MLS Regular Season
After a two-year stint in England with Wigan Athletic, All-Star midfielder Roger Espinoza has returned to Major League Soccer. Sporting Kansas City's marquee offseason signing, the 28-year-old Honduran international is back where he spent his first five professional seasons from 2008-2012.
Espinoza appeared today on the latest episode of MLSsoccer.com's Extra Time Radio to discuss his move to Kansas City, wedding gifts for Dom Dwyer and his experience playing in England. You can catch Espinoza's segment below and visit MLSsoccer.com for the full podcast episode.
Sporting Kansas City added four match times -- all originally announced as TBD -- to the team's 2015 schedule this week. The below matches will kick off at the following times based on local, regional and national television broadcast agreements:
- March 28 at New York City FC: 6 p.m. CT
- May 23 at Seattle Sounders FC: 9 p.m. CT
- July 12 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 8 p.m. CT
- Aug. 8 at Toronto FC: 3 p.m. CT
In addition, a change was made last month to move the start time for Sporting Kansas City's home match on Aug. 15 against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC to an 8 p.m. CT kick off -- 30 minutes later than previously scheduled, in order to accomodate TSN and RDS (Major League Soccer's national broadcast partners in Canada).
Match times are now set for all 34 regular season matches (subject to change) during Sporting Kansas City's 2015 MLS season. Visit SportingKC.com/schedule for additional information and click here to download the team's matches to your personal calendar(s).
The first 10,000 fans at Sporting Kansas City's home opener on March 8 will receive the team's 2015 schedule magnet courtesy of Dairy Farmers of America. A limited number of tickets remain available via Ticketmaster.com.
Sporting Kansas City is hiring part-time event staff ahead of the 2015 season. Interested candidates are invited to Sporting Park (One Sporting Way, Kansas City, KS 66111) on Saturday, Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. or on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 5:30 - 9 p.m to obtain more information.
The various part-time positions needed include Concierges, Fan Hosts, Gate Ambassadors, Elevator Concierge and other Guest Service positions. Sporting Style will be looking for Merchandise representatives and Building Services will be looking to hire Attendants to help with pre-game preparation that may include pressure washing, window cleaning, etc.
Applicants must be 18 years or older. Saturday's job fair will take place in the Shield Club. Participants should park on the Sprint Plaza and follow signs to the Shield Club entrance. Tuesday's job fair will be held in the Boulevard Members Club. Parking for Tuesday's applicants will be in Lot D behind Lonestar Restaurant. After parking, Tuesday's applicants should follow signs to the Boulevard Members Club.
Please email Stephen Howell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 913-912-7511 with questions. For information specific to the Building Services Attendant positions, please email Jeff Fickas (email@example.com) or call 913-912-7508.
In the build up to MLS Cup on Sunday (2 p.m. CT on ESPN), end-of-the-year awards are being handed out by American soccer scribes and several of Sporting Kansas City's top performers earned high honors for their play in 2014.
Goal USA editor Thomas Floyd ranked the Top 10 players at all 11 positions from Major League Soccer's regular season for Backheel.com, with five Sporting Kansas City starters securing top-four recognition at their respective spots on the field:
- Seth Sinovic: No. 1 left back
- Benny Feilhaber: No. 1 attacking midfielder
- Matt Besler: No. 2 left centerback
- Graham Zusi: No. 3 right winger
- Dom Dwyer: No. 4 striker
Dwyer, who set a single-season team record and finished second on the MLS scoring chart with 22 goals, was also named Major League Soccer's Most Improved Player on SBIsoccer.com.
Dom Dwyer’s first full season as a starter for Sporting Kansas City saw him break out and become one of the league’s top goal scorers. The English forward bagged 22 goals and one assist, the second most in MLS, making him the runaway choice for SBI MLS Most Improved Player of the Year. Dwyer also finished the 2014 regular season with the fourth-most shots, third most shots on goal, and third most game winning goals. In addition, Dwyer’s 10 goals on the road was tied for the most in the league with Obafemi Martins, showing that Dwyer’s dogged and determined style was the same no matter which stadium he played in.
Here we go. The final week of the MLS regular season. Sporting Kansas City has already booked a playoff spot, but can still finish anywhere from 3-5.
The scenarios for each finish are simple. Sporting KC and the Columbus Crew each have 49 points but Sporting KC holds the first tiebreaker with more wins. The New York Red Bulls are currently in fifth place with 47 points.
If Sporting KC defeats the New York Red Bulls on Sunday (7:30pm, ESPN2, Buy Tickets) they will finish in third place in the Eastern Conference and play the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A loss and Sporting KC will play in the Knockout Round game. A tie and our fate rests on Columbus' result vs. the Philadelphia Union.
Here are the MLS games that we'll be watching this weekend, including a few bonus national TV games:
1. Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo | Friday, October 24, 7pm CT | NBCSN
Two teams that are out of the playoff race kick off a packed weekend of Major League Soccer. So why should Sporting KC fans tune in between innings of the Royals game tonight? The answer is simple: National TV ratings are importance to the growth of MLS.
2. Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy | Saturday, October 25, 1:30pm CT | NBC
The MLS schedule makers could not have planned this any better. The Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy are tied atop the Supporters' Shield standings with one game left. That game happens to pit the two sides in what should be an epic match at CenturyLink Field.
3. Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union | Sunday, 3pm CT | UniMas
Outside of Sunday's match at Sporting Park, this is the most important match for Sporting KC fans. If the Philadelphia Union can earn a win or a draw, Sporting KC will only need to tie the Red Bulls to avoid the Knockout Round. That won't be an easy task for the Union, however, as the Crew have been one of the hottest teams in MLS under first-year head coach Gregg Berhalter.
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.”
Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 loss at the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
With two weeks left in the 2014 MLS Regular Season, the playoff picture has become a lot more clear. Eight teams have punched their playoff ticket - including Sporting KC - with two more to go. Columbus needs one point from their remaining two games to clinch the final spot in the Eastern Conference. Toronto FC needs to win their final two games, and for the Crew to lose their remaining two games, to clinch their first playoff spot in club history.
Over in the Western Conference, the Vancouver Whitecaps hold a one-point lead over the Portland Timbers for the final playoff spot. A Vancouver win this weekend coupled with a Timbers lose would secure the Whitecaps a playoff berth. If the Timbers can earn a point against Real Salt Lake, their playoff fate will go down to the final weekend.
So how does this all relate to Sporting KC? Well even though we are in the playoffs for the fourth straight year, seeding is still up for grabs. Sporting KC can still finish anywhere from first to fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Sporting KC's penultimate regular season match will be Saturday evening when they take on the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. The match will kick off at 6pm CT and can be seen locally on KMCI TV's 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV.
Here is a list of games we'll be watching this weekend that could impact Sporting KC's playoff seeding, as well as a few national TV games to keep an eye on.
1. Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution | Thursday, Oct. 16, 7pm CT | ESPN2
Tonight's match at BBVA Compass Stadium is big for a number of reasons. Sporting KC and New England are tied on points with 49 apiece. A Revolution, coupled with a Sporting KC win or draw, would put the reigning MLS Cup champs in the driver's seat for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. New England currently holds the tie-breaker edge on Sporting KC with one more victory so a win tonight in Houston would give Jay Heaps' squad the edge heading into next weekend's regular season finale vs. Toronto FC.
For Houston, it will be an emotional night. The team was officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, but news broke this week that head coach Dominic Kinnear - the only head coach in team history - will be stepping down at the end of the season. