Currently, five Sporting Kansas City players (Besler, Zusi, Sinovic, Feilhaber, Myers) are in southern California participating in the U.S. Men's National Team January camp. The camp includes 26 players, many from MLS, and will culminate on February 2nd with a friendly against Korea Republic.
Check out the video below as Besler, Zusi, and USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann share their thoughts on the camp.
It's only two months away until Sporting Kansas City kicks off the 2014 Major League Soccer season against the Seattle Sounders. The team will begin the MLS campaign in early March and conclude in late October as they aim to repeat as MLS Cup Champions.
Here a few matches to circle on your calendar this season.
Sporting KC at Seattle Sounders (March 8 - 3 p.m. CT - NBC Sports Network)
A great way to kick off the MLS season as this match will feature two of the most talented squads in MLS including USMNT regulars Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Matt Besler, and Graham Zusi.
Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake (April 5 - 7:30 p.m. CT - KMCI-TV)
An early season rematch of MLS Cup 2013 in which RSL will be looking for revenge at Sporting Park.
Sporting KC at Houston Dynamo (June 6 - 7:30 p.m. CT - KMCI-TV)
These two teams have built up one of the best rivalries in MLS and it's always a fiercely contested matchup.
Sporting KC vs LA Galaxy (July 19 - 6 p.m. CT - ESPN2)
The previous two MLS Cup champions meet in one of the marquee matches of the summer.
Sporting KC vs New York Red Bulls (October 26 - 7:30 p.m. CT - ESPN)
The regular season finale against the top two sides in the East from 2013 could have playoff and/or Supporters' Shield implications.
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? Let us know by selecting your choice with the poll below.
As part of MLSsoccer.com's Best of 2013, the nominees for for the Moment of the Year have been announced. There are numerous moments nominated which include New York winning the Supporters' Shield, two expansion franchises announced for 2015, D.C. United winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Sporting Kansas City being crowned 2013 MLS Cup Champions.
You can cast your vote for Sporting KC's MLS Cup victory using the poll below or at MLSsoccer.com. Voting is open through Friday, December 27 evening with the winner to be announced on Monday, December 30.
On Monday, Sporting Kansas City announced the club had acquired goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum from Columbus in exchange for a 2016 SuperDraft pick.
Gruenebaum is a Kansas City native who went to high school at Blue Valley North. After finishing an impressive career with the Mustangs, Gruenebaum played at the University of Kentucky earning All-Conference honors (Conference USA) and a career goals against average of 0.91. Following his time at Kentucky, Gruenebaum was drafted by Columbus where he's posted a career goals against average of 1.29 and 18 shutouts in 79 starts.
His breakout season was in 2012 in which he was named Columbus' starting goalkeeper and and finished fifth in MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting. In the 2013 season, he continuned his good form early in the season but was sidelined for a majority of the second half due to injuries.
- Pronunciation: GREEN-uh-BOHM
- Has a pet bunny named "Roo" which he regular posts about on twitter
- Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
- Played soccer at Blue Valley North where he helped lead the team to a 6A State Title in 2000
- Earned the nickname "The Hebrew Hammer" while playing collegiately at Kentucky
- Was named MVP of the 2005 PDL Championship match while playing for the Des Moines Menace
MLS Career Stats
As the teams of SKC Nation prepare to do battle on the soccer field during the inaugural Truce Tournament this coming Thursday, the National World War I Museum has opened their doors to educate every one on the story behind this event – the Christmas Truce.
Come out to the museum this Sunday, December 22nd at 2pm for a special screening of the 2005 Oscar-nominated film Joyeux Noël in J.C. Nichols Auditorium. The French film recreates the events of the 1914 Christmas Truce , focusing on a section of the Western Front where French, Scottish and German soldiers put down their arms to celebrate a moment of peace in a time of war. This event is entirely free to the public.
Besides the film showing, you still have your chance to take part in The Truce, even if you aren’t one of the lucky teams participating. Inside the museum during The Truce, fans can join in on our EPL Watch Party, which will include complimentary breakfast and Boulevard beer for all attendees. Simply visit www.TheTruce.splashthat.com to order your EPL Watch Party ticket while they still last!
On December 13, Sporting Kansas City acquired attacking midfielder Sal Zizzo from the Portland Timbers in exchange for allocation money.
