Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Sporting Kansas City forward Claudio Bieler is a candidate for FutbolMLS.com's Latino del Año 2013. Earlier today, El Taca was revealed as a Group F nominee alongside Osvaldo Alonso (SEA), Michel (DAL) and Hendry Thomas (COL).
A total of 32 MLS players will compete for the fourth annual Latino del Año award. Voting begins on November 4, with the group stage winners announced on Nov. 7.
Bieler, 29, led all MLS newcomers with 10 goals this season and also added four assists in 28 appearances. He became the fourth player in team history to score 10 goals in his debut season (Takawira, Preki, Molnar) and first since the 2000 season. His 10 goals are also most by a Designated Player in team history, one more than Omar Bravo scored in 2011 when he won the Latino del Año.
Sporting Kansas City's quest for MLS Cup, presented by Ivy Funds, begins Saturday at the New England Revolution and as such, The Sporting KC Show is in postseason form. This week's episode aired last night on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine discussing the Eastern Conference Semifinals match-up as well as all the latest news around Major League Soccer, including chatter surrounding clubs in the midst of coaching changes.
Two players likely to play large roles for their clubs in the semifinals series -- Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi and New England Revolution defender Andrew Farrell -- joined the show to share their perspectives heading into Saturday's opening leg. Farrell, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2013 out of Lousville, will get his first taste of the MLS Cup Playoffs after an oustanding rookie season.
"We have some good veterans and a good core of young guys. And I think it's a positive for us," Farrell said. "The young guys want to prove themselves at one of the bigger stages of their pro careers so far. I know -- I speak for myself -- I can't wait to be playing at Kansas City. The atmosphere there is great. We'll be playing a great team with a lot on the line."
Listen to the full show, embedded below...
When the U.S. Men's National Team takes the field next summer in Brazil, it will mark their seventh straight appearance at the FIFA World Cup. That streak started all the way back in 1990 when Bob Gansler led the United States -- captained by Peter Vermes -- to the country's first World Cup appearance in 40 years.
Gansler, a former player with 25 caps for the U.S. MNT, went on to become Kansas City's longest-serving head coach for eight seasons from 1999-2006. His 95 career wins rank seventh most in MLS history and he led KC to five straight playoff appearances from 2000-2004. In 2000, Gansler was named MLS Coach of the Year for his role in the team's MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield trophies. In 2004, he lifted the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and led KC back to the MLS Cup final.
He was honored with the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award by the US Soccer Federation in 2008 and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011. On Friday, Gansler will be formally inducted into the inaugural class of Sporting Legends at halftime of Sporting KC's regular season home finale against D.C. United (7 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network).
Sporting Legends, a new initiative paying tribute to club icons, provides a platform for inductees to re-engage with the local soccer community and recognizes the roles individuals within the organization have played in the growth of soccer in Kansas City.
There's drama. Then there's what happened in Panama on Tuesday night. And Graham Zusi was square in the middle of the mania.
Entering stoppage time on the final match date of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, the fates of Mexico and Panama's World Cup dreams hung in the balance. Panama clung to a 2-1 lead at home over the U.S., needing to survive three more minutes against the region's top team to secure fourth place in The Hex and it's prize in the form of a World Cup playoff with New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Mexico showed no signs of overcoming a 2-1 deficit on the road in Costa Rica which -- with every tick of the clock -- threatened to send El Tri crashing out of World Cup qualification for the first time in more than 30 years.
Queue the frenzy. Brad Davis sends in a cross from the left flank and 5'10" playmaker turned aerial attacker Graham Zusi stuns the Panamians with a "towering header" from eight yards out to equalize. Panama's route to their first World Cup in the nation's history denied in devastating fashion and Mexico given the unlikeliest of lifelines by their most hated rivals.
In Zusi's only previous trip to Panama, you'll remember, he scored the game-winning goal in the United States 1-0 victory at Estadio Rommel Fernandez last year. However, that ninth minute goal in a tranquil friendly pales in comparison to Tuesday when he hammered home the first headed goal of his professional career.
Zusi's goal -- his second in as many games after netting the match-winner in front of his home crowd on Friday at Sporting Park and his third in a U.S. MNT uniform -- was promptly followed just over one minute later by Aron Johannsson's game-winner. Final score: USA 3, Panama 2. Salt poured over the wounded home side and the U.S. comeback completed to claim their 16th win of 2013, most ever by the Yanks in a calendar year.
Zusi now has 18 caps for the red, white and blue, including appearances in 12 of the last 13 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He returns to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, garnering all the attention in...Mexico.
