Sporting Park had a few special guests on Wednesday night. Players from the Kansas City Chiefs showed up ready to enjoy the evening and cheer on their fellow Kansas City athletes.
From corner back Brandon Flowers to safety Eric Berry, several Kansas City Chiefs were among the stadium’s sold out crowd.
“It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun,” Chiefs’ safety Tysyn Hartman said of his first game in Sporting Park. “I’m enjoying it so far and learning a lot. I’ve been playing a lot of FIFA video games and started watching it on TV, so I’ve been learning more and more. It’s nice to come here and see it in person.”
Though considerably smaller in size than Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs thought the Sporting Park atmosphere was impressive and they had an extra special appreciation for the Cauldron.
“This is a great stadium,” defensive tackle Anthony Toribio said. “The fans are awesome, and, what do you call that? The ‘Blue Hell?’ Those fans are awesome. I want to be a part of that, seriously. It’s a really nice venue, good atmosphere, great night – I love it.”
The first time Toribio saw Sporting KC play was Sunday afternoon when Sporting defeated Chivas USA 4-0.
“Last Sunday was my first game here,” Toribio said, “and I said, ‘I have to come back.’ it’s pretty sweet.”
When it comes to favorite players, there were a few guys on Sporting KC’s squad that really stood out to these football pros.
“I’ve been told Zusi is the man, so I’ve been trying to watch him as much as I can,” Hartman said, “but number 3, Ike Opara, I’ve been watching him and he’s been playing really well.”
Defensive back Jalil Brown said he’s been to quite a few Sporting KC games, and when it comes to choosing a favorite player, picking just one isn’t easy.
“They’re all pretty exciting to watch,” Brown said. “C.J. (Sapong) is pretty cool, I’ve seen him play a couple of times, but I’d say all of them, as a whole, they’re a great team.”
After two good experiences at Sporting Park, Toribio said he’s officially become a fan of MLS.
“I don’t know a lot about Sporting KC since I follow the EPL a lot, Liverpool is my favorite team,” Toribio explained as he pointed down to the Liverpool jersey he was proudly wearing. “So I’m just now starting to get into MLS. It’s pretty exciting, and these guys are really good.”
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes joined The Border Patrol with Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John this morning on Sports Radio 810 WHB to discuss last night's match against the Seattle Sounders FC and the team's trip to Houston for Sunday's showdown with the Dynamo.
"With three games in eight days, we've got to get focused on Houston. But it was a tough one to swallow based on the fact that we gifted them the goal at the end there. A major blunder on our part defensively and it wasn't just from the throw-in. It was the play leading up to it, giving the ball away as we were attacking up the field -- just a big mistake on our part."
Given the quick turnaround, Vermes will put the team through training sessions on Friday and Saturday at the Sporting Club Training Center to prep for the trip to BBVA Compass Stadium.
"They're undefeated there -- it's not an easy place to play -- since they opened the place...They're actually on a bit of a roll at the moment. They're feeling it. They're a very confident team. So where it's going to be important for us, I truly believe that second balls in the game are going to be a big thing. They like to pump some balls forward and they like to win those second balls close to your box. And that's where they put you under pressure. The other is that they have two guys wide that have some good speed that are good in the counter. We're going to have to be alert to those two players."
Hear much more from Vermes -- including his thoughts on Graham Zusi's versatility, Matt Besler's injury and the Chiefs' Andy Reid -- in the full interview on 810whb.com.
Sporting KC suffered their fourth loss of the season as the Seattle Sounders scored a late game-winning goal at Sporting Park. Both teams made several lineup changes as they are each in the middle of three matches in eight days.
Man of the Match
Ike Opara started his second straight match in central defense and helped to shut down the Seattle attack for most of the match. Opara was acquired in the offseason and has added depth to an already strong backline. Opara led players in interceptions, clearances, and aerial duels won. With multiple competitions in the upcoming months and Matt Besler likely to be busy with the U.S. National Team, Opara is expected to play a major role for Sporting KC this summer.
Djimi Traore's goal in stoppage time was against the run of play. The final whistle was moments away but a defensive lapse allowed Seattle an opportunity that it converted. It was a tough way to lose a match but some credit has to be given to Seattle for defending well in the second half and limited Sporting KC's scoring opportunities.
A few stats
- Wednesday's match was the third consecutive match between the two sides in which a player was dismissed or ejected.
- The crowd of 18,602 is the 22nd consecutive sell-out at Sporting Park.
- Both of Seattle's game-winning goals at Sporting Park have been in stoppage time
- Sporting KC are currently winless in their last seven MLS matches against Seattle
It's an abundance of audio today. Earlier we posted about the Sporting KC Show and Kei Kamara on SiriusXM Sports, and now we've got more radio ready for your listening pleasure. Captain Jimmy Nielsen joined The Program with Soren Petro on Sports Radio 810 WHB while Aurelien Collin spoke with Jay Binkley and Henry Lake on The Day Shift on 610 Sports.
