Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Friday at Sporting Park. Voting is open through Monday.
Sporting Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Kansas City are kicking off Rally with the Roos month in August with a fan sweepstakes, sponsored by UMKC. Ten winners will receive two Sporting Kansas City tickets with all inclusive food and beverage, one parking pass, two Rally with the Roos t-shirts and one team-signed soccer ball! Enter to win online at SportingKC.com/RallyWithTheRoos from August 1st at 10:00 a.m. through August 31st at 11:59 p.m. CT.
On Thursday, Graham Zusi joined The Program with Soren Petro on Sports Radio 810 WHB to discuss an eventful month for the Sporting KC midfielder that included a knockout round match in the World Cup (July 1), an MLS match five days later, an All-Star selection, a Designated Player contract and a goal in Toronto to move Sporting KC atop the Supporters' Shield standings.
Next up? Tomorrow's Eastern Conference encounter with the Philadelphia Union (7 p.m. CT on NBC Sports, 810 AM & 1340 AM) at Sporting Park before departing for the 2014 MLS All-Star Game on August 6.
Zusi touched on a number of topics throughout the 16-minute interview. Listen to the full podcast embedded below for the following excerpts, as well as his timeline for the United States Men's National Team to win their first World Cup and the mystery surrounding how a postgame jersey exchange led to a hotel room theft.
On his decision to re-sign with Sporting KC...
"It's the direction this club is headed. You've seen over the past four years now what it's done for the city and the vision hasn't stopped there. Our ownership group is probably the best in sports. Their vision is incredible. They have stuff planned out in the next couple years that I want to be part of."
On his experience in Brazil...
"The experience itself was an incredible one for me. To be matched up against the best players in the world, especially against Germany as the eventual winners, it really gives you a bar that you can set and something you can really work towards. You have to be honest with yourself at the end of the day. I was able to do that and know that I'm not there yet. It really gives me something to work towards on that front."
On the United States progress at the international level...
"I think we're well on the way and definitely headed in the right direction. I think Jurgen has done a great job so far with implementing what we need to do to get to that level. He's been very honest with the U.S. fans along with the players, telling us what we need to do to one day be competing against the Germany's and the Brazil's. What we saw from this tournament is we're certainly capable of it. We can hang with some of the best teams in the world on a given day. What we want to do now is do that on a consistent basis every time we're up against them."
On Sporting KC's remaining schedule...
"The second half of the season is always a grind. There's jostling for the playoff positions. We have a team tomorrow in Philly who has always played us well and especially at home. We definitely owe them one. They came in and kind of took it to us last time they were here in Kansas City; definitely not a team to take lightly...At this point of the season, we're sitting in a great spot at the top of the table. Every time we can put another three points up there and distance ourselves, especially from the people in our own conference, that's what it is all about."
Sporting Kansas City winger Jacob Peterson -- the game-winning goal scorer in last weekend's 2-1 win at Toronto FC -- and Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu joined this week's episode of The Sporting KC Show, which aired last night on Sports Radio 810 WHB and is embedded in its entirety below. Hosts Callum Williams and Carter Augustine interviewed both players in advance of Friday's Eastern Conference clash.
The Union have just one loss in their last 10 games across all competition and have proven to be a thorn in SKC's side at Sporting Park. The reigning MLS Cup champions have suffered only two losses in their last 21 MLS and CCL home matches dating back to last year, both of which came against Philadelphia.
Riding a seven-game unbeaten streak, Sporting KC will aim for sole possession of first place in the Supporters' Shield standings with a result on Friday. A limited number of tickets are still available on Ticketmaster.com and the first 10,000 fans inside the gates will receive a pair of Sporting KC spirit sleeves courtesy of UMB Bank. Not able to attend? The match will be televised nationally on NBC Sports, with additional radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).
The results are in and MLSsoccer.com readers resoundingly voted for tomorrow's #TORvSKC match-up as the MLS Stream of the Week (6 p.m. CT live on KMCI 38 the Spot and SKCTV). Sporting KC takes a four-game road winning streak into BMO Field to face Toronto FC, who boasts the second-highest attendance average in Major League Soccer this season.
In the previous meeting between the two Eastern Conference contenders, Dom Dwyer (14g, 0a) scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Sporting Park in May. His English counterpart Jermain Defoe (11g, 2a) will miss Saturday's rematch due to caution accumulation and, in his place, Toronto FC could turn to former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario. A six-time member of the MLS Best XI, De Rosario ranks sixth on Major League Soccer's all-time goal scoring chart with 103 goals.
Check out the video below from MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle for their thoughts on the major storylines to watch...
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to include seven-a-side rugby, also known as Sevens Rugby, as an Olympic sport. With the sport debuting in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and rugby becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club and Sporting Club Network partnered to start the Sporting Club Rugby Sevens Academy to work as a feeder system for the U.S. National Olympic Rugby Sevens team. As part of USA Rugby, these teams from KC Blues and Sporting Club Rugby Sevens Academy have been able to compete in tournaments around the Midwest against other professional Sevens Rugby teams.
The Kansas City Blues Rugby Club is part of the new Frontier Sevens Region of USA Rugby. The Frontier Region has three major tournaments for their qualifiers for the Sevens Club Nationals. The first of the three qualifiers this year was the Denver Sevens in Colorado on June 21st. The tournament was made up of six divisions, including 69 teams from around the Midwest, of which Kansas City Blues and Sporting Club had four teams in three divisions. The KC Blues Premier squad was in the Men’s Qualifier Division and placed third behind Denver and Glendale, while the KC Blues Reserve team played in the Men’s Social Division (finishing 7th) and Sporting Club Rugby Sevens Academy had two teams in the Collegiate Men’s Division. Sporting Club’s White team won the division by beating Colorado State University in comeback fashion with a final score of 26-12, while the Sporting Club Blue team suffered a narrow defeat in the to Air Force in the third place game.
In the most recent Sevens Rugby tournament on Saturday, July 12th, the KC Blues hosted the Heartland 7’s Qualifier. The event included 26 teams throughout three divisions, which were all won by KC Blues or Sporting Club teams. The Blues Premier squad beat Glendale Raptors 31-12 to take the Qualifiers Championship and move atop the qualifier standings with eight points. Meanwhile in the Men’s Open Division, the KC Blues Reserve side managed to pull out a close win over Sporting Club 7’s Rugby Collegiate Academy, a team made up of players from universities around the Greater Kansas City Area. In the High School Division, Sporting Club Sevens Rugby High School Academy outscored Cougars RFC 41-15 in the championship game to win the tournament.
The success from each of these teams has KC Blues and Sporting Club excited for a bright future in Sevens Rugby going into the last two years of Olympic qualifiers. For more information on the Kansas City Blues upcoming tournaments, click here. Also, don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all things Sporting Club Network.
Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday at Sporting Park. Voting is open through Sunday evening.