Along with Sporting KC players Chance Myers and Benny Feilhaber, Zizzo played collegiately at UCLA. After playing two seasons at UCLA, Zizzo featured for the United States Men's U-20 team at the 2007 World Cup (reached quarterfinals). HIs performance at that tournament helped lead to an opportunity to play in Europe for German side Hannover 96.
After a three year stint in Germany, Zisso returned to the United States and was acquired by Chivas USA through a weighted lottery in July 2010. The midfielder joined Portland the following February via a trade and played 50 matches for the club in three seasons.
- Pronunciation: ZEE-zoh
- Full first name is Salvatore
- Hometown & Birthplace: San Diego, Calif.
- Last Club: Portland Timbers FC (MLS)
- Started a food truck called "Zizzo FC" in Portland
- Named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2005
- Four-year letterman in baseball at Patrick Henry HS
- Twitter: @SalZizzo
MLS Career Stats
Be sure to check out a brand new episode of The Sporting KC Show tonight from 7-8 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards, and Carter Augustine. The guys will be discussing Sporting KC's MLS Cup victory on Saturday over Real Salt Lake along with the latest Major League Soccer news. Live coverage of the show is available on locally on radio at 810 AM, online at 810WHB.com, or through the free 810 WHB Mobile App (iOS, Android).
Aurelien Collin was named MVP of MLS Cup 2013 for good reason. The Sporting Kansas City defender scored the game-tying goal in the second half and converted the decisive penalty in the shootout. It's been quite a playoff run for the Frenchman in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. Let's take a closer look at Collin's stats during Sporting KC's run to lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy at Sporting Park.
|Stat||#||Rank (during playoffs)|
Here's another look at Collin's header to make it 1-1 and the winning penalty during the shootout.
Go in-depth behind Sporting Kansas City's MLS Cup 2013 victory over Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park on Saturday with the match's fast facts.
- Sporting Kansas City defeated Real Salt Lake in penalty kicks to secure the MLS Cup championship.
- Sporting Park has hosted championship matches each of the last two years and Sporting Kansas City have prevailed in penalty kicks on both occasions.
- Saturday marked the first time in MLS history that two former MLS players met as coaches in MLS Cup.
- Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes is the first person to win MLS Cup as a player and a manager with the same team. Vermes helped the 2000 team hoist the trophy, anchoring the Sporting KC backline and earning Defender of the Year that season.
- Peter Nowak is the only other person to have won MLS Cup as a player and manager, winning the Cup in 1998 while playing for the Chicago Fire and then leading D.C. United to the title in 2004 as manager.
- Sporting KC is 9-5-3 all-time against Real Salt Lake and has lost at home only once in the series (2009).
- Saturday was the first postseason meeting between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City.
- Saturday marked the first time Real Salt Lake has scored at Sporting Park in three trips.
- Saturday's match (Dec. 7) was the latest in the year in MLS history.
- Saturday marked the third time that Sporting KC advanced to the MLS Cup final in team history (2000, 2004, 2013). Sporting KC has played the third most postseason games (42) among all teams in MLS history behind the Chicago Fire (43) and LA Galaxy (64).
- Since 1998, Sporting Kansas City has only one home playoff loss: a 2-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Championship in 2011. The team is 13-1-2 at home over that span.
- Sporting Kansas City has played 45 games in all competition this season (MLS, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League).
- Sporting KC has lost only one match by more than one goal across 45 games in all competition.
- Sporting KC has held opponents to a goal or fewer in 31 of the team's 39 MLS matches this season.
- Sporting Kansas City got a result for the first time when trailing at the 75th minute in 2013 MLS competition (including playoffs). The team was 0-10-0 prior to MLS Cup when trailing in the 75th minute.
- Paulo Nagamura leads all Sporting KC players with 14 postseason appearances and is only player on the team's roster to have played in two MLS Cups (2005, 2013).
- Seth Sinovic has started and played every minute in each of the team's last 21 MLS matches, the longest active games played streak on the team. Sinovic leads all Sporting KC players with 3,703 minutes played in all competition this season.
- Six Sporting KC players have started all 10 of the team's playoff matches in the last three seasons: Jimmy Nielsen, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi.
- Dom Dwyer is the first player to play in the USL Pro Championship and the MLS Cup in the same season. He started and won both matches.
