Crystle Lampitt, host of 38 The Spot, interviewed Sporting KC's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to wrap up the 2014 season. Lampitt explores the origin of both players soccer carreers and their major milestones along the way to stardom for club and country.
View the full interview, which aired this morning on KC Live, below:
The final Sporting KC Show of 2014 aired last night on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams and Carter Augustine wrapping up a season that stretched 43 games from March thru October. The 45-minute podcast is embedded below and features interviews with Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic and assistant coach John Pascarella.
Pascarella, who joined the club's technical staff prior to the 2009 season, shared his thoughts on the busy offseason ahead and the experience Sporting KC gained from the adversity faced in 2014.
On how he will spend the coming weeks...
A lot of combines, a lot of watching videos, a lot of preparing for the different drafts that are coming up. Whether it's the dispersal draft with the players from Chivas USA coming out or the different re-entry drafts with the free agents and especially, one of my big areas of focus, is the college draft. We have two first round picks this year, so we're hoping to make those count and continue to get some good players through the MLS draft. And then it's evaluating what happened over this past year. Every year brings obstacles. Every year brings its adversity. We had some adversity over the last few years. But it's a little bit different than the type of adversity that we encountered this year.
On how 2014 differed from previous seasons...
The adversity we faced a couple of years ago was one in which we were climbing and we were almost there but we didn't quite reach the summit. So we got knocked down a peg. And then we had to do it again and we got knocked down a peg. Then we had to do it again, so we were a team that were fairly experienced at that type of adversity. But then we turn around and we won it last year and the adversity we faced this year -- we had injuries in the other years, we had fixture congestion the other years -- but the adversity that I think was difficult for us to handle was being able to deal with being champions and everybody giving you their best game. Are you going to be competitive enough in every single match? Are you going to be able to deal with that type of adversity as the champion? In that respect, we weren't experienced at it. We are now because we've gone through a year of having been champions and gotten knocked off of our throne. But I think it's something from which we'll all learn from. The coaches will learn from it. I think the players will learn from it. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. From that perspective, I think it's going to be a great offseason and I think it's going to be a great preseason. I look forward to watching the team play next year.
The Sporting KC Show season finale will air from 7-8 p.m. CT tonight on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams and Carter Augustine joined by Sporting Kansas City outside back Seth Sinovic and assistant coach John Pascarella. Sinovic -- a Leawood, Kansas native -- was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year after leading the team in both minutes played (2,755) and interceptions (76) during the regular season, while ranking third among MLS defenders with 2,083 touches in 2014. Since 2011, no player in Major League Soccer has contributed to more shutouts than Sinovic (43) in MLS play.
Pascarella is a six-year veteran of Sporting Kansas City's technical staff since being hired in January 2009. In addition to training the first team and Academy goalkeepers, Pascarella is heavily involved in the team's domestic scouting network to identify and evaluate players at the collegiate and professional levels in the United States.
Fans can listen to tonight's Sporting KC Show on 810 AM, at 810whb.com or via the station's free mobile app. To join the discussion, call 913-3-810-810.
Earlier this fall, the Sporting Club Network presented by Price Chopper opened the second edition of its Sporting Kansas City Youth Reporter contest. Hopefuls from around the Midwest submitted their videos explaining why they wanted to be Sporting Kansas City’s next Youth Reporter. After all the entries were reviewed, Carter Stuck, Miles Crosser and Sofia Stockwood were chosen to attend a Sporting KC training session at Swope Soccer Village. The finalists were able to take in practice alongside “The Voice of Sporting Kansas City” Cal Williams. At the conclusion of training, all three had the opportunity to interview their favorite Sporting KC players.
In the end, Sofia was chosen to be Sporting Kansas City’s next Youth Reporter. During Sporting KC’s match against Chicago, Sofia and her family enjoyed an exclusive gameday experience that kicked off with a private tour of Sporting Park. After visiting the TV truck to learn about all that goes into the production of a game, Sofia listened alongside Williams and Diego Gutierrez as they called the game live.
From there, Sofia was recognized on-field at halftime and received a rousing applause from the crowd for her accomplishments. The evening came to a close with Sofia meeting Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber at the conclusion of the match and observing the post-game press conference that featured Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes and Zusi inside the interview room.
“The entire night was so much fun,” said Sofia. “From the TV truck, to hanging out with Cal and Diego in the booth, to getting down on the field and of course meeting Matt Besler, who's my inspiration.”
Sporting KC captain Matt Besler joined The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning from Boca Raton, Florida, where the United States Men's National Team will take on Honduras in an international friendly tonight at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. The Overland Park, Kansas native -- who was added to the U.S. roster on Saturday along with teammate Graham Zusi -- discussed the match-up with a CONCACAF rival while also giving his thoughts on the Royals postseason run and Sporting KC securing a playoff berth of their own with Friday's 2-0 win over Chicago.
Listen to the 10-minute interview below and visit USsoccer.com for a full match preview...
