Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber and assistant coach John Pascarella were guests on this week's edition of The Sporting KC Show on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Coming off a thrilling 4-4 draw in Houston last weekend, the club now returns home to host rivals Chicago at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday at Sporting Park in a nationally televised match-up on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Feilhaber scored twice in the comeback, including a 95th-minute game-tying goal that is nominated for MLS Goal of the Week. Voting is open on MLSsoccer.com until 1:59 a.m. CT tonight.
Today is also the final opportunity for fans to participate in Feilhaber's "Master the Mane" initiative. The World Cup veteran is helping to raise money for The Victory Project by allowing fan donations to determine his hairstyle for Sunday's match. To cast a vote for The Mullet, The Bieber or The Mohawk, visit SportingKC.com/Benny and make a minimum $10 donation.
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes joined Sports Radio 810 WHB host Nate Bukaty on The Border Patrol earlier today to discuss Sporting KC's scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The full podcast is available below:
With the draw, Sporting KC heads into week seven of the MLS regular season tied for third place with only one loss in the team's first six games (2-1-3). The LA Galaxy trail by one point in the standings and are next up to host Sporting KC. Saturday's match will kick off at 9:30 p.m. CT at StubHub Center live on SKCTV across the Midwest.
The Sporting Club Network, presented by Price Chopper, has teamed up with Providence Medical Center for a new Team of the Game promotion. Providence Medical Center will reward youth soccer teams at each remaining Sporting Kansas City home match in 2015 for their hard work and dedication throughout the season.
Your team will have the chance to win this recognition starting April 11. Not only does Providence Medical Center’s Team of the Game receive 25 tickets, but they will also be recognized on field during pre-game!
Want to know how your team can become the Team of the Game?
In five words or less, tweet at @SportingKC_SCN and let us know why your team should be the Providence Medical Center’s Team of the Game. Whether there was a major accomplishment your team reached or there's a unique story to be told, we want to know why you deserve the title. At the beginning of each month, the Sporting Club Network will announce the Providence Medical Center Team of the Game for upcoming matches.
Ike Opara scores game-winning goal against New York City FC on March 28 (VIDEO)
Sporting Kansas City defender (and H&R Block tax pro) Ike Opara -- fresh off appearances on The SBI Show on Monday and MLSsoccer.com's ExtraTime Radio on Thursday -- was a guest on Sports Radio 810 WHB earlier this morning with The Border Patrol hosts Steven St. John, Nate Bukaty and Jake Gutierrez. Listen to the full podcast embedded below as Opara discusses his return from a season-ending injury in 2014, his thoughts on the Final Four and a debate over his own basketball abilities.
What are the chances we can get Ike Opara in next years Slam Dunk contest?
— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) March 30, 2015
Opara is off to a hot start to his 2015 campaign, scoring two goals and anchoring a backline that has posted back-to-back shutouts. He was named the SBIsoccer.com Player of the Month for March after securing a spot on MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week in three of the first four opportunities.
The 26-year-old leads MLS in interceptions (25) and aerial duels won (23), while ranking second among all players in total clearances (36).
Graham Zusi is throwing it back all the way to the 1960's. If you want to see these luscious locks in-person, you're in luck. Zusi and Chance Myers will be channeling their inner hippie on Friday at the Spencer Theatre. Our best mane duo will be in character at the KC Repertory's rendition of HAIR. The show will begin at 8 p.m. CT preceded by an autograph session and meet and greet in the theatre's lobby starting at 7 p.m. CT.
Get your tickets now to kick it with the guys and take a stroll back to the era that captured the essence of passion and brought rock music to the theatrical stage.
#canMNT starting XI: Borjan (GK); Ledgerwood, Jakovic, Edgar, de Jong; Piette, Ricketts, de Guzman (c), Bekker, Tissot; Haber.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) March 30, 2015
Sporting Kansas City defender Marcel de Jong starts for Canada today in his 33rd career international appearance. The Canadian Men's National Team takes on Puerto Rico at Estadio Juan Roman Loubriel in Bayamon to close out a training camp that also featured a 1-0 win over Guatemala last week.
Today's match -- streamed live below -- is Canada's final tune-up prior to the start of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualiying in June. Canada will play Dominica in a home-and-away series on June 8 and June 16 with the winner advancing to the third round of CONCACAF qualifying.
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.