - 20 (12 league, 3 playoff, 5 open cup) (-2)

16. Matt McKeon - 18 (13 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

17T. Miklos Molnar - 17 (12 league, 5 playoff) (-1)

17T. Eddie Johnson - 17 (17 league) (-1)

17T. Jimmy Conrad - 17 (17 league) (-1)

20T. Claudio Bieler - 16 (12 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup, 2 international) (N/A) - While Bieler didn't make it on the league list, he does land in 20th on this list. He also become one of only six players to score in league, playoff, open cup, and international games for KC.

20T. Aurelien Collin - 16 (11 league, 4 playoff, 1 open cup) (N/A) - The big Frenchman was a consistent target on set pieces during his time in KC. He ended his time in KC as the second leading scorer in all competitions for a defender behind Jimmy Conrad.

As with the list for league goals, I struggle to see a new addition to the list in 2015, unless someone has a big breakout season.

Benny Feilhaber - 8
Jacob Peterson - 8
Chance Myers - 4
Ike Opara - 4
Paulo Nagamura - 4
Roger Espinoza - 2
Matt Besler - 2
Seth Sinovic - 2
Kevin Ellis - 1

Top League Scorers Through 2014

Another stat update for you.  Here is the top goal scorers for Sporting KC throughout their history.  See the links below for previous years.

1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012  - 2013

1. Preki - 71 (-)

2T. Josh Wolff - 43 (-)

2T. Davy Arnaud - 43 (-)

4. Chris Klein - 39 (-)

5. Kei Kamara  - 38 (-)

6. Mo Johnston - 31 (-)

7T. Digital Takawira - 28 (-)

7T. Scott Sealy - 28 (-)

9. Dom Dwyer - 24 (N/A) - Dwyer setting the club's single season scoring record with 22 goals in the 2014 season sees him not just jump on the list, but jump all the way into the top 10. Another season like that would see him move to second all time. But a top 5 spot should be reachable for the Englishman.

10. Graham Zusi - 22 (+2)

11T. Mark Chung - 20 (-2)

11T. CJ Sapong - 20 (-)

13. Teal Bunbury - 19 (-3)

14T. Eddie Johnson - 17 (-2)

14T. Jimmy Conrad - 17 (-2)

16. Chris Brown - 15 (-1)

17. Jack Jewsbury - 14 (-1)

18T. Matt McKeon - 13 (-1)

18T. Jose Burciaga Jr. - 13 (-1)

18T. Sasha Victorine - 13 (-1)

18T. Claudio Lopez - 13 (-1)

Claudio Bieler in his departure last week just misses out on joining the list, finishing his KC career with 12 goals, one short of joining the list. As for who could join the list this year, baring a breakout season from someone, I don't see any player currently not on this list joining it in 2015.

Here are the remaining players on the roster who have scored goals for KC.

Benny Feilhaber - 7
Jacob Peterson - 6
Ike Opara - 3
Paulo Nagamura - 3
Roger Espinoza - 2
Matt Besler - 2
Chance Myers - 2

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Comets Remain Undefeated, Clinch Central

In one of their tightest games of the year, the Missouri Comets again found a way to come out on top again, topping the Monterrey Flash 8-7 in overtime to move to 15-0 on the season and clinch the Central Division.

The Comets spent much of the night playing catch up, having to play from behind. Just over two minutes into the game, Angel Hernandez scored to put Monterrey on top. A minute and a half later though the Comets were level as Vahid Assadpour scored to level the scores at 1-1. Late in the quarter the Comets were able to take the lead as Alain Matingou scored to give the Comets a 2-1 lead with just over four minutes left in the quarter.

The lead quickly evaporated in the second quarter as Erick Tovar scored less than a minute in to tie the game at 2-2. Tovar dominated the quarter, scoring twice more to give the Flash a 4-2 lead. With less than 30 seconds left in the quarter, Assadpour scored his second goal of the game to cut the Flash lead to 4-3 as the two teams headed into half time.

The third quarter was a lot tighter from both teams as each team worked to tighten things up. Just over half way into the third quarter, Tovar scored his fourth goal of the game to make the score 5-3 Monterrey. The Comets though immediately struck back as Max Touloute finished off a pass from Andre Braithwaite to make it 5-4 as the two teams headed into the fourth quarter.

The fourth saw the both teams open up offensively in a back and forth battle. Each time the Comets looked like they were back in the game, Monterrey would jump back on top. Less than a minute and a half in, Braithwaite scored off an assist from Stefan Stokic to tie the game at 5-5. Less than 10 seconds later though Yotsi Martinez scored to put the Flash back on top. The Comets though again struck back, with just under eight minutes to play as Assadpour finished off his hattrick to tie the game at 6-6. Late in the quarter, with less than two and a half minutes left, it looked like the Flash had found a winner as Lourenco Andrade scored to put the Flash back on top at 7-6. The Comets went with the sixth attacker looking to find a late equalizer. With all the pressure, the Comets were finally able to break through with just 17 seconds left in the game. Assadpour set up the play receiving the ball out wide, cutting around his defender and firing a ball across the box. The ball made it to the back post to Ramone Palmer who was able to take a touch and poke the ball into the near post to tie the game at 7-7 and send the game to overtime.

