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kurt austin

04 December 11:22 am

When MLS Cup 2013 kicks off at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday at Sporting Park, ESPN will nationally televise Major League Soccer's championship match for the fifth straight year. Today, the worldwide leader in sports unveiled the network's extensive programming plans ahead of the marquee match, which will also air on Watch ESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN International. Check out the highlights below:

Commentator Adrian Healey, analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Mónica Gónzalez will call the action with host Max BretosAlexi LalasKasey Keller and Alejandro Moreno providing studio coverage from site.

MLS commissioner Don Garber will be interviewed on the ESPN set at halftime.

Kenneth Garay (play-by-play), Elmer Polanco (analyst) and Diego Cora (sideline) will be the commentary team for ESPN Deportes Radio, whose coverage starts with a one-hour pre-game show at 2 p.m CT.

ESPN International will televise MLS Cup 2013 on ESPN networks in 59 countries and territories covering more than 22 million television homes. Richard Mendez and Giovanni Savarese will call the game for ESPN International networks in Spanish.

ESPN FC previews MLS Cup on Wednesday with Omar Gonzalez, on Thursday with Twellman joining from KC and on Friday with Twellman/Keller reporting from Kansas City. All episodes air at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

Beginning Friday at 5 p.m. CT through kickoff on Saturday, all editions of ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter (ESPN and ESPNEWS) will feature MLS Cup 2013 segments including reports and analysis from Kansas City.

Jeff Carlisle will report from Kansas City beginning Wednesday. His work for ESPNFC.com will include an interview with Garber, player-focused pieces and a preview of the match.

ESPNFC.com will host a Boot Room chat during the match and a Boot Room Extra post-game show.

02 December 6:12 pm

MLS Cup week kicked off on Monday as Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes and forward Dom Dwyer participated in Major League Soccer's media conference call to preview the match. The duo touched on a wide variety of topics as they responded to questions from the likes of Michael Lewis (Newsday), Kyle McCarthy (FOX Soccer), Arch Bell (Marca), Adam Jardy (Columbus Dispatch), Liviu Bard (Soccer Wire) and Steve Brisendine (MLSSoccer.com). Check out the transcript below...

Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match-up with Real Salt Lake…
They're a very good team. We have the utmost respect for them. They're good in all three phases of the game. They're very good with the ball, they have a lot of movement off the ball when they have it. When they don't have it, they are very competitive. Their guys are committed to winning the ball back quickly. And finally, they're a team that is very dangerous on set pieces and have a strong commitment to making sure they don't give up goals on those, as well. Just a very good team, always prepared and ready to play. It will be a huge challenge for us this weekend.

On overcoming the loss of Kei Kamara…
We spent most of the year, based on the fact that he went out on loan early on, with Kei not being here. Obviously the sale was a permanent thing. It was probably more closure for everyone. I would say for him, to figure out where he was going to land; whether he was going to stay here or go abroad. And then for us, to know whether he was going to stay here or go abroad. It was important for the team to know as well. Since that transpired, I think many different guys have filled in and done a very good job over the course of the season. Obviously, Kei brought a set of qualities to our team, just as the other guys that have played in that position whether it's C.J. Sapong or Soony Saad or Jacob Peterson. They all bring something different. Over the course of the season, they've all had an impact one way or another and have definitely helped us accomplish results in many different matches. We've lost quite a few guys from a year ago, realistically, in Roger Espinoza, Julio Cesar and also Kei. But there's a strong belief from our staff in that we have a group of guys that are very committed to the philosophy of our team. When there's one man's absence is another man's opportunity. A lot of guys have stepped up this year. We've had a lot of rotation of our roster with the multiple competitions we've been in. Most guys have had a real positive contribution to the team.

On how his time in Spain influenced him as a head coach…
A tremendous amount. Actually, last year at this time, I was in Spain looking at some players and doing some education, if you will, for myself. I met up with my old coach. He was a major influence on me. He had an incredible attention to detail in all phases, whether it was edification of players, the breaking down of the opponent to the preparation of your team. He was very, very good. The biggest thing I take away from it is the passion for the game was second to none. It was a great experience for me there and it's definitely had an influence on me as a coach.