For the third straight match, Sporting KC defender Erik Palmer-Brown started and played the full 90 minutes on Sunday for the U.S. Under-18 National Team in a 2-0 victory over Poland at the Limoges Tournament in France. The team went unbeaten (2-0-1) in the competition and finished second overall in the standings following a 2-2 draw with France and a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic.
Palmer-Brown, a 16-year-old Homegrown Player signing in August, was one of 18 players on the roster for head coach Javier Perez. He returns to Kansas City on Monday.
Sporting Park is the only venue to host the U.S. Men's National Team each of the last three years and two U.S. MNT players gave the state-of-the-art stadium rave reviews upon arriving in Kansas City this week. Forward Terrence Boyd was asked by a Twitter follower if the Sporting Park locker rooms are better than those he's seen in Europe. His response...
@RhoKnight better? Not even Real Madrid has such a locker room
— Terrence Boyd (@TBoyd91) October 10, 2013
And captain Tim Howard -- one of two players on tonight's roster to have played in each of the previous two U.S. MNT games at Sporting Park -- praised the supporters for their role in transforming Kansas City into the Soccer Capital of America.
"I love coming to Kansas City now," Howard said. "It's one of the soccer hotbeds. And every time we play here the crowd has been better than fantastic. They've welcomed us. They've made it really feel like it's a home game; they make it difficult on the other team coming in. When the venue was selected, we were excited because this is always a place that -- from a soccer standpoint and an atmosphere -- it's fantastic."
A limited number of tickets are available for tonight's match and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices.
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes was a guest on SiriusXM FC's Counter Attack today, joining Christopher Sullivan and John Harkes. Vermes discusses the team's rivalry with Houston, his management of the Sporting KC roster, the growth of the talent pool in Major League Soccer and his induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Friday (2:30 p.m. CT at Sporting Park, free and open to the public).
"When I initially got the call a few months ago, I was very proud. I've been very fortunate and privileged to be a player, first and foremost, and then to subsequently become a coach and stay that next step away from being a player. Obviously, it's a very special moment but for me, just being able to have been a professional soccer player and now being a coach in MLS is more than enough reward."
Listen to part of the interview below and follow @SiriusXMFC on Twitter for more from Counter Attack...
Photo by Gary Rohman
U.S. Soccer announced yesterday that a limited number of tickets for Friday's FIFA World Cup Qualifier between the U.S. Men's National Team and Jamaica at Sporting Park (5:30 p.m. CT on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio) have been returned and are now available to purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. If supplies last, tickets will also be available on Friday at the Sporting Park Box Offices beginning at 10 a.m. CT.
Parking lots open at 1 p.m. CT on Friday in time for the National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Sprint Plaza, featuring Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes, and Fan Fest in the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot. Both events start at 2:30 p.m. CT and are free and open to the public.
Upon their entry to the stadium on Friday, all fans will receive a complimentary U.S. Soccer scarf commemorating the match. The scarves are only available to ticket holders that attend the match and will not be sold separately.
Immediately following the match, the Boulevard Members Club will host a "Road to Brazil" postgame party featuring a performance by DJ G Train, Brazilian themed food and drink specials, as well as $3 Bud Lights.
Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown started for the United States Under-18 Men's National Team on Friday in a 2-2 draw against France. The U.S. fell behind 2-0 in the first half but came back with goals from Dembakwi Yomba and Andrija Novakovich to finish level.
The match was the team's first of three games at an international tournament held at Parc Municipal des Sports de Beaublanc in Limoges, France. The U.S. U18's will face the Czech Republic on Friday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. local time before wrapping up tournament play on Sunday, Oct. 13 against Poland at 3 p.m. local time.
Palmer-Brown -- one of 18 players selected by U.S. Under-18's head coach Javier Perez -- signed with Sporting KC in August as a Homegrown Player at 16 years of age. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikBrown14.
Catch up on all the latest discussion around Sporting Kansas City, Major League Soccer and the U.S. Men's National Team with the newest episode of The Sporting KC Show. Hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine took over the Sports Radio 810 WHB airwaves from 6-7 p.m. CT last night and were joined by Sporting KC defender Ike Opara and Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark for interviews ahead of tonight's match-up at BBVA Compass Stadium (7:30 p.m. CT on KSMO-TV).
Listen to the full show embedded below and archived online.
Edwards will be back on the radio for The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show tonight at 9:30 p.m. CT on 102.9 KCXL. He'll be joined by co-host Dave Borchardt to breakdown the match and take listeners' calls at 913-491-TALK.
Tonight's match will also be broadcasted on La Gran D 1340 AM.