Just 25 seconds into overtime though the Comets found themselves on the power play after Touloute was booked for kicking a player. The short handed situation didn't hurt the Comets though as they won a free kick in the Monterrey third just a minute in. Brian Harris played the ball back to midfield where it was then chipped back into the Monterrey end for Braithwaite. The Comets defender headed the ball across the field towards go to Robert Palmer. Palmer beat his man to the ball with a sliding challenge and knocked the ball into the net to give the Comets the 8-7 win in OT.

The team now returns home to take on the Chicago Mustangs on Friday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ellis Re-Signed?

Only a few days ago, it sounded like Sporting KC's second home grown player, Kevin Ellis was not going to be returning to Sporting KC in 2015. Sporting and the defender had not come to an agreement on a new contract with the club. And outside of that, Sporting looked like there were ready to move on, drafting three outside backs in the 2015 MLS Superdraft.

That all looks like it has changed with a single Tweet tonight from Ellis. Ellis Tweeted out "It all starts tomorrow !! @KCCauldron Can't wait to hear and see you guys in March !! #IloveKC."

It's not hard to guess that this means that Ellis will be returning to KC in 2015. Ellis also appeared in the team's preseason video that the club posted earlier today on their website. No official word from the club yet on his re-signing though.

2015 was a breakout season for Ellis who played every single position along Kansas City's back line due to injuries and call ups throughout the season. Originally mainly a back up, Ellis' main contribution last year was at center back where he partnered with basically every other healthy center back on the roster. From Matt Besler to Erik Palmer-Brown. His contribution was quite underrated by most fans last year, but Ellis came through and was a huge help to Kansas City throughout the season. His return will certainly help Kansas City in the 2015 season.

Comets Clinch Playoff Berth

The Missouri Comets clinched a playoff berth in the MASL playoffs last night with a 14-8 win over Saltillo Rancho Seco in Mexico. The game was the first of two this weekend in Mexico for the Comets as they look to clinch not only a playoff berth but the Central division title.

Unfortunately for Comets fans there was no stream of the game last night as Saltillo did not stream it through the MASL's Go Live Sports partner. According to the report, the Comets jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first five minutes with Leo Gibson scoring four of them and Robert Palmer getting the fifth. Near the midpoint of the quarter Max Touloute made it 6-0. Iran Rodriguez scored to make it 6-1 before Vahid Assadpour made it 7-1 with seconds left in the first.

The second quarter saw the opposite start of the first, Santillo scored three goals before the half way point of the half as Jesus Nava, Victor Baez, and Aaron Chavez all found the back of the net to make it 7-4. The Comets though ended the quarter on a high as Alain Matingou and Andre Braithwaite both scored to put the Comets lead at five heading into the half time break.

The third quarter stared exactly like the second with Santillo again scoring three quick goals from Rafael Medrano, Miguel Cedillo, and Jonathan Gutierrez to cut the Comets lead to just two at 9-7. The Comets though struck back again answering with three of their own over the final nine minutes of the quarter to restore their five goal lead as Bryan Perez, Assadpour, and John Sosa added to their goal tallies to end the quarter with the Comets ahead 12-7.

For a third straight quarter, Santillo scored again early with Manuel Valentin making it 12-8. The Comets though were able to kill the game off down the stretch and even added to their lead. First Josh Gardner scored on the power play to make it 13-8 Comets and then late on Gibson got his fifth goal of the game as the Comets were able to cruise to a 14-8 win.

One thing of note is that while the stats show that Danny Waltman played the entire game for the Comets in goal, that appears to be inaccurate and in fact, Waltman only played the first quarter, and Brian Harris was in goal for the final three quarters.

The Comets will take on the Monterrey Flash tomorrow in a match up of two teams with a combined one loss.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Single Season Minutes Played

Another updated stat, this time it's single season minutes played for Kansas City. In league play, no new players joined the top 10 for minutes played, the closest was Seth Sinovic who played 2,755 in league play this past season.

1.  Jimmy Nielsen - 2012 - 3060
Jimmy Nielsen - 2013 - 3060
3. Nick Garcia - 2000 - 2916
Peter Vermes - 2000 - 2916
5. Preki - 1996 - 2880
Bo Oshoniyi - 2005 - 2880
Matt Besler - 2011 - 2880
8. Mark Chung - 1997 - 2871
Kei Kamara - 2012 - 2871
10. Mark Chung - 1996 - 2847

In all competitions, the same held true with no players coming into the top 10 for minutes played. Once again, Seth Sinovic was the closest with 3,475 minutes played. That combined with his total from the 2013 season and Sinovic has played 7,208 minutes for KC over the last two years. That's the most in a two year span for any player in KC's history.

1. Seth Sinovic - 2013 - 3733
2. Nick Garcia - 2000 - 3695
Peter Vermes - 2000 - 3695
4. Jimmy Nielsen - 2012 - 3630
5. Kerry Zavagnin - 2002 - 3606
6. Jimmy Nielsen - 2013 - 3570
7. Oriol Rosell - 2013 - 3553
8. Nick Garcia - 2002 - 3531
9. Aurelien Collin - 2013 - 3525
10. Kerry Zavagnin - 2000 - 3522

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gabeljic Makes Debut in KC - Former SKC Wizards Update

It took about a year longer than expected and probably not in the manner that he was expecting, but KC's second round draft pick, Adnan Gabeljic played his first game as a professional in Kansas City. It wasn't for Sporting KC, or any other MLS or outdoor team. Gablejic came to KC as a member of the MASL's St. Louis Ambush. Gabeljic scored a goal for the Ambush in a 7-5 loss to the Missouri Comets.

