Photo credit: Necessary Exposure
Sporting Kansas City's third round match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is now set. We knew the date: Tuesday, May 28. We knew the location: Sporting Park. And now we know the opponent: Des Moines Menace.
- TICKETS: Buy now at Ticketmaster.com or Sporting Park Box Offices
But how well do you know the opponent? Find out more below as Sporting Kansas City begins their defense of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship.
- The Menace were founded in 1994 and are currently competing in their 20th season this year.
- The team plays in the Premier Development League, the highest level of amateur soccer in the U.S.
- The Menace are one of four PDL teams remaining in the tournament, along with Sporting KC's pre-season hosts FC Tucson.
- Des Moines defeated the Madison 56ers 1-0 in the first round of the tournament before eliminating Minnesota United FC with a 1-0 victory last night.
- Des Moines are making their fourth straight appearance in the U.S. Open Cup in 2013.
- Sporting Kansas City and Des Moines have met on two previous occasions in the U.S. Open Cup. In 2005, Kansas City recorded a 6-1 victory in the Round of 16 before meeting again a year later with KC advancing with a 2-1 win in the Round of 32. Those two games mark the team's only competitive matches against an MLS team in club history.
- Tuesday's match at Sporting Park will be the Menace's first match in an MLS venue in club history.
- Des Moines is 10-7 all-time in the U.S. Open Cup, including a 6-5 mark against professional teams and a 4-3 record in road matches.
- Head coach Mike Jeffries is in his first season with the club. Jeffries is the former manager of FC Dallas (2001-2003) and won two Open Cup titles while an assistant with the Chicago Fire (1998, 2000). Prior to joining Des Moines, Jeffries was a scout for the U.S. Men's National Team under Bob Bradley. As a player, he was the 1993 NCAA Player of the Year at Duke and made three appearances for the U.S. Men's National Team.
- Speaking about the chance for Des Moines' amateur players to take on Sporting Kansas City's professionals, Jeffries told the Des Moines Register: “They’re young, and you have some games that mean a lot and provide opportunities to do things that are new and unique for them, and this is one of those games."
- Upon taking the job, Jeffries said: "Making a run in the Open Cup and trying to get to the third round or more where we get an opportunity to play teams at higher levels is going to be very important.”
- Defender Brandon Fricke serves as the Des Moines Menace captain and is a former member of the Sporting KC Academy, playing for the U18's as recently as 2010. He scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of the team's second-round win on Tuesday.
- Goalkeeper Scott Angevine has earned shutouts in each of the team's first two U.S. Open Cup matches. He was an MLS League Pool Goalkeeper in 2012 based with Sporting KC and he participated in Sporting KC's 2012 and 2013 pre-seasons. He is a Kansas City native (Blue Valley Northwest alum) and former member of the Kansas City Brass.
- Twenty-four of the 32 players announced on the Menace roster have NCAA Division I experience.
- Des Moines will play at the St. Louis Lions in PDL play at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 25 before coming to Kansas City for the Open Cup match-up.
The Sporting KC Show aired live from The Futbol Club Eatery and Tap last night with hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards once again behind the mics for the weekly show on Sports Radio 810 WHB. But it was Sporting KC goalkeeper and team captain Jimmy Nielsen that stole show with his guest appearance which drew more than 100 fans to the new business.
Listen to the podcast of last night's show on 810whb.com, which also featured an interview with Houston Dynamo captain Brad Davis ahead of Sunday's rematch at Sporting Park. A limited number of tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com and at the Sporting Park Box Offices.
Nielsen was also the subject of the Kansas City Star's live chat on Tuesday, taking questions from readers on a wide variety of subjects after the team's training. Fans can find the full transcript of that Q&A online at KansasCity.com. And, as always, fans can fire questions at him on Twitter at @PumaNielsen1.
Sporting KC has been one of the best defensive teams in MLS in recent seasons and Sunday's stats give an insight as to why.
The two central defenders, Matt Besler and Ike Opara, both had a higher percentage of duels won than any D.C. United field player. Opara won 9 of 11 of duels (81.8%) while Besler was successful in 10 of 13 (76.9%). Overall, Sporting KC won 60.9% of duels, second highest of the season.
The highest duels won percentage this season for Sporting KC was the first meeting between the two sides April 5th at Sporting Park (64.3%). Sporting KC has had at least 50% duels won in seven of 13 matches and averaging 52.2% per match.
The image to the right shows all of Besler and Opara's duels against D.C. United, who combined for 19 of 24 or a 79.2% success rate.
Sporting Kansas City captain Jimmy Nielsen will be hosting a book signing for his new book, Welcome to the Blue Heaven: Don’t Bet Against the Goalkeeper, on Sunday at Sporting Park following Sporting KC's match versus the Houston Dynamo at 2:30 p.m. CT. The signing will be held in the Shield Club approximately 30-45 minutes after the conclusion of the match and books will be available for purchase, priced at $24.95 each. Fans may purchase as many books as they would like, however, individuals will only be permitted to have one book signed by Nielsen at the signing.
