Photo by Gary Rohman
Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler was a guest on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning, joining The Border Patrol hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John to discuss Saturday's match at New York City FC (6 p.m. CT on SKCTV) and his alma mater Notre Dame taking on Wichita State in the Sweet Sixteen.
On the opportunity to play at Yankee Stadium...
"I can not wait. I think it's going to be awesome. (It's) one of the most historical stadiums in the world. We get to experience it and play there. I am really looking forward to it."
On the reduced field dimensions...
"It's a factor. Again, we're going to try to turn it and play it into a positive for us. The way that NYCFC plays right now is they keep a lot of possession. They like to keep the ball on the ground. With a smaller field though, it allows us to pressure the ball. And that's one of our strengths. When we're on our game and we're working hard and pressuring, there are not a whole lot of teams that can keep the ball against us. That's how we feel. We're going to go up there and try to use the field to our advantage to disrupt their rhythym."
On aiming for team's first win...
"There's definitely some urgency to get some points, we all realize that. In no way are we panicking. It's still so early in the season. It would be great to be sitting on nine points right now, but we're not. The great thing is we've seen improvement with our performances. Last Saturday against Portland was a great sign. If we can play like that and create the chances that we created, more times than not we're going to win games and we're going to be just fine."
On the fans support...
"Our fans are unbelievable. They show up every week and give everything they have. Last Saturday, it felt like a different atmosphere. When the ball went out of bounds for a corner kick, you could just feel the energy in the stadium pick up because everyone believed we were going to create a chance. More times than not on those set pieces, we did. For whatever reason, the ball just didn't want to go in."
On preparing to face David Villa...
"He is really shifty. He's not the biggest guy. He's probably not the fastest guy either. But his center of gravity is low. He's got unbelievable balance. And he can go either way. As a defender, that's sometimes some of the hardest people to guard...With David Villa, he's very unpredictable. Because he so's talented, he can do a lot of different things. That's what makes him difficult."
Sporting Kansas City defender Jalil Anibaba was a guest on The Sporting KC Show last night, joining hosts Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine at Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen to discuss the team's draw against the Portland Timbers last weekend and to preview Saturday's match at New York City FC. Listen to the full podcast embedded below and available each week on 810whb.com.
Anibaba -- acquired in the offseason from the Seattle Sounders -- was one of three players to make their Sporting KC debuts in the scoreless draw along with Servando Carrasco and Soni Mustivar.
On the defensive end, he contributed to the club's first shutout of the season by winning seven of his nine duels (including all four aerials) with three clearances, two interceptions, two recoveries and one tackle won. Offensively, he led all players with three shots while also logging 66 touches, 29 successful passes and two dribbles completed.
His performance earned the praise of Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes and fellow defender Ike Opara.
Photos by Jamila St. Ann
Sporting Kansas City continued preparation today for the team's first-ever trip to Yankee Stadium, where they will take on Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday live on SKCTV. Check out the slideshow above -- courtesy of Jamila St. Ann -- with images from today's training session at Swope Soccer Village.
Saturday's match will be the focus of tonight's Sporting KC Show from 7-8 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Hosts Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine will be joined by Sporting KC defender Jalil Anibaba during the show, which will air live from Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen at the Legends (1859 Village West Parkway) in Kansas City, Kansas. Tune in on 810 AM, 810whb.com or via the station's free mobile app and join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.
Sporting Kansas City was off on Wednesday and so were students across the Midwest. The KCMO school district is in the midst of Spring Break, but World Cup veteran and Notre Dame pre-med graduate Matt Besler knows that every day counts in the quest to get better. Besler hosted a STEM in Sports clinic in conjunction with Time Warner Cable for children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City. The students learned about science and math while having fun on the soccer field.
After Besler demonstrated the Magnus effect with throw-ins and corner kicks, Sporting KC head fitness coach Mateus Manoel spoke to the group about how the team incorporates technology into the players' training, treatment, hydration and diet. To end the fun-filled day of activities, the students received a guided tour of Sporting Park to learn about the engineering entailed in designing a soccer-specific stadium.
Wednesday wasn't the last time they'll be able to see the unique infastructure inside the start-of-the-art stadium. Each student received a prize pack that included a pair of tickets to Sporting Kansas City's home match against the Philadelphia Union on April 5.
Listen to the latest edition of The Sporting KC Show embedded below as hosts Dave Borchardt, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine were joined by Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury and Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin for last night's episode on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Once teammates in Kansas City, Jewsbury and Zavagnin previewed this Saturday's match-up at Sporting Park.
Jewsbury -- a Missouri native -- played his first eight professional seasons in KC after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He is one of only six active MLS players to appear in more than 300 regular season matches and has been a member of the Timbers since their inaugural MLS season in 2011. Only Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe have more MLS appearances for the club.
A limited number of tickets remain available, including standing room only tickets, via Ticketmaster.com for Saturday and the first 10,000 fans inside the gates will receive Sporting KC flags courtesy of H&R Block.
A new edition of The Sporting KC Show aired on Sports Radio 810 WHB tonight as hosts Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine discussed Sporting KC's 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls and looked ahead to Saturday's match at FC Dallas. This week's episode was highlighted by interviews with defender Ike Opara -- who scored on Sunday in his return from a season-ending injury in 2014 -- and FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead.
Listen to the show in its entirety below...
In addition, Manager Peter Vermes was a guest on The Program with Sports Radio 810 WHB's Soren Petro on Monday. Vermes spoke in-depth about a variety of topics, ranging from the result against the Red Bulls to the debuts of Luis Marin and Krisztian Nemeth to the scouting work involved at the youth levels through the Sporting KC Academy.
Hear those comments and more in the 23-minute segment below...
— Track Sweeper (@TrackSweeper) March 8, 2015
Sporting KC captain Matt Besler (shown on right at Sporting EVOLUTION) joined The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB on Friday morning. Hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John welcomed the World Cup veteran in studio for a 25-minute interview, available for listeners below.
Besler enters his eighth professional season and leads all current Sporting KC players with 181 appearances across all competition for the club. The Overland Park, Kansas native has started each of the team's last five season openers and is set to his lead his side onto the field this Sunday when Sporting Kansas City welcomes the New York Red Bulls for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff at Sporting Park.
Later on Friday, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman was a guest on Between the Lines with Kevin Kietzman. The two discussed the team's 20th season including developments on and off the field, as well as the recent agreement reached with the MLS Players Union for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A limited number of tickets are available for Sunday via Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices on gameday. The match will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes with radio coverage available locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).
— Matt Besler (@MattBesler) March 6, 2015
Sporting Kansas City added four match times -- all originally announced as TBD -- to the team's 2015 schedule this week. The below matches will kick off at the following times based on local, regional and national television broadcast agreements:
- March 28 at New York City FC: 6 p.m. CT
- May 23 at Seattle Sounders FC: 9 p.m. CT
- July 12 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 8 p.m. CT
- Aug. 8 at Toronto FC: 3 p.m. CT
In addition, a change was made last month to move the start time for Sporting Kansas City's home match on Aug. 15 against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC to an 8 p.m. CT kick off -- 30 minutes later than previously scheduled, in order to accomodate TSN and RDS (Major League Soccer's national broadcast partners in Canada).
Match times are now set for all 34 regular season matches (subject to change) during Sporting Kansas City's 2015 MLS season. Visit SportingKC.com/schedule for additional information and click here to download the team's matches to your personal calendar(s).
The first 10,000 fans at Sporting Kansas City's home opener on March 8 will receive the team's 2015 schedule magnet courtesy of Dairy Farmers of America. A limited number of tickets remain available via Ticketmaster.com.