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

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

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

Stefan Antonijevic - Tampa Bay - Offseason.
Alex Martinez - Carolina - Offseason.

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

Jamar Beasley - Ontario - Had three goals and an assist in Onario's 10-6 win over Turlock. Play in Ontario's 6-5 win over Las Vegas.
Adnan Gabeljic - St. Louis - Scored a goal in St. Louis 7-5 loss to Missouri. Scored two goals in St. Louis' 14-9 loss to Wichita.
Josh Gardner - Missouri - Had an assist in Missouri's 7-5 win over St. Louis.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Had an assist in Baltimore's 5-3 win over Milwaukee.
Boris Pardo - Wichita - Played in Wichita's 14-9 win over St. Louis.

Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - No game until 2/22.
Scott Angevine - Vasa - Finland - Offseason.
Claudio Bieler - Quilmes - Argentina - No game until 2/14
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 2-1 win over Pumas.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - No game this week.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Started and played 90 minutes in Bengaluru's 0-0 draw wtih Dempo.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Argentina - No game until January 31.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Did not dress in Ha Noi's 4-4 draw with Quang Nam.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Offseason.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 45 minutes and scored a goal in Puebla's 3-1 loss to Veracruz. Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Puebla's 2-0 Copa MX win over Atlante.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Banned
Jeferson - América RN - Brazil - No game until January 25th.
Will John - Maghreb Fes - Morocco - No game this week.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Offseason.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - No game until 2/8.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - No game until 3/6.
Lawrence Olum - Kedah FA - Malaysia - No game until 2/28.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Offseason.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - Did not dress in Sporting's 4-2 win over Rio Ave.
Soony Saad - BEC Tero Sasana FC - Thailand - Offseason.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Did not dress in Blackburn's 1-1 draw with Wigan.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - On break until February.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - No game until 2/28.

Mexico vs Paraguay Friendly Confirmed for Arrowhead

The friendly between Mexico and Paraguay to be played in Kansas City has been confirmed today by the Mexican Federation. The game will take place on Tuesday, March 31st with an 8pm Central Time kick off at Arrowhead. The game will be the second of two friendlies that Mexico is playing in the United States during that international break. The first is three days earlier in Los Angeles against Ecuador.

This will be the first standalone international match between two countries that are not the United States to take place in Kansas City. The other international matches not involving the US have been coupled with the Gold Cup or with Olympic qualifying. It's also the first time that the full Mexican national team will play in Kansas City.

From my personal experience, fans from all over the Midwest will travel to Kansas City for this game. It being a mid-week game will cut down some on the traveling crowd, but it should still be a decently sized crowd for the game. Back in 2009, Arrowhead hosted a friendly between Club America and Chivas Guadalajara that game drew over 26,000 people on a Wednesday night.

The attendance for that friendly is probably one of the main reasons why that this game is going to be held at Arrowhead and not across town at the city's Soccer Specific Stadium, Sporting Park. With a seating capacity of just 18,467, putting the game at the larger stadium makes sense for all parties involved. I'd expect at least north of 30,000 for this game, possibly more if it is promoted well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sporting Park to Host K-State Spring Football Game?

It started out as just a rumor on Twitter, that with the construction on going at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas State University was looking to move their spring football game to Sporting Park. The KC Star was able to get confirmation that the school has "reached out to Sporting KC and have had preliminary discussions about bringing the spring game to Kansas City tentatively on the afternoon of April 25."

There aren't many other facilities in the state that could host a large number of K-State fans for a football game. Playing their spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium on KU's campus seems laughable and any high school stadium just won't have the capacity that K-State would likely want/need for the game. So if they want to stay in the state they're quite limited.

Sporting is in Houston on April 25th to take on the Dynamo, but return home the following weekend, and play a nationally televised game on ESPN 2 on Sunday May 3rd against Chicago. Would a week be enough time to recover from a football game hosted there? Would soccer fans tuning in see football lines still on the field (an annoyance to most soccer fans).

Sporting Park has already hosted one football game as the NCAA Division II championship was held at Sporting Park last December (and will be for the next three years as well), the difference this time is that the game would take place in the middle of the season.

Would this be a good move? I'm not really sure it is. Since Sporting Park opened in 2011 there's been one turf related issue after another. From a dry summer, to overuse, to a fungus caused problems. Last year for the first couple home games the turf looked horrible and was eventually replaced with a new grass surface. Once that surface settled it did well, but there are still plenty of questions based on the history the stadium has had with it's surface.

One point I will make regarding this is the argument that a SSS shouldn't be hosting football games. A soccer specific stadium does not mean a soccer only stadium. I understand the want and need to fill stadium dates with things like concerts and football, I just don't like the idea of doing it so early in the season in a stadium that has a history of playing surface issues.

FCKC Home Opener to be at Sporting Park

FC Kansas City and Sporting KC announced today that the Blues' home opener will in fact be played at Sporting Park. The plan since the two clubs formed their partnership had been to have the home opener at Sporting Park to start the Blues' 2014 season as they look to defend their NWSL title. With the Blues at home the first weekend of the season against Sky Blue FC the question was all about the date.
Sporting KC is set to play Real Salt Lake at home on Saturday April 11th, and with that game and easy sell out for Sporting there was no reason to do a double header and double up on games when SKC sells out without an extra game. So the best option for the Blues was to play the day after. So FCKC will kick off their season on Sunday afternoon at 3pm against Sky Blue FC at Sporting Park.
It should be a good opportunity for the women to play in the stadium and its amenities. No offense to their prior stadiums, but it will also give a more professional feel for the game as well. Hopefully they can pull in a good crowd.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Single Season Appearances and Starts

One more stat for you tonight, most appearances and starts in a single season.