Nielsen will be instructed not to sign other items at the event and will not be posing for pictures with fans in efforts to expedite the signing process and ensure that all in attendance receive an autograph. A Sporting KC staff photographer will be present at the signing to capture candids at the event. The photos will be accessible for download at www.sportingkc.com/blog. For more information regarding Welcome to the Blue Heaven: Don't Bet Against the Goalkeeper and additional book signing dates, please visit www.sportingkc.com/book-release.
Welcome to the Blue Heaven tells Nielsen's inspiring life story. Throughout the book, the Denmark native elaborates on a troubling gambling addiction that tested his family, as well as his soccer career which has taken him across the globe. Retirement appeared possible until, in a leap of faith, Nielsen accepted an offer from Sporting Kansas City -- a team he had never heard of -- in January of 2010. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Major League Soccer has announced that the 20th club in the league will be New York City FC. The club is a partnership between English Premier League side Manchester City and Major League Baseball's New York Yankees. The club will begin play in MLS in 2015 at an interim venue with plans to have its own stadium in New York.
For full coverage of New York City FC, check out MLSSoccer.com and the links below.
The Sporting KC Show will air live on Sports Radio 810 WHB from 7-8 p.m. CT on Tuesday night from the Futbol Club Eatery & Tap (12030 Blue Valley Pkwy, Overland Park, KS). Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen will be in attendance to meet fans at the new soccer establishment, which features several pieces of Sporting KC memorabilia and menu items that include Sinovic's Corned Beef Hash, Zusi's Turkey Club and The Besler Burger. Follow them on Twitter at @futbolclubkc and show them some love on Facebook.
Hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards will be taking calls (913-3-810-810) and tweets from supporters throughout the weekly radio show, bringing listeners all the latest discussion around the club as they prepare for the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at Sporting Park (limited number of tickets are still available online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices).
On Monday, Edwards joined Sports Night with TJ Carpenter to discuss the team's 1-1 draw at D.C. United and all things Major League Soccer. Hear the extended interview online at 810whb.com, beginning at the 21:45 mark.
Update: We were pretty nervous to see the Nation's response to this week's caption contest, because even we had trouble coming up with appropriate verbage for Ike Opara after the utter disappointment following his overruled goal. Luckily, Christopher Rohan help us out, Ike got robbed...
Ike Opara reacts in disbelief after a controversial offside call disallowed his goal in the 30th minute versus D.C. United on Sunday. The game resulted in a 1-1 draw, placing Sporting Kansas City in second place in the Eastern Conference. Opara’s devastation is apparent in his expression and there is no doubt we all shared his emotional turmoil after the referee indicated his decision.
So, this should be easy! Let us know what Ike and the rest of #SKCNation were thinking after the goal was called back for your chance to win an autographed 8x12 print of your favorite player. All entries must be submitted by 5:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Good luck!
Today, TopDrawerSoccer.com released their Top 150 rankings for boys players in the Class of 2017. Two of Sporting Kansas City Academy’s very own U14 players, Roman Knox and Patrick Wilkinson, earned their way into the Top 150. These teammates aren’t far apart on the list either, with Knox in the 144th spot and Wilkinson being ranked at No. 146.
This is the first ranking for the class of 2017 by TopDrawerSoccer.com. Along with the first Top 150 ranking, TDS will also announce the class of 2017’s first regional team lists throughout the week.
To rank the nation's Top 150 players for any class can be a complicated affair. TopDrawerSoccer.com explains the work that goes into each ranking. Click here to see all of the Top 150 rankings, and check back with TDS quarterly for updated rankings.
Go in-depth for Sporting Kansas City's 1-1 draw at D.C. United on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium with this match's Fast Facts.
- With the draw, Sporting Kansas City moves into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference behind only the New York Red Bulls.
- Sporting KC is now 6-4-3 in 2013 and 3-2-2 on the road.
- Sporting Kansas City is 218-210-112 all-time and 74-133-64 all-time away from home.
- Sporting Kansas City's record against D.C. United moves to 19-18-10 all-time and 6-12-5 on the road in the series.
- Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in their last six matches against D.C. United. Prior to Sunday’s draw, Sporting Kansas City had won their last five matches in the series.
- D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen earned his first point against Sporting KC and is now 0-5-1 all-time against the club.
- D.C. United (1-8-1) is winless since their home opener on March 9. With the draw, D.C. United breaks a seven-game losing streak, the longest in team history and seventh longest in MLS history.
- Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the starting lineup from last Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Benny Feilhaber started the match in place of Oriol Rosell and Matt Besler was on for Aurelien Collin.