On juggling roles as technical director and head coach…
For me, when I first became the interim head coach and I was still doing the technical director responsibilities, I have to say that it was a very difficult time for me. Trying to figure out how to manage both and how to prioritize the important aspects of each of the positions was very difficult for me in the beginning. I would say that as I got half way through the next season is when I started to really get a foothold on being able to deal with both positions. That was really only accomplished because I have such a great staff here. The other coaches on my staff, Kerry Zavagnin and Zoran Savic, were instrumental and they have been ever since for me being able to delegate responsibilities to them that ultimately help us in all aspects of the team whether it's preparing for the next game or whether that's looking at the next player that may become a Sporting player in the future. Obviously, it's much easier today because I've got a pretty good handle on it and we have a great staff. In the beginning it was a monumental task, for sure. My philosophy in that respect has always been to hire people that are better and smarter than myself. I think you have to surround yourself with the best people you can. When you do that, you just have better minds in the room. You make better decisions ultimately at the end. That's always been my philosophy and it's something I would always stick with for sure.

On the club's transition with re-brand and new stadium...
It's obviously been a tremendous experience to live through, for sure. You've seen a club go from 19th on the list in most categories and I don't mean just on the field type things but I mean off the field, as well, whether it's merchandise or what have you. We've made a significant turnaround in all aspects of the club. So from that point of view, it's been a great experience no doubt. So much of it has to do with the ownership group and their vision and commitment, and not just commitment from a financial aspect but it's also their influence and their participation within the community of Kansas City. That's been a major impact into our team. The one thing I take away from this is that there are soccer fans in every city. It's really about finding out how, number one, to tap into them. Number two is providing them with a product on the field that they themselves, one, can be proud of. A couple years ago our stadium won stadium of the year in the world. That's great and there's a lot of people that want to come to our stadium to see a game there. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to come back. I think what keeps bringing them back is when they see the players on the field and the way they play. Their commitment to the team, to the game and trying to entertain. I think, because of that,  it's really changed our place in the sports community here in Kansas City which obviously has been massive.

On where MLS Cup 2013 ranks in Kansas City's soccer history…
The significant thing I think about this game is that it's the first time MLS Cup will be held here in Kansas City. I think that gives it some more importance, even then the prior championship in 2000 just because it was at a neutral site away from home. I think that brings a little more significance to it.

Forward Dom Dwyer

On his 2013 season…
It's been a crazy season. Very up and down but definitely on the up right now. It's going good. I enjoyed my time down in Orlando. I learned a lot and got some consistent playing time. Now being back in Kansas, obviously it's been going well. I've been getting lots of opportunities and I've been taking them okay. Obviously scored the winner last game, but more importantly I helped the team win. I haven't been pushing myself to have to score. It's been more as long as we win, then the goals will come. It's been going good.

On his confidence gained…
I've always been a very confident player. The biggest thing going down to Orlando was just to get me regular playing time. I had to go down there and do well consistently. That was one of the main things, just kind of getting used to playing week in and week out, and getting back into the flow of things. It worked out perfectly and it benefited both sides.

On his time at Tyler Junior College…
It was a fun experience.Obviously it was very different being from England and then coming to Texas. There was a company called Soccer Icon in England. I went for a trial there, not really a serious thing -- more of a kickabout. Someone saw me and a couple of my friends and said I can get you guys out to America in a month and a half to Texas. We kind of floated around the idea and weren't real sure. We just jumped at it and it went from there on. It was kind of a leap of faith. It came to work out pretty well.

On the significance of MLS Cup at Sporting Park...
It's huge for the city. I've only been here two years but I've already seen it grow in that short space of time I've been here. It's grown so much. There's more and more hype, there's more and more attention about it. I'm starting to get noticed out around the city a lot more which just shows how much it's grown. A lot of people are talking about it, too. It's not just the Chiefs or the Royals. It's Sporting, too. It's very cool.