For the first time since 2010, Sporting didn't have a player play in all 34 league games. The closest anyone came was Dom Dwyer, who appeared in 33 games, missing one game due to yellow card accumulation.

CJ Sapong - 2011 - 34
Jimmy Nielsen - 2012 - 34
Jimmy Nielsen - 2013 - 34
Kei Kamara - 2012 - 33
Dom Dwyer - 2014 - 33
Preki - 1996 - 32
Mark Chung - 1996 - 32
Mark Chung - 1997 - 32
Nick Garcia - 2000 - 32
Peter Vermes - 2000 - 32
Bo Oshoniyi - 2005 - 32
Davy Arnaud - 2006 - 32
Matt Besler - 2011 - 32
Graham Zusi - 2011 - 32
Graham Zusi - 2012 - 32
Seth Sinovic - 2013 - 32

In all competitions Sporting played 43 games this year, falling two short of the record KC set in the 2013 season. Dwyer missed just two of those 43 games to finish just shy of the club record for appearances in a season set last year by Oriol Rosell and Seth Sinovic. Speaking of Sinovic, he played 39 of KC's 43 games to earn himself a place on the list this year as well.

Oriol Rosell - 2013 - 42
Seth Sinovic - 2013 - 42
Dom Dwyer - 2014 - 41
Nick Garcia - 2000 - 40
Peter Vermes - 2000 - 40
Chris Brown - 2002 - 40
CJ Sapong - 2011 - 40
Jimmy Nielsen - 2012 - 40
Kerry Zavagnin - 2000 - 39
Preki - 2000 - 39
Chris Henderson - 2000 - 39
Kerry Zavagnin - 2002 - 39
Matt Besler - 2011 - 39
Graham Zusi - 2012 - 39
Jimmy Nielsen - 2013 - 39
Aurelien Collin - 2013 - 39
Seth Sinovic - 2014 - 39

When it comes to league starts, both Sinovic and Dwyer tied for the most this year for KC, both joined the list at the very end, starting 31 of Sporting's 34 league games.

Jimmy Nielsen - 2012 - 34
Jimmy Nielsen - 2013 - 34
Preki - 1996 - 32
Mark Chung - 1996 - 32
Mark Chung - 1997 - 32
Nick Garcia - 2000 - 32
Peter Vermes - 2000 - 32
Bo Oshoniyi - 2005 - 32
Matt Besler - 2011 - 32
Kei Kamara - 2012 - 32
Sean Bowers - 1996 - 31
Kerry Zavagnin - 2000 - 31
Tony Meola - 2000 - 31
Brandon Prideaux - 2000 - 31
Chris Klein - 2005 - 31
Jose Burciaga Jr - 2005 - 31
Jimmy Nielsen - 2011 - 31
Graham Zusi - 2012 - 31
Oriol Rosell - 2013 - 31
Seth Sinovic - 2013 - 31
Seth Sinovic - 2014 - 31
Dom Dwyer - 2014 - 31

In all competitions, only Sinovic got his name onto the list from this past season. He started all 39 of the games he appeared in for Kansas City this season. The next closest was Benny Feilhaber who started 36 games for KC.

Oriol Rosell - 2013 - 41
Seth Sinovic - 2013 - 41
Nick Garcia - 2000 - 40
Peter Vermes - 2000 - 40
Jimmy Nielsen - 2012 - 40
Kerry Zavagnin - 2000 - 39
Kerry Zavagnin - 2002 - 39
Jimmy Nielsen - 2013 - 39
Aurelien Collin - 2013 - 39
Seth Sinovic - 2014 - 39
Preki - 1996 - 38
Mark Chung - 1996 - 38
Tony Meola - 2000 - 38
Brandon Prideaux - 2000 - 38
Nick Garcia - 2002 - 38
Davy Arnaud - 2004 - 38
Matt Besler - 2011 - 38

Most Starts for Sporting KC

Another stat, this time it's the most starts for Sporting KC. In league play this year, three players made their 100th start for KC. Graham Zusi, Seth Sinovic, and Aurelien Collin all hit the mark. Assuming his recovery goes well, Chance Myers should hit the mark, as should the reacquired Roger Espinoza early in the 2015 season. Meanwhile, Matt Besler should become the seventh player to start 150 league games for KC.

Kerry Zavagnin - 228
Nick Garcia - 224
Davy Arnaud - 213
Jimmy Conrad - 203
Preki - 199
Chris Klein - 183
Matt Besler - 145
Mo Johnston - 142
Jack Jewsbury - 142
Josh Wolff - 128
Michael Harrington - 128
Jimmy Nielsen - 128
Matt McKeon - 126
Tony Meola - 125
Graham Zusi - 115
Seth Sinovic - 112
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 110
Diego Gutierrez - 108
Uche Okafor - 107
Sean Bowers - 104
Aurelien Collin - 103
Chance Myers - 98
Paulo Nagamura - 57
Benny Feilhaber - 52
Dom Dwyer - 38
Jacob Peterson - 32
Ike Opara - 17
Kevin Ellis - 17
Mikey Lopez - 5
Jorge Claros - 3
Jon Kempin - 3
Erik Palmer-Brown - 2
Jimmy Medranda - 1

In all competitions, only one player joined the list in 2014, Aurelien Collin, who was just short of the list last year. Assuming he's healthy, Matt Besler could easily hit 200 starts in all competitions for KC. Meanwhile, both Paulo Nagamura (72) and Benny Feilhaber (67) have a chance to join the list in the 2015 season for Kansas City.

