Blog

randi simmons

28 March 8:23 am

It’s been a big year so far for Sporting Kansas City midfielder Mikey Lopez. After being drafted in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft by Sporting Kansas City, Lopez missed part of Sporting’s pre-season to join the U.S. Men’s U-20 National U-20 team for the CONCACAF U-20 Championships in Mexico. We caught up with Lopez to talk about everything from his thoughts on the World Cup Draw to his favorite color. 

Have any of the guys on the team here taken you under their wing and helped you in your transition to the pro level?

Yeah, they’ve all been really helpful. I really like the way that they’ve been treating me. They do mess with me a lot because I’m the new guy and I’m the youngest here, but it’s normal and in good fun. I’m used to it.

How do you like Kansas City?

Except for the snow and the cold, I like it here. I like the city. Everything’s been good and the people have been very good to me.

Do you miss college?

Yes and no. I miss my friends and my team, but I don’t really miss the school aspect of it. I like to play every day and that’s what I’m doing now - so that’s what makes me happy.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far being in a professional soccer setting?

I’ve learned that I have to come out here and prove myself and that I can’t take anything for granted.

How is your mindset different going into training with the U-20s where you know you’re a key player whereas with Sporting you’re fighting to be in the mix on the gameday roster?

I don’t think my mentality changes with the national team even though I’m considered a key player. I still have to go out there and prove myself and prove that I am a key player for Tab (Ramos) and for the national team and Sporting is the same way. I have to fight for everything. I have to prove myself here with the team and with the coaches. My mentality doesn’t really change in the sense that I have to prove myself on both teams.

How do you think playing with the U-20s this spring helped you?

It helped me transition to MLS because I had to practice more and play against professionals.

The U.S. U-20's will be in a group with Spain, France and an African country TBD. What are your thoughts on the group?

It’s going to be a fun group. I think it’s one of the toughest groups there. It’s going to be difficult but at the same time it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a good experience playing against Spain and France and an African team in the World Cup.

You got four yellow cards in five games at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Is yellow your favorite color?

(Laughs) I mean, I have yellow cleats so I guess you could say yellow is my favorite color. No, I don’t usually get yellow cards so those were a little out of character for me. It happens.

What did you think of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi’s performances with the senior national team in their draw with Mexico in World Cup Qualifying?

They did really well. They made our country proud and they made U.S. Soccer proud. They were both key players. Besler was a key player in the defensive end and he broke down a lot of plays and he did really well. It was surprising that that was only his second cap. Zusi did well on both sides of the ball, attacking and defending. 

25 March 5:56 pm

It’s March and you know what that means...March Madness! Thanks to March Madness, Florida Gulf Coast University is now the talk of the town and more so the country. After busting everyone’s brackets with their upset win over Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament, FGCU followed that up by getting the best of San Diego State in the round of 32. Now the No. 15-seeded Eagles find themselves matched up against No. 3-seeded Florida in the Sweet Sixteen.

Florida Gulf Coast University is the lowest-seeded team to make it into the Sweet Sixteen in the history of the tournament and are arguably the most unknown in this year's pool of 64. FGCU is this year’s Cinderella and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. You may have never heard of them but through six degrees of separation you’re bound to be connected to the Eagles in one way or another.

Thanks to Sporting Kansas City’s own Stephen Howell, Coordinator of Fan Experiences and Guest Services, Sporting KC definitely has a seat on the bandwagon. Howell graduated from FGCU in 2011. He spent four and a half years there both studying and working for the athletic department.

How are you connected to the FGCU Men’s Basketball team?

“I pretty much set up all their practices. From tables and chairs to setting up the entire gameday, the arena, pulling out bleachers, selling tickets, working with the parking lot guys…I mean, you name it and I probably did it for the university and the athletic department. It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of experience from it.”

Thoughts on FGCU’s Cinderella run so far…

“It’s amazing right now. I’m on cloud nine for our school because I did so much work for the athletic department across all the sports. Growing up I played basketball, so basketball has always had a special place in my life. So for our men’s team to be doing as well as they are right now is awesome.”