- Dom Dwyer led all MLS players with eight shots on goal in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Jimmy Nielsen's 0.84 goals against average in the postseason is fourth best in MLS history among goalkeepers with 300 minutes played.
- Aurelien Collin (36) and Matt Besler (25) lead all players in the postseason in interceptions.
- Oriol Rosell exited the match in the eighth minute with a sprained left ankle.
- Lawrence Olum replaced Rosell, marking the earliest substitution in MLS history during the postseason.
- Vermes led the second youngest roster in MLS to MLS Cup.
- Saturday marked the second time Real Salt Lake appeared in MLS Cup in team history (2009, 2013).
- Seven current members of Real Salt Lake were on the 2009 MLS Cup winning squad, with six in the starting lineup (Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Robbie Findley, Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales).
- Sporting Kansas City conceded the first goal in the match on Saturday in the 52nd minute.
- Aurelien Collin equalized for Sporting KC in the 76th minute. Collin's goal was a header that converted Graham Zusi's corner kick.
- Zusi becomes Sporting KC's all-time leader with five postseason assists.
- Collin has scored three goals during the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs, most among any other player in Major League soccer this season.
- Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando have played every minute of all 19 playoff games in Real Salt Lake team history.
- Nick Rimando led MLS with two penalty kicks saved in the 2013 regular season. Rimando only made one save on Saturday during the penalty kick shootout.
- Saturday marks the first time MLS Cup was held in Kansas City. Sporting Park is the first stadium to host the MLS All-Star Game, U.S. Men's National Team and MLS Cup in the same year.
- Saturday's match was the 36th consecutive MLS sell out at Sporting Park dating back to 2012.
- Attendance on Saturday was 21,650, tying the venue record set in the Eastern Conference Championship.
- Real Salt Lake had the most penalty kick goals (6) among all MLS teams in the 2013 regular season, but missed four of the team's 10 penalty kicks in Saturday's shootout.
- Since 2011, Sporting KC led MLS with 214 successful corners into the penalty area in the regular season and Sporting KC also led MLS with a 29.94% accuracy rate on crosses/corners in the 2013 regular season. Sporting Kansas City's lone goal in MLS Cup 2013 came on a successful corner into the penalty area.
- Sporting KC led MLS with 450 chances created (incl. assists) in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC led MLS with 101 chances created from set play in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Since 2011, Sporting KC leads MLS with 33 goal assists from set play in MLS competition (including playoffs).
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 599 shots in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 4,737 duels and 2,395 duels won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 1,498 aerials and 826 aerials won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 840 tackles and 647 tackles won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 1,294 clearances (incl. punches) and 819 headed clearances in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- MLS Cup 2013 was C.J. Sapong's 100th game played in MLS competition (including playoffs).
- Chance Myers celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday.
- Real Salt Lake had no shots on goal in the first half on Saturday.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 946 interceptions in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC led MLS with 92 headed shots and 14 headed goals during the regular season. Sporting KC leads MLS with 41 headed shots on goal in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 584 fouls conceded and 508 fouls won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC leads MLS with 73 cautions in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Aurelien Collin leads MLS with 15 cautions in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Saturday was the longest penalty kick shootout in MLS history requiring 10 shooters.
- Aurelien Collin's 347 clearances, 297 duels won, 258 headed clearances and 165 aerials won are most in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Aurelien Collin's 153 interceptions are most in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013. Oriol Rosell ranks second with 149.
- Graham Zusi's 154 corners in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 are most in MLS, including a league high 55 successful corners into the penalty area.
- His 99 successful crosses/corners in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 also lead the league.
- Graham Zusi leads MLS with 60 chances created from set play in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
- Sporting KC had 56 percent of the possession on Saturday to Real Salt Lake's 44 percent.
- Sporting Kansas City was second in possession with 55.25% in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013, trailing only Real Salt Lake (55.26%).
- Since 2011, RSL (54.64%) and Sporting KC (53.08%) rank first and second in possession in MLS competition (including playoffs).
- Sporting KC (21) and Real Salt Lake (17) led all playoff teams in headed shots in the postseason. No other team had more than 10.
- Since 2011, Sporting KC led MLS with 229 chances created from set play in the regular season. Real Salt Lake ranked second with 185.