Kerry Zavagnin - 281
Nick Garcia - 272
Davy Arnaud - 234
Preki - 229
Jimmy Conrad - 228
Chris Klein - 216
Matt Besler - 174
Jack Jewsbury - 162
Matt McKeon - 159
Mo Johnston - 157
Tony Meola - 156
Josh Wolff - 144
Michael Harrington - 143
Jimmy Nielsen - 142
Graham Zusi - 141
Seth Sinovic - 141
Diego Gutierrez - 135
Aurelien Collin - 129
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 123
Chance Myers - 119
Uche Okafor - 116
Sean Bowers - 113
Kei Kamara - 108
Roger Espinoza - 106
Bo Oshoniyi - 105
Mark Chung - 103
Sasha Victorine - 102
Kevin Hartman - 100
Paulo Nagamura - 72
Benny Feilhaber - 67
Dom Dwyer - 47
Jacob Peterson - 44
Kevin Ellis - 25
Ike Opara - 24
Jorge Claros - 8
Mikey Lopez - 6
Jon Kempin - 5
Erik Palmer-Brown - 5
Jimmy Medranda - 1

Bieler's Departure From Kansas City Official

Sporting KC officially today announced that Claudio Bieler would not be back with the club in 2015. The team announced today that they had come to a mutual agreement with Bieler to terminate his contract. The move allows Bieler to officially join Quilmes in Argentina, who Bieler had signed a contract with yesterday.

This is actually the third time this offseason that the mutual termination of a contract has led to a player leaving or coming to Kansas City. Earlier in the offseason, the club and midfielder, Lawrence Olum mutually terminated his deal so he could go play in Malaysia. Then earlier this month, Wigan Athletic agreed with Roger Espinoza to mutually terminate his contract on the Honduran could return to Kansas City.

Plenty of arguments will take place over the next few weeks and months regarding where things went wrong and whether Bieler was a bust for Kansas City. I think Bieler showed early in the 2013 season that he could be a successful forward in MLS, he'd scored nine goals by mid-July and looked to be a nice addition to the team. But shortly before his goal in mid-July, the team brought Kei Kamara back from his loan to Norwich. Kamara's return really seemed to coincide with the decline of Bieler's form. After Kamara left again, this time permanently for Middlesbrough, Dom Dwyer was back from his loan spell with Orlando City and over the course of the rest of the season established himself in Sporting's lineup. Bieler still played an important role for KC, scoring the series winner against the New England Revolution in extra time and scoring the first PK in the shootout against Real Salt Lake on the way to MLS Cup.

In the 2014 season though Bieler's time fell even further with Dwyer on his way to a record setting goal scoring year. Bieler was limited to just four starts and only scored two goals in league play for KC. Bieler finished his career with 12 league goals for KC, adding another goal in the playoffs, and US Open Cup, and two in the CONCACAF Champions League, making him one of only a handful of players to score in all four competitions for Kansas City.

Sporting KC Add Two More in Draft

Sporting KC closed out the 2015 MLS Superdraft today with two picks in the third and fourth round of the draft via conference call. In recent history the third and the fourth round hasn't brought a whole lot of sustainable talent to MLS, but it has brought some depth, and occasionally there is the break out talent that turns up.
With their third round pick, the 53rd overall, Sporting KC selected midfielder/forward, James Rogers from the University of New Mexico. The 21 year old had spent time in both the Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids academies and also represented the US at the U20 level. Rogers will likely play out wide in one of the wing positions should he end up making the team.
In the fourth round, 73rd overall, Sporting again looked to address defense, taking Tony Rocha from the University of Tulsa. Rocha was a four year starter at Tulsa and helped Tulsa qualify for the NCAA tournament in 2012 and 2014. Rocha will be added to a large group of incoming outside backs it appears. But with Kevin Ellis' return not sounding extremely likely, and Igor Juliao's future still a bit up in the air, there's spots to be won backing up starters Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic.
Sporting's academy also was involved in the draft today as well as two academy graduates were taken in the draft's fourth round. Philadelphia drafted their second academy graduate in as many years when they took University of St. Louis midfielder, Raymond Lee with the 71st pick. Philadelphia apparently want to try to convert Lee to an outside back. Then with the 83rd pick, the Colorado Rapids selected Butler defender Brandon Fricke.

Most Appearances for Sporting KC

Some more stats for you this offseason. Now I'm going to update the list of appearances for the club. This year Sporting had three players, Seth Sinovic, CJ Sapong, and Aurelien Collin, hit the century mark for appearances in league play. Additions to this list in 2015 are looking quite slim with Paulo Nagamura needing 33 appearances to hit 100 being the only player on the roster within touching distance this year. Also this year, Matt Besler became just the eighth player to play 150 league games for Kansas City in their history.

Here's the updated list.