Photo by USA Tooday Sports Images
Since returning from Nicaragua after Tuesday night's CONCACAF Champions League opener, Sporting Kansas City has turned the team's attention to a top of the table clash with D.C. United on Saturday at Sporting Park. Two points separate the last two U.S. Open Cup champions in the Eastern Conference standings with two months remaining in the regular season.
Ahead of the 2004 MLS Cup rematch, listen to this week's interviews as heard on local sports radio.
Sporting KC Show on 810 WHB feat. Dom Dwyer and Kerry Zavagnin (Aug. 20)
The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB feat. Peter Vermes (Aug. 21)
Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio feat. Jon Kempin (Aug. 22)
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).
Sporting KC captain Matt Besler, defender Kevin Ellis and Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman each made an appearance on Kansas City's Sports Radio 810 WHB on Tuesday to discuss happenings with both club and country. Listen to Besler's segment on the Border Patrol, Heineman's call in to Between the Lines and the full episode of the Sporting KC show below.
On the Border Patrol, Matt Besler discusses his time with the U.S. Men's National Team as it undergoes final preparations for Brazil:
Kevin Ellis joins The Sporting KC Show to talk about re-joining Sporting KC midseason and adjusting to an ever-changing back line at Sporting Park:
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes joined Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio earlier today with hosts Johnny Kane and Josh Klingler to discuss all the latest developments within his club. Check out the following transcript of the interview or listen to the podcast embedded below...
On being outplayed by Philadelphia on Wednesday...
In this league, it doesn't really matter how good you are. It matters how consistent you are in the work ethic that you display week after week. If you don't bring that to the table, you don't have a chance of winning in this league because all the teams are built relatively the same when it comes to the type of players that are in the teams…That work ethic has to be a staple all the time and that's something that, I think, the last four years we've been pretty good at and pretty consistent at.
On holding the team accountable...
The business that we're in is one of, obviously, results and the other is entertainment. And those two things should walk hand-in-hand together. I think one of the reasons why we've sold out 42 in a row is because I think that the fans can appreciate that when the guys step inside the white lines, they leave everything out on the field. Whether we win or lose, they know that those guys have given the effort that they're supposed to. When you're not, people are going to stop coming and that's something that's not going to happen within this team. The other is it's about getting results. I do believe that (Wednesday) was a one-off, but I still don't like it. It's something that we're not going to stand for and it's something that we're going to rectify very quickly.
On the play of Dom Dwyer...
It's tremendous. What he has is a great desire to score. He's hungry all the time. And sometimes that's difficult to keep that mentality within that position. A guy can lose confidence. Right now, he's playing with a ton of confidence and at the same time, he's hungry. It shows up every time he's out there. He's definitely emerged as a very dangerous forward in this league and we have high expectations for him throughout the rest of the season with the number of competitions that we still have to play in. We haven't even hit U.S. Open Cup and Champions League, which will start in August again. He's really become a player that has put himself on the map and is now starting to take the reins of being the guy you look to to get the goals. He's definitely coming through with that.
On the challenge at central defense...
With Matt leaving, Collin getting injured in the game, Ike Opara getting injured earlier with the season-ending injury and now Lawrence Olum -- who can play in that position -- with him going away for his call-up, it really poses us with a serious challenge in that part of the field. We're looking at some short term fixes until some of those guys return whether it's from injury or from national team duty. At the same time, a little adversity isn't bad for any team over the course of the season. I always say it's better to happen early so you can get the experience of it and figure out how to deal with it, then be able to use it at those important times when you get toward the end of the season. We have a big challenge in front of us, for sure. We have one guy left and that's Erik Palmer-Brown whose 17 years old and hasn't played an MLS game yet. He's just coming back off a little injury himself. This weekend is going to be a bit of a challenge but in some respects, I think it's good. I think it's something that we need to take head on and figure out a way.
On the debut of Igor Juliao..
He's a very good player. Igor has the engine to play that we expect from that position. The other is that's he got a very good intelligence for the game and is a great competitor as a 1-v-1 defender. What our expectation is for those players offensively to get forward, he found himself in some really good positions with great timing. That kid has got a big future as we move forward so it would be nice over the next year or so if we can work out a deal to keep him here full time.
On Matt Besler and Graham Zusi's inclusion in the World Cup...
It would be a travesty if they weren't in the 23-man roster. Both guys have gone through qualifying and have had major impacts within that qualification. They both have shown not only can they play at that level, but can excel. I understand the magnitude of this opportunity for them, having been there myself. It's what every player dreams of and this is an opportunity I want to see both of them get and excel at. It's important for them as players. Obviously, it's great for our club but I really hope for the two of them that they make it there and get to participate and they show they can play at that level. It's going to be different when you step inside the white lines playing in a World Cup game. The environment is just totally different than a qualification round game. It'll be great experience for them if they're fortunate enough to step in there and play. Then to come back with that experience will be fantastic for us.