What do you tell people that have never heard of FGCU?

“We get that a lot actually because no one’s ever heard of FGCU. If you watch the broadcast, everyone puts FLAGC or there’s always some random use of words when they could just put FGCU. But, I tell them we're a small school from Fort Myers and to watch out because we’re making a name for ourselves in a lot of sports other than just men’s basketball.”

How far did you have them going in your bracket?

“I have them winning the national championship. Everyone said I was crazy and I said, ‘Watch, Georgetown plays half-court basketball while we’re an up-tempo team and we’ll run and gun them.’ We pulled that one off. Then I had them beating San Diego State and I had them beating Florida and I have them beating KU and then I have them beating Miami again for the second time and then beating Duke in the finals.”

Get a seat on the Cinderella wagon while you still can. Florida Gulf Coast University takes on Florida with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line on Friday night at 9 p.m. CT.

 

25 March 11:53 am

We all know how the guys play on the pitch but ever wonder how they play off it? Or who would be the coolest to hang out with? Put your compatibility to the test. Take the quiz and find out who your SKC bestie would be…

Seth Sinovic

Benny Feilhaber

C.J. Sapong

Jimmy Nielsen

You’re a stand up kind of person and that’s why you and Seth would get along great. You both value humor so you guys might watch a little Caddyshack inbetween episodes of Family Guy. When snacking on candy just isn’t satisfying your hunger, you’ll probably end up listening to Mumford & Sons on your way to LC’s BBQ. You and this hometown favorite would have some good clean fun together! This Brazilian is a total goofball, but so are you! You two might butt heads on whether to jam out to the Zac Brown Band or to sit down and watch Shawshank Redemption in your free time, but in the end you two will never grow apart because you both value loyalty and honesty above all else. Just take a pointer from bestie Benny. You want to have some fun. Well CJ is the fun-loving kind of guy that you would have the best time with. Snacking on greek yogurt and granola while watching SpongeBob would be an ideal night for you guys, but when you hit the town you're definitely stopping by Oklahoma Joes! Even though it would be fun to be Rob Dyrdek and be able to apparate wherever you please, you two will still find a way to have a good time. Jimmy might be hard to reach, but you know he’s a loyal friend just like you! You both value trust so when you can’t get a hold of him you know he’ll call you back. On the way to all of your countless meals at Bella Napoli together, you’ll listen to 93.3 on the radio. Even though neither of you can ever wait to get to Bella Napoli for their amazing Italian, you’ll never speed because you respect the law. The White Puma is your SKC bestie without a doubt!

 

05 March 2:28 pm

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No it’s Soony Saad!....No. Wait. It’s Superman.

Uh oh. Sporting KC doppelgangers are on the loose. Keep your eyes open SKC Nation or else we could end up with these doppelgangers sneaking onto the field and into the starting XI.

Goalkeeper

Jon Kempin

Neil Patrick Harris

Defenders

Chance Myers

Ike Opara

Aurelien Collin

Seth Sinovic

Sean Penn

Dwayne Wade

Manu Ginobili

Macaulay Culkin

Midfielders

Graham Zusi

Lawrence Olum

Uri Rosell

Roger Federer

Jason Terry

Kevin McKidd

Forwards

Soony Saad

Claudio Bieler

Bobby Convey

Clark Kent (Superman)

Mario Lopez

Steve Nash

 

01 March 3:46 pm

Sporting Kansas City is prepared & ready to kick off the 2013 MLS season tomorrow. The question is, are you?

There are over 300 MLS matches to look forward to in 2013 and you don’t have to miss out on a single moment, thanks to the MLS MatchDay app. Download the app to your Android or iPhone and bring the game to you and everywhere you go for free.

The MLS MatchDay app brings news, highlights and scores to your Android or iPhone anytime, anywhere. MLS LIVE subscribers will also be able to see live video streamed from their favorite matches right to their phones.