Davy Arnaud - 240
Kerry Zavagnin - 237
Nick Garcia - 224
Preki - 218
Jimmy Conrad - 204
Chris Klein - 200
Jack Jewsbury - 195
Matt Besler - 150
Mo Johnston - 149
Michael Harrington - 149
Graham Zusi - 148
Josh Wolff - 144
Matt McKeon - 144
Jimmy Nielsen - 128
Tony Meola - 125
Chris Brown - 123
Chance Myers - 123
Diego Gutierrez - 119
Uche Okafor - 119
Jose Burciaga - 115
Francisco Gomez - 114
Roger Espinoza - 113
Kei Kamara - 113
Seth Sinovic - 113
Sean Bowers - 111
CJ Sapong - 110
Aurelien Collin - 107
Sasha Victorine - 106
Digital Takawira - 103
Paulo Nagamura - 67
Jacob Peterson - 65
Benny Feilhaber - 58
Dom Dwyer - 50
Kevin Ellis - 21
Ike Opara - 21
Mikey Lopez - 8
Jorge Claros - 7
Jimmy Medranda - 6
Jon Kempin - 4
Erik Palmer-Brown - 3

This year in all competitions, no one hit the 100 appearance mark for Kansas City. Graham Zusi did become the 15th player to play 150 games in all competitions for KC though. Coming in 2015 though three more players could reach the century mark as Nagamura (80), Jacob Peterson (80), Benny Feilhaber (74), and Dom Dwyer (69) are well within striking distance of the mark this season. While Besler and Zusi can become the ninth and tenth players to hit 200 appearances in all competitions for KC this season.

Here's the list.

Kerry Zavagnin - 291
Davy Arnaud - 273
Nick Garcia - 273
Preki - 254
Chris Klein - 235
Jimmy Conrad - 230
Jack Jewsbury - 218
Matt McKeon - 183
Matt Besler - 181
Graham Zusi - 176
Michael Harrington - 170
Mo Johnston - 169
Josh Wolff - 165
Tony Meola - 156
Chris Brown - 150
Diego Gutierrez - 147
Chance Myers - 145
Seth Sinovic - 142
CJ Sapong - 142
Jimmy Nielsen - 142
Francisco Gomez - 141
Aurelien Collin - 133
Jose Burciaga - 130
Uche Okafor - 130
Roger Espinoza - 130
Kei Kamara - 126
Sean Bowers - 120
Sasha Victorine - 114
Digital Takawira - 111
Bo Oshoniyi - 110
Teal Bunbury - 105
Mark Chung - 104
Shavar Thomas - 101
Kevin Hartman - 100
Jacob Peterson - 80
Paulo Nagamura - 80
Benny Feilhaber - 74
Dom Dwyer - 69
Kevin Ellis - 31
Ike Opara - 30
Jorge Claros - 12
Mikey Lopez - 9
Jimmy Medranda - 7
Erik Palmer-Brown - 6
Jon Kempin - 6

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bieler Signs with Quilmes

Claudio Bieler did in fact sign to play for Quilmes AC in Argentina this afternoon, as was mentioned this morning. He's set to begin training with the club tomorrow. The club has even acknowledged at the end of an article on the club's website about today's training that Bieler was signing with the club. But unlike fellow signing Mariano Uglessich, there was no release and there were no photographs of Bieler's contract signing.

The reason for that apparently has to do with Bieler's contract with Sporting and MLS. There's been no mention by Sporting or the league about Bieler being out of his contract, which is probably part of the reason that there can't be an "official" release.

With this news though the announcement of the termination of Bieler's contract with Sporting KC can't be far behind. And it's a bit bitter sweet in a way. Bieler was quite successful in his first season, scoring 10 in league play, and adding another in the Open Cup. His biggest goal though came in the 2013 playoffs against the New England Revolution that saw Sporting KC advance in extra time on their way to MLS Cup. This season though Bieler saw his time reduced drastically, he played just 421 minutes in MLS play, starting only four games and scoring just two goals as he found himself behind Dom Dwyer and his remarkable form in 2014. Bieler added two more goals this season in the Champions League, but for Designated Player money, the contribution needs to be higher.

Bieler Set to Sign for Quilmes this Afternoon

Reports out of Argentina today are stating that Sporting KC designated player, Claudio Bieler will be signing for Argentine Primera Division club,Quilmes today. Over the weekend, news came out of Argentina that Bieler had terminated his contract with Sporting KC and MLS and was headed to the club in the greater Buenos Aires area.

The reports are that the club will be announcing two signings at 6pm and 6:30pm local time (3pm and 3:30pm Central time). The first signing will be defender Mariano Uglessich while the 6:30 signing will be Claudio Bieler.

There's been no word from Sporting KC or MLS on Bieler's status, but it'd make sense for Sporting to get the Argentine off their books. Bieler played just over 400 minutes in league play last year, scoring just two goals, and takes up a designated player spot on the roster. With the emergence of Dom Dwyer as KC's go to center forward in Peter Vermes' 4-3-3 system, Bieler's time was going to be minimal.

This will give Bieler more of a chance to play, while opening up a DP slot for Kansas City to potentially use this season. It would also open over $300,000 in cap space for KC to use. One potential problem that it could cause is that this move combined with the trade of CJ Sapong leaves KC with Dwyer and Krisztian Nemeth as the only center forwards on the roster (and people are thinking Nemeth will end up being on the left wing).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Landmark Goals

Another stat for you, Sporting's landmark goals.  This year, Sporting hit two landmark goal marks, and not surprisingly, both were scored by Dom Dwyer. Back in May, Dwyer scored Sporting's 800th league goal in their 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire. Then on the road against Philadelphia late in the season, Dwyer scored the 400th competitive goal away from home for Kansas City.

