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21 August 6:42 pm

Four years ago this month, Jon Kempin became the club's first homegrown player and the youngest signing to that point when he turned pro at age 17.

"This is a great day for our organization," Peter Vermes said at the time. "We had the opportunity to identify a talented player in the area, bring him into the (Academy) program and develop him to the point where we could sign him to a professional contract. Jon has incredible talent and now he has the opportunity to continue his development at a professional level and not have the pressure to perform on the field right away.”

Pressure to perform, like being told at halftime to warmup for your MLS debut and then facing a penalty kick for your first shot on goal faced.

Or lining up across from the League's top paid player, U.S. Men's National Team star Michael Bradley, in your first career MLS start.

Or following that with a 2,000+ mile trek to Central America three days later for a Champions League encounter in Nicaragua.

Kempin aced all three tests since being summoned back from his loan to USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC in the aftermath of an injury to starting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg and then stepping into the spotlight when Andy Gruenebaum was sidelined with a strained shoulder. Now 21, Kempin is the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match in team history and the youngest at his position to appear in MLS this season.

To quote Kempin on his first day as a professional, "Now is when the fun starts."

14 August 3:48 pm

A week ago, it was Sporting KC captain Matt Besler. Last night, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman took his turn.  Today, Manager Peter Vermes and four more of the MLS Cup champions joined in on the nationwide movement.

Check out the video playlist below to see Dom Dwyer, Jon Kempin, Jacob Peterson and Erik Palmer-Brown follow their coach's lead after the team's training on Thursday at the Swope Soccer Village.

In addition to raising awareness for the disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge has led to $7.6 million in donations for The ALS Association since July 29. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure. Click here to learn more about ALS and to find out how you can support the cause.

07 August 2:54 pm

Landon Donovan's illustrious career -- a career that has spanned 299 MLS regular season starts, the first of which came right here in Kansas City -- will come to a close at the end of the 2014 season. The LA Galaxy and U.S. Men's National Team star revealed the news on Thursday, one day after scoring the game-winning goal in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game and collecting MVP honors.

As such, today's Throwback Thursday turns back the clock to April 28, 2001. Just three days after riding the bench for the United States in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at Arrowhead Stadium, a 19-year-old Donovan was in the San Jose Earthquakes starting lineup for the first time in his 14-year MLS career to face the reigning MLS Cup champions on their home field.

"I specifically remember that game because it was Landon's first (start) and there was a lot of hype coming into it," teammate Ian Russell recalled in 2005. "And we got a glimpse of Landon, seeing how dangerous he can be up front for us."

While the game ended in a scoreless draw, Donovan had no shortage of success against Kansas City over the course of his career. His 13 goals and 12 assists in the regular season versus KC make him the only player in MLS history to put up double digits in both goals and assists against Kansas City. And there's also his lone postseason strike in the series: a 117th-minute golden goal in overtime of the 2003 Western Conference Championship en route to his second of five MLS Cup championships.

Then Kansas City Star sports writer Joe Posnanski penned a column dedicated to Donovan back in April 2001 amidst the interest surrounding Donovan's first visit to KC for the dose of club and country double duty. Under the headline "Donovan May Be The Man," he wrote…

What U.S. men's soccer needs is a hero. A goal scorer…Maybe it's Landon Donovan.

#ThanksLD

06 August 8:59 am

Delaware North Companies (DNC) is hiring for all food and beverage positions during a job fair from 2-6 p.m. CT on Thursday at Sporting Park (1 Sporting Way, Kansas City, KS). Available positions include beer vendors, stand attendants, utility workers, porters/barbacks, cooks, bartenders and concession supervisors.

Interested candidates must be at least 18 years of age to apply and must be 21 years of age to sell alcoholic beverages. Parking for Thursday's job fair is available in Lot D (click here for map/directions) and all attending should enter through the security entrance on the east side of the stadium across from Best Western. Those unable to attend the job fair are encouraged to apply online.