On playing in two league championships…
It's exciting. I've been lucky enough to have two opportunities now. I didn't do too well in the first one in Orlando - I'm just kidding. It was good to have that opportunity in the final in Orlando. It's nice to get another one and obviously this is a bigger stage now. I'm really looking forward to it. Two quality teams. It's a big match-up. This is what we've been working for since January or before January since we started offseason training in December. We've been working hard up to this moment and ready to finish it off the right way. I think I'm more excited about experiencing this with everyone else. That's the nicest thing about being on a team. You get to celebrate with everyone else. If you do something good, you get to see everyone else happy. That's the most rewarding feeling. It was nice after the Orlando game, I sat back and watched those guys celebrate. I knew I had a bigger job to do. I knew I had to come back to KC and finish this season off right. It was nice to see all of them happy. It was a big buzz around here two weekends ago when we beat Houston. That was really nice. Now I'm looking forward to more of that feeling. Whenever you feel that taste of something good, you want more of it. I want more.
 

26 November 2:06 pm

The Tuesday night trio of Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine will be back in the Sports Radio 810 WHB studios tonight for The Sporting KC Show from 7-8 p.m. CT. On the agenda for this week's episode are interviews with Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin and Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerway to look ahead to MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Park, along with a wrap-up of Saturday's Eastern Conference Championship victory over the Houston Dynamo.

Join the conversation by calling 913-3-810-810 and listen live locally on 810 AM, online at 810WHB.com or via the station's free mobile app. You can also tweet your questions to @CalWilliamsSKC, @AndyEdMLS and @ElJefeAugustine.

And there's plenty more audio coverage of Sporting Kansas City availalble. Check out the following interviews:

22 November 2:26 pm

Psst, we're almost 24 hours away from the game we've all been waiting for...a postseason rematch with the Houston Dynamo, on our home field, with an MLS Cup berth awaiting the winner. It all kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday night at a sold out Sporting Park. Check out the videos below to get ready for leg two in the Eastern Conference Championship.

Start it off with the hype: One Game. 90 Minutes.

And a :15 teaser for NBC Sports national TV broadcast...

Molly Dreska serves up gameday info in our Matchday series...

Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle give us their thoughts from MLS HQ...

And a little MLSsoccer.com love for All-Star Graham Zusi...

Still need more? Check out videos from Thursday's press conferences with Manager Peter Vermes and Matt Besler. And keep an eye out on the video page at MLSsoccer.com for four more videos coming to preview #SKCvHOU through the eyes of Besler, Benny Feilhaber, Kerry Zavagnin and Kyle Martino.

19 November 3:57 pm

Four days out from Sporting Kansas City's biggest game of the season to date, how will this week's Sporting KC Show rise to the occasion? With a special two-hour episode from 7-9 p.m. CT tonight on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

Hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine will be joined by special guests Jimmy Nielsen and Sebastian Salazar (CSN Houston) to preview Saturday's match-up. They'll also discuss all the latest developments from an extremely eventful day in the world of soccer: six of the final eight 2014 FIFA World Cup berths at stake, the U.S. Men's National Team's final fixture of 2013 and a major announcement coming from our USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC.

Join the conversation by calling 913-3-810-810 and listen live locally on 810 AM, online at 810WHB.com or via the station's free mobile app. Additionally, audio from the show will be archived on the podcast page at 810whb.com.

Can't get enough of Cal? The voice of Sporting Kansas City will be all over the airwaves this week:

19 November 12:43 pm

Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown is one of five finalists revealed today for U.S. Soccer's 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year. Voting is open online at USSoccer.com and will account for 50 percent of the total votes. National media and U.S. Soccer representatives from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors will also cast their ballots before the winners are announced on Nov. 26.