- Rosell and Collin missed the match due to yellow card accumulation. Sunday marked the first time that Rosell and Collin have not started during the 2013 season.
- Matt Besler and Ike Opara played their first competitive minutes together in central defense on Sunday.
- D.C. United made three changes to their starting XI from last weekend’s 2-1 loss at FC Dallas Stadium, including Bill Hamid returning in net to replace Joe Willis. Daniel Woolard started for James Riley and Taylor Kemp started in place of Raphael Augusto.
- Taylor Kemp made his professional debut on Sunday, playing the first 45 minutes of the match before being replaced by Chris Pontius for D.C. United.
- Chris Korb and Perry Kitchen have started all 11 games for D.C. United this season.
- Sporting Kansas City took the 1-0 lead on an own goal by D.C. United in the 60th minute of the match. It was the first own goal in a Sporting KC match in 2013.
- The goal came from a Graham Zusi corner kick and is the second goal Sporting KC has scored this season off a corner kick.
- All 15 of Sporting Kansas City’s goals in 2013 have come from inside the penalty area.
- D.C. United earned their first point of the season when conceding the first goal. Prior to Sunday, the team was 0-8-0 when allowing the game’s opening goal.
- D.C. United have given up 20 goals this season, most in MLS. Twelve of the 20 goals conceded have come at home, which is also a League high.
- D.C. United equalized five minute later on a goal from Kyle Porter assisted by Chris Pontius.
- The goal was the latest D.C. United has scored in a match this season. Five of the team’s six goals in 2013 have come at RFK Stadium.
- Sporting KC is 5-2-2 when wearing Sporting Blue and 5-1-3 versus the Eastern Conference in 2013.
- Jimmy Nielsen has appeared in 74 straight MLS matches, including postseason, for Sporting Kansas City, dating back to June 12, 2011. The streak covers a span of 6,660 straight minutes of MLS action.
- Jimmy Nielsen surpassed 10,000 minutes played with the club on Sunday (including playoffs). Nielsen becomes the second player on the active roster to surpass this milestone in a KC uniform.
- Seth Sinovic surpassed 7,000 regular season minutes played in his MLS career on Sunday.
- Sporting Kansas City outshot D.C. United 14-7. Sporting KC is 5-3-3 when outshooting an opponent this season.
- Sporting KC controlled 59% of the possession on Sunday and won 60% of the duels.
- Sporting Kansas City earned 12 corner kicks on Sunday, most in a single-match this season for the club.
- Graham Zusi took 11 of the 12 corner kicks. Zusi leads the League in corner kicks with 60.
- Zusi made 18 total crosses in the match, more than any other player on the field.
- Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in fouls suffered this season, but suffered a season-low nine fouls on Sunday.
- Sporting KC leads MLS all-time in shots with 7,374 and ranks first in MLS this season with 182 shots.
- Sporting Kansas City has allowed the fewest shots among all MLS teams this year with 109 shots against.
- Matt Besler returned to the starting lineup for the first time since April 27, 2013 after suffering a knee injury at training.
- Besler made 16 clearances in the match, more than any other player on the field and won seven of his nine aerial duels, also more than any other player in Sunday’s match.
- Besler and Seth Sinovic each had 76 touches in tonight’s match, tied for most of all players.
- D.C. United was without Young Designated Player Rafael due to concussion symptoms.
- The Boulevard Members Club at Sporting Park hosted a Watch Party for Sunday’s match. Sporting KC striker Soony Saad was in attendance to meet supporters.
Sporting KC wrapped a two match road trip with a 1-1 draw at D.C. United. It was a frustrating match at times (mostly due a disallowed first half goal) but still a positive result to get four points from two away matches.
Man of the Match
Matt Besler helped to lead a solid defensive effort for Sporting KC in his first match since April 27th. The central defender led all players with 16 clearances and seven aerial duels won. Besler played his first minutes of the season with Ike Opara (filling in for the suspended Aurelien Colin) and the two limited chances for D.C. United's attacking players, most notably Dwayne De Rosario.
The Opara goal that was ruled offside changed the rest of the match. If allowed, it would have put an emphasis on D.C. United to attack for the final 60 minutes and probably given Sporting KC more opportunities on counterattacks. Credit to Opara who had a major role in the 60th minute own goal (his header deflected off D.C. United player before going into the back of the net) and continues to perform well in central defense. There's no knowing how the match would have changed if the goal was allowed, but it certainly was a major turning point.
A few stats
- Graham Zusi had five key passes, no D.C. United player had more than one
- Matt Besler won 83.3% of duels, the highest of any field player (non GK) in the match
- Jacob Peterson completed 20 of 22 passes (90.9%)
- Sporting KC are unbeaten in their last six matches (5-0-1) versus D.C. United
- 12 corner kicks is a season high for Sporting KC