DNC is a global leader in hospitality and food service with 55,000 associates across the United States and around the world. For more information, contact Brianna Loy at (913) 912-7578 or bloy@dncinc.com.

05 August 12:45 pm

Without a few of the team's top players on the eve of the 2014 MLS All-Star Game, Sporting Kansas City welcomed a star from another sport to their training session on Tuesday at the Swope Soccer Village. NASCAR driver Joey Logano paid a visit to the MLS Cup champions while in Kansas City for a media tour to promote the Hollywood Casino 400 race weekend at Kansas Speedway from Oct. 3-5.

Logano led the first 30 laps and finished third on Sunday in the GoBowling.com 400. His eighth top-five finish of the year moved the 24-year-old up to eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings and he is one of only seven drivers to have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with five races remaining until the field is set.

For all the sights and sounds from Tuesday's training, check out the video above and photo slideshow below. Plus, click here to see the social media chatter captured from the festivities.

31 July 4:14 pm

On Thursday, Graham Zusi joined The Program with Soren Petro on Sports Radio 810 WHB to discuss an eventful month for the Sporting KC midfielder that included a knockout round match in the World Cup (July 1), an MLS match five days later, an All-Star selection, a Designated Player contract and a goal in Toronto to move Sporting KC atop the Supporters' Shield standings.

Next up? Tomorrow's Eastern Conference encounter with the Philadelphia Union (7 p.m. CT on NBC Sports, 810 AM & 1340 AM) at Sporting Park before departing for the 2014 MLS All-Star Game on August 6.

Zusi touched on a number of topics throughout the 16-minute interview. Listen to the full podcast embedded below for the following excerpts, as well as his timeline for the United States Men's National Team to win their first World Cup and the mystery surrounding how a postgame jersey exchange led to a hotel room theft.

On his decision to re-sign with Sporting KC...
"It's the direction this club is headed. You've seen over the past four years now what it's done for the city and the vision hasn't stopped there. Our ownership group is probably the best in sports. Their vision is incredible. They have stuff planned out in the next couple years that I want to be part of."

On his experience in Brazil...
"The experience itself was an incredible one for me. To be matched up against the best players in the world, especially against Germany as the eventual winners, it really gives you a bar that you can set and something you can really work towards. You have to be honest with yourself at the end of the day. I was able to do that and know that I'm not there yet. It really gives me something to work towards on that front."

On the United States progress at the international level...
"I think we're well on the way and definitely headed in the right direction. I think Jurgen has done a great job so far with implementing what we need to do to get to that level. He's been very honest with the U.S. fans along with the players, telling us what we need to do to one day be competing against the Germany's and the Brazil's. What we saw from this tournament is we're certainly capable of it. We can hang with some of the best teams in the world on a given day. What we want to do now is do that on a consistent basis every time we're up against them."

On Sporting KC's remaining schedule...
"The second half of the season is always a grind. There's jostling for the playoff positions. We have a team tomorrow in Philly who has always played us well and especially at home. We definitely owe them one. They came in and kind of took it to us last time they were here in Kansas City; definitely not a team to take lightly...At this point of the season, we're sitting in a great spot at the top of the table. Every time we can put another three points up there and distance ourselves, especially from the people in our own conference, that's what it is all about."

 

 

30 July 3:37 pm

Sporting Kansas City winger Jacob Peterson -- the game-winning goal scorer in last weekend's 2-1 win at Toronto FC -- and Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu joined this week's episode of The Sporting KC Show, which aired last night on Sports Radio 810 WHB and is embedded in its entirety below. Hosts Callum Williams and Carter Augustine interviewed both players in advance of Friday's Eastern Conference clash.

The Union have just one loss in their last 10 games across all competition and have proven to be a thorn in SKC's side at Sporting Park. The reigning MLS Cup champions have suffered only two losses in their last 21 MLS and CCL home matches dating back to last year, both of which came against Philadelphia.