Collin and Nielsen were MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI selections in 2012 and have played every minute of every match for Sporting KC this season. See them in action tonight at Sporting Park as Sporting Kansas City hosts the Seattle Sounders FC at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices.
The third goal against Chivas USA on Sunday at Sporting Park was a combination of great passing, intelligent movement off the ball, and a clinical finish. It started with a check back by Claudio Bieler and ended with Graham Zusi scoring his third goal of the season.
For an in-depth look at the goal, check out MLSSoccer.com's "Anatamy of a Goal" below.
Player of the Week times two for Sporting KC.
One day after Graham Zusi was recognized as MLS Player of the Week, Dom Dwyer was named USL PRO Player of the Week for Week 7. Dwyer -- one of four Sporting Kansas City players currently on loan to USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC -- had a hat trick in Orlando City's 7-2 victory against Antigua Barracuda FC on Saturday to give him eight goals on the season, most in the league. Match highlights below...
The Lions are in first place in the 13-team USL PRO with a 5-1-1 record and a league-best 21 goals scored. They'll next face...the Seattle Sounders FC.
After Sporting Kansas City faces Seattle's first team tonight at Sporting Park, Orlando City SC will travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Sounders Reserves at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday. That match can be seen live on USLNation.com or follow @OrlandoCitySC for updates.
The Sporting KC Show aired live on Sports Radio 810 WHB from the 810 Zone in Leawood last night with hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards getting listeners ready for tonight's mid-week match-up with the Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Park. Cal spoke with the man of the moment, Kei Kamara, upon his return to Sporting KC on Monday, as well as Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson. Listen to those interviews and the full show online at 810whb.com.
Sports Radio 810 WHB will simulcast tonight's showdown -- a rematch of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final -- and will also air The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show live from the Boulevard Members Club immediately after the match. Call 913-3-810-810 to join the discussion and share your thoughts on all the action.
Kamara, who may be available for selection tonight in his first game back, was also a guest on SiriusXM Sports yesterday with JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola. Listen to the "Counter Attack" segment below...
To preview the midweek clash between Sporting Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders, I interviewed SB Nation and MLSSoccer.com writer Jeremiah Oshan.
What's been the main reason for Seattle struggling offensively (5 goals through 7 matches)?
"The biggest thing has to be the lack of continuity, especially in the attacking core of the team. Mauro Rosales is the only attacking player who has played in every game. Shalrie Joseph has only played in two games. Eddie Johnson has only played in four games. Lamar Neagle has played in three games. Zakuani has played but missed a couple games. Even Osvaldo Alonso has missed a game (Sunday at Philadelphia). Everyone has missed a bunch of games. It's not just that they are missing games it's that a lot of these players haven't really had any significant training time together. You just have key pieces on this team, the guys that were expected to score a lot of goals, that haven't been able to get any continuity. Most of that's injuries but there's been national team call-ups and other things. I would think that once these guys actually train together for a few weeks at a time that things will get better but that was supposed to happen in the bye week and guys got hurt."
What are your thoughts on Sporting Kansas City?
"They are clearly a very good team and I have to imagine they're one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to the MLS Cup at this point."
How do you think Seattle will approach Wednesday's match?
"I think that they view it as maybe not a must win game but I definitely think that its a game that they realize they need to get some points from. There's going to be some missing pieces again. DeAndre Yedlin and Lamar Neagle are out with red cards. Shalrie Joseph didn't travel. Oba Martins didn't travel. Steve Zakuani didn't travel. It's a short-handed team yet again but I think that they are beyond the point of relying on that as kind of an excuse. This is a team that built a pretty deep squad. I think they are definitely going into this game trying to get points. They've played reasonably well at Kansas City. They haven't lost in regulation in the two games they've played at Sporting Park. I would imagine that they'll probably come into it with a similar attitude that they came in with the 2011 game when they got a couple late goals to win it."
What do you expect for Wednesday's match?
"It's probably not going to be a pretty match from the Sounders perspective. I would imagine that they are probably going to cede a lot of possession and they'll probably going to be looking to get out on the counter more."
"My assumption would be that they'll (Seattle) keep it pretty tight. They're going to try to not get caught up in the high pressure from Sporting Kansas City, and try to exploit the high line."
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes was a guest on Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis on Tuesday night, discussing Kei Kamara's return and the evolution of Sporting Kansas City he became head coach in 2009. Click here to listen to the segment on ESPN 97.5 Houston ahead of the team's trip to take on the Dynamo this Sunday.
With the Sporting's 4-0 win over Chivas USA on Sunday, Vermes recorded his 50th regular season victory as KC's manager to tie Ron Newman for the second most in club history. Vermes, who will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame later this year, also moved into the Top 20 for wins among MLS coaches all-time...
Former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza scored his first goal in the English Premier League on Tuesday, striking in first half stoppage time for Wigan Athletic in a 3-2 loss to Swansea City. Check out the volley below...
Espinoza was selected by Kansas City in the first round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft out of Ohio State University and played five seasons in KC before leaving for England in January. The Honduran international appeared in 120 MLS matches for Sporting KC and was a 2012 MLS All-Star.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 7, 2013