- Since 2011, Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 183 cautions in MLS competition (including playoffs). Sporting KC trails with 182.
- Since 2011, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City have had the two best defenses in Major League Soccer among teams that competed all three seasons. Sporting Kansas City (106) and Real Salt Lake (122) have allowed the fewest goals in MLS competition (including playoffs). Sporting KC (1,028) and Real Salt Lake (1,150) also had the fewest shots faced in the regular season.
- Sporting KC has won the most MLS matches (including playoffs) of all teams in 2013 with 19 victories.
- Sporting Kansas City lead all 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs teams with 98 shots in the postseason. Real Salt Lake finished in second with 67.
- Saturday marked the first time Kansas City had to take penalty kicks to determine a match winner during playoffs since 1996.
- Three Pearl Harbor survivors were honored on the field before the match.
- Saturday was the coldest day on record in MLS history at 20 degrees.
- Sporting Kansas City won their second MLS Cup, the club's first since 2000. It was their third appearance in the MLS championship game.
- Sporting Kansas City is now tied for the third most league titles among MLS teams behind LA Galaxy and D.C. United.
- MLS Cup was decided by a penalty shootout for a third time (also: 2006, 2009). Real Salt Lake are the only team to have been involved in two MLS Cup shootouts.
- At 10 rounds (20 penalty kicks), it was the longest penalty shootout in MLS Cup history, and the longest penalty shootout ever in any MLS match.
- MLS Cup went into extra time for an eighth time, the first time since 2010.
- Aurelien Collin was named the Volkswagen MLS Cup 2013 MVP. It was the second consecutive year a defender was named MLS Cup MVP (Omar Gonzalez, LA); they are the only two defenders to win the honor in the 18 MLS Cups.
- Vermes became the fifth former player to win MLS Cup as a head coach [also: Jason Kreis (2009); Dominic Kinnear (2006, '07); Peter Nowak (2004); Frank Yallop (2001, '03)].
- RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was in his fourth penalty shootout in an MLS game in his career. In penalty shootouts, 12 of 30 attempts have not scored (8 saved, 2 high, 1 wide, 1 crossbar).
- Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was in his first shootout in an MLS match. Sporting won the 2012 U.S. Open Cup in a penalty shootout vs. Seattle Sounders FC, who converted two of five penalties vs. Nielsen (2 high, 1 saved).
- Real Salt Lake hit the woodwork three times (Findley, 29', R post; Beckerman, 62', R post; Morales, 73', L post) - the most of any team ever in an MLS Cup Final.
- Real Salt Lake became the first team to lose both MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup final in the same season. RSL was the 11th team to play in both finals in the same year.
- MLS Cup was scoreless at halftime for the fifth time (previously: '02, '05, '06, '11).
- For the ninth time in 18 finals, and the sixth time in the last eight finals, the team that scored first did not win MLS Cup.
- Game time temperature was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the coldest MLS Cup Final in history, and the coldest recorded temperature at kickoff of any game in MLS history.
For this week's Prep Talk, I spoke with ESPNFC.com's Jeff Carlisle.
What are your thoughts on Real Salt Lake and their run to MLS Cup?
I think the big reason why Salt Lake has made it this far has been the return of Chris Schuler. RSL always had talent, especially on the attacking end, but this season they were missing something in the back. I think his physicality, his presence, and his ability on set pieces has given the team more balance.
What are your thoughts on Sporting Kansas City and their run to MLS Cup?
SKC has been knocking on the door for a while now and finally broke through to the championship game. Now they have a chance to go all the way. A big difference has been Benny Feilhaber. Not only has he dished out some sublime assists, but you see him tracking back into his own penalty area to win the ball. That defensive attention is something that had been missing from his game, and speaks to his improvement.
What do you see as the key matchups/factors for Saturday's match?
I think the key match ups are in midfield. Will Benny Feilhaber be able to shake loose from Kyle Beckerman, and on the other end will Javier Morales be able to find the spaces, either centrally or out wide, to be able to influence the RSL attack. Also look for Robbie Findley's speed to stretch SKC's defense. That will open things up for Morales to operate.
What are you expecting to see from Saturday's match?
I think it will be a contest of wills in midfield. Can SKC disrupt RSL's possession game and dictate the temp? RSL will try to play their game as well. I think RSL has a smidgen more experience that will come in handy.