Riding a seven-game unbeaten streak, Sporting KC will aim for sole possession of first place in the Supporters' Shield standings with a result on Friday. A limited number of tickets are still available on Ticketmaster.com and the first 10,000 fans inside the gates will receive a pair of Sporting KC spirit sleeves courtesy of UMB Bank. Not able to attend? The match will be televised nationally on NBC Sports, with additional radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).

25 July 3:19 pm

The results are in and MLSsoccer.com readers resoundingly voted for tomorrow's #TORvSKC match-up as the MLS Stream of the Week (6 p.m. CT live on KMCI 38 the Spot and SKCTV). Sporting KC takes a four-game road winning streak into BMO Field to face Toronto FC, who boasts the second-highest attendance average in Major League Soccer this season.

In the previous meeting between the two Eastern Conference contenders, Dom Dwyer (14g, 0a) scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Sporting Park in May. His English counterpart Jermain Defoe (11g, 2a) will miss Saturday's rematch due to caution accumulation and, in his place, Toronto FC could turn to former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario. A six-time member of the MLS Best XI, De Rosario ranks sixth on Major League Soccer's all-time goal scoring chart with 103 goals.

Check out the video below from MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle for their thoughts on the major storylines to watch...
 

11 July 2:09 pm

Sporting Kansas City trained in Montreal this morning ahead of tomorrow's showdown at Stade Saputo. Manager Peter Vermes' squad will be frequent visitors north of the border with three of their next four road games coming on Canadian soil (7/12 at MTL, 7/26 at TOR, 8/10 at VAN), where Sporting KC has six regular season victories all-time -- second most among MLS clubs.

Montreal, in particular, has been the source of valuable road points for Sporting KC since the Impact entered MLS in 2012. Sporting KC is one of just two teams with multiple victories at Stade Saputo in MLS play, including a 3-0 victory there in May.

  • Sporting KC all-time in Canada: 6-4-5

    • ...at Montreal: 2-1-1
    • ...at Toronto: 3-3-3
    • ...at Vancouver: 1-0-1

For more on the #MTLvSKC match-up, check out the MLSsoccer.com Scouting Report below with Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle...

10 July 2:04 pm

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is on the cusp of crowning a champion as Argentina and Germany will meet in the final on Sunday at the historic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2 p.m. CT live on ABC & Univision). While Germany are making a record eighth appearance in the World Cup final and fourth straight top-four finish after handing the hosts a stunning 7-1 defeat on Tuesday, Argentina have advanced past the quarterfinal round for the first time since doing so in 1986 and 1990 when they ultimately met West Germany in the final on both occasions.

Back then, La Albiceleste fielded Diego Maradona in his prime but today a new age of stars led by captain and four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi has the South American side on the brink of lifting the World Cup trophy for the first time since 1986 -- nearly a full year before the 27-year-old Messi was born.

Glimpses of this golden generation began to garner attention on the global stage in 2005 at the FIFA World Youth Championship when Argentina's Under-20 squad featured six players now in Brazil on their World Cup roster: Sergio Aguero, Lucas Biglia, Fernando Gago, Ezequiel Garay, Lionel Messi and Pablo Zabaleta. Five of those six were on the field yesterday in Argentina's semifinal showdown versus the Netherlands, including the team's first three shooters in the decisive penalty shootout.

As such, it comes as little surprise that Argentina outlasted the 24-team field in 2005 to claim the prestigious youth title but only after opening the tournament with a stunning group stage upset at the hands of the United States. "There's no excuse for this defeat," said Lionel Messi, who went on to become the tournament's top player and goal scorer.

Turning back the clock nine summers ago, today's Throwback Thursday remembers the roles Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber and forward Jacob Peterson played at Arke Stadium in the Netherlands when the United States Under-20 Men's National Team prevailed 1-0 over Argentina, earned a scoreless draw against Germany and won their group thanks to Peterson's game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Egypt.

Benny Feilhaber and the U.S. celebrate Chad Barrett's goal against Argentina