2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year Finalists
Kellyn Acosta, Defender
Shaquell Moore, Defender
Shane O'Neill, Defender
Erik Palmer-Brown, Defender
Wil Trapp, Midfielder

Palmer-Brown, 16, became the youngest signing in club history and the only player born in 1997 on an MLS roster when he signed a Homegrown Player contract in August. The Sporting KC Academy product and Lee's Summit, Mo. native attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. for the spring semester this year and has featured extensively for United States youth national teams.

At the Under-15 level, Palmer-Brown represented the United States at the 2013 Tournament Delle Nazioni in Italy in May. At the Under-17 level, he was on the roster for the Caspian Cup in Azerbaijan in June and he helped the United States win an international tournament in Japan in July.

At the Under-18 level, he was invited to a training camp in California in September and was then selected to the roster for a four-team international tournament in France last month. He scored the first goal of his international career in a 1-0 victory over Czech Republic and played the full 90 minutes as the U.S. went unbeaten (2-0-1).

The U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded annually since 1998. View a list of previous winners below:

1998: Josh Wolff
1999: Ben Olsen
2000: Landon Donovan
2001: DaMarcus Beasley
2002: Bobby Convey
2003: Freddy Adu
2004: Eddie Johnson
2005: Benny Feilhaber
2006: Josmer Altidore
2007: Michael Bradley
2008: Sacha Kljestan
2009: Luis Gil
2010: Gale Agbossoumonde
2011: Brek Shea
2012: Rubio Rubin

A center back and former member of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program, Palmer-Brown is establishing himself on the international and professional fronts at an incredibly young age. On Aug. 2, 2013, the native of Kansas City suburb Lee’s Summit, Mo., officially signed a homegrown contract with Sporting Kansas City, becoming the youngest signing in the club’s history at 16 years old. Before his signing, Palmer-Brown represented the USA for both the U-15 Boys’ National Team and U-17 MNT. In late April and early May, Palmer-Brown played for the U-15s at the 2013 Tournament Delle Nazioni, starting in all four matches. In June, Palmer-Brown started in two of three games to help the U.S. U-17 MNT win the International Tournament in Niigata, Japan. Most recently, Palmer-Brown started in every match for the U.S. U-18 MNT, helping the USA take second place at the 2013 Limoges Tournament in France. - See more at: http://www.ussoccer.com/About/History/Awards/2013-Young-Male-Athlete-of-...

A center back and former member of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program, Palmer-Brown is establishing himself on the international and professional fronts at an incredibly young age. On Aug. 2, 2013, the native of Kansas City suburb Lee’s Summit, Mo., officially signed a homegrown contract with Sporting Kansas City, becoming the youngest signing in the club’s history at 16 years old. Before his signing, Palmer-Brown represented the USA for both the U-15 Boys’ National Team and U-17 MNT. In late April and early May, Palmer-Brown played for the U-15s at the 2013 Tournament Delle Nazioni, starting in all four matches. In June, Palmer-Brown started in two of three games to help the U.S. U-17 MNT win the International Tournament in Niigata, Japan. Most recently, Palmer-Brown started in every match for the U.S. U-18 MNT, helping the USA take second place at the 2013 Limoges Tournament in France. - See more at: http://www.ussoccer.com/About/History/Awards/2013-Young-Male-Athlete-of-...

15 November 7:09 pm


Photo via @RcHaarer on Twitter

Sporting KC and the Portland Timbers stand one game away from facing off in MLS Cup 2013, adding an extra bit of spice to the news out of Tucson, Ariz. that the two teams will meet in a pre-season friendly on Feb. 1 at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex. USL Premier Development League side FC Tucson -- In conjunction with the stadium's inaugural event, a Fall Showcase against Chivas USA tonight -- revealed the preliminary schedule for the 11 MLS teams that will be making pre-season stops in The Old Pueblo in 2014.

After breaking ground in April, North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex officially opened last month. The development is part of Pima County’s multi-million dollar investment to make improvements at the facility, including a sixth soccer field, scoreboard, entrance, concessions and restrooms. The upcoming season will mark the fourth straight year that Sporting KC has selected Tucson as a pre-season site; the club will announce the team's full 2014 pre-season schedule next week.