Along with the news, highlights, and scores from every match, MLS MatchDay also features match previews, latest news, play-by-play, box scores, starting lineups and formations. This app and these features do not only cover the MLS season either!

MLS MatchDay covers Major League Soccer competitions as well as the MLS All-Star Game, CONCACAF Champions League, US Open Cup and CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. So now you can easily follow along with all of Sporting KC’s matches in MLS league play, US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.

Don’t miss a second of Sporting KC action in 2013 by downloading the MLS MatchDay app here http://www.mlssoccer.com/mobile.

18 February 2:13 pm


Photo by Kory Brinton

SKC Nation knows Jimmy Nielsen is good. Nielsen puts his skill on display game-after-game yeilding highlights on the regular. We all saw Nielsen’s greatness on display when he came up big for Sporting KC in the shootout at the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final last year, that lead to #paintthewall. Everyone knows Jimmy Nielsen is good, but how good is the White Puma?

Nielsen’s name is already written all over Sporting Kansas City’s record books, but there is another keeper that puts a shadow over Nielsen’s numbers and that is Tony Meola. Meola holds eight of the 10 records all-time for Sporting Kansas City goalkeepers. The three records he doesn’t hold the number one spot in, are held by none other than the White Puma.

After just three seasons between the pipes for Sporting Kansas City, Nielsen stands as the all-time leader for Goalkeepers in both win percentage and goals against average. Nielsen also holds the records for goals against average in a single season (.79), minutes played in a single season (3060), and games played and games started during a single season (34). He comfortably sits in the top four of all 10 goalkeeper categories for the franchise.

With his fourth season as Sporting KC’s resident shot stopper on the horizon, let’s take a look at some of the records that Jimmy could claim as his own this year:

All-Time Leaders: Goalkeepers

Games Played:

  • 1-Tony Meola (125)
  • 2-Bo Oshoniyi (96)
  • 3-Jimmy Nielsen (94)

Games Started:

  • 1-Tony Meola (125)
  • 2-Jimmy Nielsen (94)

Minutes:

  • 1-Tony Meola (11,323)
  • 2-Jimmy Nielsen (8,437)

Games Won:

  • 1-Tony Meola (49)
  • 2-Jimmy Nielsen (40)

Shutouts:

  • 1-Tony Meola (37)
  • 2-Jimmy Neilsen (32)

Save Percentage:

  • 1-Tony Meola (74.2)
  • 2-Jimmy Nielsen (71.5)

The 2012 season saw Nielsen take helm of Meola’s previous record of goals against in a single season. If the White Puma can continue with this pace, the 2013 season should see Nielsen steal five more records from Meola, bringing Nielsen’s name to the top of seven of the 10 record categories for all-time goalkeeper leaders by the end of the year.

08 February 5:57 pm

Sporting Kansas City is gearing up for their first game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic against the Montreal Impact at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Last season, Sporting Kansas City lost only three of their 17 MLS regular season home matches and it was the Montreal Impact who handed SKC it’s first regular season home loss last season. Sporting KC returned the favor when the two teams played in Montreal, defeating the Impact 3-1, before ending the 2012 series (1-1-1) with a 0-0 draw at Stade Saputo. 

Both teams have made big moves in the offseason with Montreal acquiring a couple of players on loan and Sporting KC adding USMNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber, Designated Player Claudio Bieler and a handful of other new players. With the history between Sporting KC and Montreal building, the new guys are looking to prove themselves by leaving a mark on the game tomorrow at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.

Let’s take a look at a few of the new faces that will be on the pitch for Sporting Kansas City…

Josh Gardner
Gardner will be among the new guys in Sporting Blue trying to prove himself in tomorrow's match. You can bet he’ll be playing with extra intensity against the Impact considering Montreal traded Gardner to Sporting KC at the end of last year in return for a second round pick in this year's SuperDraft. In 2012, Gardner started five matches in Montreal after starting 21 of 22 matches for the Columbus Crew in 2011. He can play as both a defender and a midfielder but he made his preseason debut as a substitute at left back against FC Tucson. Both teams will keep a keene eye on Gardner throughout this match.