This coming year, Sporting should score their 500th league goal at home and their 600th goal at home in all competitions. And the big one, their 1,000th goal in all competitions should come early in the 2015 season.

League play - currently 832 goals
1. Digital Takawira - 4/13/1996 - 71st - Colorado Rapids
100. Mark Chung - 7/19/1997 - 15th - DC United
200. Preki - 3/25/2000 - 63rd - Chicago Fire
300. Chris Klein - 7/13/2002 - 64th - New England Revolution
400. Josh Wolff - 4/2/2005 - 34th - Colorado Rapids
500. Eddie Johnson - 4/25/2007 - 5th - Toronto FC
600. Josh Wolff - 9/5/2009 - 91st+ - New England Revolution
700. Aurelien Collin - 3/25/2012 - 49th+ - FC Dallas
800. Dom Dwyer - 5/18/2014 - 68th - Chicago Fire

League play home - currently 493
1. Digital Takawira - 4/13/1996 - 71st - Colorado Rapids
100. Paul Wright - 9/5/1998 - 59th - San Jose Clash
200. Eric Quill - 5/3/2003 - 89th - Columbus Crew
300. Dave van den Bergh - 10/7/2006 - 50th - Chivas USA
400. Teal Bunbury - 8/3/2011 - 34th - Real Salt Lake

League play away - currently 340
1. Uche Okafor - 4/21/1996 - 16th - San Jose Clash
100. Roy Lassiter - 6/2/2001 - 52nd - Tampa Bay Mutiny
200. Davy Arnaud - 5/19/2007 - 58th - Colorado Rapids
300. Oriol Rosell - 3/2/2013 - 66th - Philadelphia Union

Competitive play - currently 994
1. Digital Takawira - 4/13/1996 - 71st - Colorado Rapids
100. Edmundo Rodriguez - 6/21/1997 - 87th - DC United
200. Preki - 7/31/1999 - 35th - San Jose Clash
300. Roy Lassister - 8/12/2001 - 90th - Colorado Rapids
400. Stephen Armstrong - 7/4/2003 - 90th - Colorado Rapids
500. own goal - 5/21/2005 - 62th - DC United
600. Jose Burciaga Jr. - 5/5/2007 - 90th - Columbus Crew
700. own goal - 6/24/2009 - 85th - New England Revolution
800. Kei Kamara - 8/21/2011 - 19th - DC United
900. Graham Zusi - 7/7/2013 - 8th - Chicago Fire

Competitive home - currently 590
1. Digital Takawira - 4/13/1996 - 71st - Colorado Rapids
100. Preki - 8/26/1998 - 21th - DC United
200. Preki - 5/4/2002 - 29th - LA Galaxy
300. Davy Arnaud - 6/25/2005 - 70th - Chivas USA
400. Herculez Gomez - 10/18/2008 - 93rd+ - San Jose
500. CJ Sapong - 6/17/2012 - 18th - Toronto

Competitive away - currently 401
 1. Uche Okafor - 4/21/1996 - 16th - San Jose Clash
100. Matt McKeon - 10/3/2000 - 29th - LA Galaxy
200. Josh Wolff - 5/14/2005 - 89th - Columbus Crew
300. Davy Arnaud - 8/28/2010 - 12th - LA Galaxy
400. Dom Dwyer - 10/18/2014 -  54th - Philadelphia Union

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bieler Set to Leave Kansas City? (UPDATED)

Over the past few days the rumors have started to pick up regarding Claudio Bieler and his departure from Sporting Kansas City. Some of the rumors have been again linking Bieler with a move to Barcelona SC in Ecuador. Bieler though has spent much of the last few days on Twitter engaging Barcelona fans and saying how the rumors are were not true.

Now comes word though that Bieler will in fact be leaving Kansas City and headed to Argentina to join up with Quilmes, in the Argentine Primera Division. An announcement could apparently come as early as Monday on the signing of the Sporting DP according to El Sol in Argentina.

The reports on Twitter are that Bieler's contract with Sporting will be terminated allowing the Argentine to leave Sporting and return to his home country.

Bieler started his Sporting career out well, scoring nine goals by mid-July in his debut season. But since 7/13/13, Bieler has scored just three league goals for Sporting in the last season and a half. Much of that has been due to a reduction in playing time as Dom Dwyer has really come onto the scene. Especially in 2014, where Bieler saw his minutes really tank as he started just four games and played just 421 league minutes.

In the end, Dwyer has just been a better fit for the system that Peter Vermes wants to play. Bieler isn't a bad striker, in fact he's one of the better pure finishers to wear Sporting's colors, but his style of play doesn't match up well with Vermes' high press, high pressure system that sees the forwards be extremely active in pressuring the opposing defense in the back. And with Vermes only playing one center forward, there isn't a lot of space for Bieler on the field.

This does open up a designated player spot for Vermes, Robb Heineman, and Sporting KC to utilize ahead of KC's primary transfer window opening up. Heineman has previously hinted at getting a pacy winger to come in and play opposite Graham Zusi on Sporting's font line. Whether that actually ends up happening, we'll wait and see. But honestly this is something that needed to happen. Sporting can't afford to have a designated player consistently sitting on the bench. The one thing that this does probably do, is that it forces KC to go back into the market for another forward. With all the moves that KC has made so far, they're left with Krisztian Nemeth as really the only center forward back up for Dwyer, and the talk is that he may end up as the team's left forward. So finding a forward that can back up Dwyer, or become the starter on the left wing, now becomes a priority for the team.