Portland and Sporting KC met in Tucson in the 2013 preseason ahead of successful regular seasons for both clubs. The Timbers finished atop the Western Conference standings and, like Sporting KC, will host the decisive second leg in the Conference Championship round of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs next weekend.

14 November 12:03 pm

The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) announced today the referee assignments for the second legs of both Conference Championships in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Baldomero Toledo will man the middle when Sporting Kansas City takes the field against the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park on Nov. 23.

The 43-year-old is a 10-year veteran of Major League Soccer, making his MLS debut in Kansas City in 2004 (sending off Jose Burciaga, Jr. in the 45th minute of a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids). He's worked two MLS Cups (2008 and 2010) and also officiated the MLS All-Star Game in 2007 and 2012.

In 2013, Toledo has refereed 22 MLS matches and leads all MLS referees with 72 yellow cards and 12 red cards shown. He's whistled 592 fouls (an average of 26.9 per game) and nine penalty kicks.

Of those 22 games, four featured Sporting Kansas City:

  • May 5: 4-0 win vs. Chivas USA that saw Dan Kennedy sent off and Claudio Bieler convert a PK
  • July 7: 1-1 draw at Chicago in which Daniel Paladini was ejected
  • August 10: 3-0 win vs. New England, who ended with nine men following the dismissals of Dimitry Imbongo and Andy Dorman
  • October 26: 2-1 win at Philadelphia in the team's regular season finale

Toledo -- who was the fourth official for last year's Eastern Conference Semifinal second leg between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park -- has worked two matches in this year's MLS Cup Playoffs on the Western Conference side of the bracket, highlighted by a controversial call to disallow a series-winner for Real Salt Lake against the reigning champions LA Galaxy.

He'll be joined on the referee crew by Kermit Quisenberry (AR1), Frank Anderson (AR2) and Edvin Jurisevic (4TH). Quisenberry was the MLS Assistant Referee of the Year in 2008 and has worked 17 games as an AR in 2013. Anderson ran the sideline 19 times this year in MLS matches.

13 November 6:15 pm

#SKCnation is made up of the best fans in MLS.

Capacity crowds in 34 straight MLS games. Traveling hundreds for away games. National anthems. Tifos. Pep rallies. Watch parties. Hosting this year's Independent Supporters Council summit. The list goes on.

Which is why we think one of our own belongs in ESPN's Fan Hall of Fame. In its second year, the worldwide leader is looking for three new inductees in 2013. Submit an application -- for yourself or a fellow fan -- online at FanHallofFame.com until Nov. 18. Ten finalists will be announced on Dec. 2.

 

13 November 1:31 pm

To celebrate the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship coming to sold out Sporting Park, Sporting Kansas City is auctioning off five unique packages for fans. Each package includes an autographed item and a pair of tickets for the most anticipated match of the season to date. Proceeds from this auction will go to support the mission of The Victory Project -- our foundation to encourage, celebrate and help kids in Kansas City who are battling cancer.

The auction -- operated online at biddingforgood.com -- is now open and will close at 12 p.m. CT (noon) on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Check out the package options below:

Auction #1: This package includes an authentic, game-worn Sporting KC jersey signed by Graham Zusi on both the front and back, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 103, Row 12, Seats 15-16.
Starting Bid: $250 (Click Here)

Auction #2: This package includes an authentic, game-worn Sporting KC jersey signed by Aurelien Collin on both the front and back, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 103, Row 12, Seats 13-14.
Starting Bid: $250 (Click Here)

Auction #3: This package includes a full team-signed Breast Cancer Awareness soccer ball, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 131, Row 23, Seats 19-20.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)

Auction #4: This package includes a full team-signed Boulevard Brewing Company playoff canvas, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 104, Row 21, Seats 3-4.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)

Auction #5: This package includes a full team-signed Boulevard Brewing Company playoff canvas, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 104, Row 21, Seats 5-6.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)