Benny Feilhaber
Feilhaber will be looking to leave a good impression with his teammates tomorrow as this will be Feilhaber’s first showing with Sporting KC this year as he has recently joined up with the team following a call from the U.S. Men’s National Team. Sporting Kansas City acquired Feilhaber from the New England Revolution in exchange for a couple of draft picks. Feilhaber is an experienced player that can play on either flank or centrally in the midfield. He has a knack for drawing fouls as well. Last season he suffered 70 fouls to tie for third most whistles drawn in MLS.

Claudio Bieler
Bieler got his feet wet in Sporting KC's last preseason match against the Portland Timbers. The Argentine forward started and played a solid 30 minutes for his new team before Soony Saad relieved him. Bieler is a goal scorer. In 2012, he scored 20 goals in 36 matches for LDU Quinto. Look for Bieler to be on the end of some dangerous plays against the Impact.

Ike Opara
Opara has seen action in all three preseason games to date.  He entered as a sub at center back for Aurelien Collin against FC Tucson and then moved up to start beside Collin on the back line against the Timbers. Opara is a young defender at 23 years old, but he comes to Sporting KC from the San Jose Earthquakes where he has spent the last three years, appearing in a total of 35 games for the Earthquakes. Opara might see his playing time go down against the Impact due to Matt Besler’s return from the U.S. Men’s National Team. 

Now a look at the new players that Montreal brings to the pitch…

Montreal

Andrés Romero
Romero is an Argentine forward that has spent the last year playing in both the first and second division in Brazil. Tombense FC loaned the young forward to the Impact for the duration of the 2013 season. The 23-year-old is a versatile player that likes to attack. This game will be his first with his new team.

Andrea Pisanu
The Italian midfielder joins the Impact on loan from Bologna FC this season. The 31-year-old has played with several teams throughout his career and has made 37 appearances in Serie B with three different teams.

Blake Smith
The Impact selected Smith as the eighth overall pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft. Smith is a 22-year-old midfielder coming off of a college career at the University of New Mexico. He recorded 13 goals and nine assists in 68 games at the collegiate level.

Watch Sporting Kansas City take on the Montreal Impact in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at www.Sportingkc.com/live and take a look at the new guys yourself.

04 February 6:39 pm

 

There are just 26 days left until the boys kick off their 2013 MLS campaign and that means preseason is in full effect. The team has been training hard and coming together nicely through the first phase of preseason these past couple weeks in Tucson and now they are back in KC and looking ahead. The team will switch their focus to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. The tournament will highlight the second phase of their preparation for the MLS season.

Six MLS teams will be participating in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic as well as one USL team and one NASL team. The teams have been separated into two groups. Toronto, Philadelphia, Columbus and Orlando City make up Group A while Sporting KC finds itself in Group B with D.C. United, Montreal, and Tampa Bay.

The team will play four games in the tourney. Sporting KC will take on two MLS foes in the Montreal Impact on Feb. 9 and D.C. United on Feb. 13. Then, Sporting KC will wrap up group play on the Feb. 16 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL. Sporting Kansas City will play their final game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Feb. 23 against the team in Group A that finishes in the same position that Sporting KC does respectively. The guys might be going to Disney, but the team is all business as these are their last games before the MLS season begins.

With this trip, Sporting KC will also see the return of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to the team, while newcomer Benny Feilhaber has already rejoined the squad from his stint with the United States Men's National Team. Besler and Zusi have been selcted to play for Jürgen Klinsmann and the USMNT in the final round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Honduras on Wednesday (3pm CT on beIN SPORT).

Manager Peter Vermes is more than ready to have them back and work them into the mix in Orlando. Check out the video below to hear what PV had to say about preseason in Kansas City and to get an inside look at the team as they prepare for their trip to Disney.