Last night, Aurelien Collin took to Twitter to congratulate Bieler on his apparent move. Bieler responded to him thanking him and thanking him for his help over the last two years.  You can't judge tone on Twitter, but this would certainly appear to confirm Bieler's departure from Sporting.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Comets Move Closer to Playoff Berth with Win Over St. Louis

Down four regular contributors, including two starters, the Comets were able to get the job done against their cross state rival, St. Louis and move one step closer to a playoff berth. In a close defensive match up, the Comets were able to shut down the league’s leading goal scorer, Gurdy Gurson as Missouri pulled out a 7-5 win over the Ambush.

Comets in the first half came out hard and pushed the game against the Ambush early on. Less than a minute in the Comets had themselves up 1-0 thanks to Vahid Assadpour. The ball was played ahead to Leo Gibson up the field in the corner. Gibson turned and squared the ball into the middle for Assadpour who beat Alan Hagerty to the ball and knocked it home to give Missouri a very early 1-0 lead. The Ambush had more of the ball early on, but the Comets did a good job of hitting the Ambush on the counter. Less than five minutes in, the Comets doubled their lead. Robert Palmer played the ball to Brian Harris as he ran into the corner. Harris fired a shot from a tight angle that beat Hagerty off the far post to make it 2-0 Comets. Less than 30 seconds later, the Comets made it three. After a good save by Stephen Paterson the Comets were able to clear their end and get the ball up field to Josh Gardner. The former Sporting player squared the ball into the middle for Andre Braithwaite who knocked the ball home to make it 3-0. Just before the half way point of the half, the Comets made it 4-0. After some good possession around the back, Paterson sprung Palmer with a good through ball. On a break Palmer squared the ball into the middle to Assadpour who then immediately played the ball down to the post for Gibson who knocked the all home to make it 4-0. The rest of the quarter saw the Comets dominate the run of play, limiting the Ambuh to just four shot. Unfortunately the Comets were wasteful with their chances and couldn’t extend their lead.

Not putting the Ambush to the sword in the first quarter came back to bite the Comets in the second quarter. Just 54 seconds in the Ambush were on the board. After a giveaway by Paterson, the ball found Jeff DiMaria who squared the ball to Chris Mattingly who beat Paterson to make it 4-1. The Ambush dominated possession in the quarter, keeping the Comets pinned in their end for much of it. The Comets found their breaks mainly on the counter but really didn’t test Hagerty that much. With just over four minutes left in the quarter, the Ambush made all the possession pay off as former Sporting KC draft pick Adnan Gabeljic dribbled the ball the length of the floor beating a couple Comets before firing a ball across the face of goal. Elvir Kafedzic couldn’t turn it in, but knocked the ball back across goal where Gabeljic was able to bundle the ball into the net to make it 4-2. The Comets gave some late pressure looking to add to their lead again but couldn’t find the net as the teams went into the half with the Comets up 4-2.

The third quarter saw a up and back quarter, but neither team really was able to create much in the way of chances as both teams’ defenses locked things down. The Comets though were able to find the net once in the quarter. Just over six minutes in, Alain Matingou won the ball in the Comets end and caught the Ambush on a shift change. Matingou dribbled the length of the floor before slotting a ball into the far corner to give Missouri the 5-2 lead. Both teams had possession as the quarter progressed, but only managed a combined nine shots between the two of them in the quarter.

The fourth quarter saw the Comets come out with high pressure looking to finish the game with another goal or two, but the Comets couldn’t find the net. Four and a half minutes in, the Ambush cut the lead back to two as Ross MacGregor fired home a shot off a Kory Dowell restart at the top of the arc to put the Ambush back within two.  The Comets kept the pressure on the Ambush though and with just under seven minutes left restored their three goal lead. The Comets had pinned he Ambush in their own end and had struggled to find shots though. The Ambush cleared the ball to midfield and stepped up, but the ball was held in by Palmer. The Jamaican immediately played it down the line to Assadpour who had space to turn, take a touch and fired a ball into the near post upper 90 to make it 6-3. The Comets tried to take the air out of the game, keeping possession and not letting the Ambush get the ball. With just over three minutes left though the Ambush won a free kick again at the top of the arc. After a time out, Blake Ordell made a run from the side, curling his run and firing a low shot into the corner past Paterson and into the net to make it 6-4. The Ambush put Hagerty back in goal as the Comets pushed the game again trying to reestablish their three goal lead, but couldn’t get a good chance on goal. When the Ambush won themselves possession they pulled Hagerty again for Mattingly as the sixth attacker. The Comets were able to break the pressure and pinned the Ambush in their own end with Mattingly still in goal. The Comets passed the ball around looking to kill the clock off and end the game. After a near giveaway, the Ambush started to push up field, but a deflection sent the ball to Gibson who had Assadpour with him right in front of Mattingly. Gibson unselfishly dished it off to Assadpour for his hattrick and make it 7-4 with under a minute left. The Ambush did get one final consolation with under 30 seconds left as Dowell fired from range to make it 7-5 as the Comets moved to 13-0 and should be able to clinch a playoff berth if St. Louis can top Wichita tomorrow night (I say should because I’m assuming head-to-head is the first tie breaker and a St. Louis win tomorrow combined with the Comets win tonight would mean St. Louis and Wichita can only tie the Comets record and the Comets hold a 2-0 series lead on both.)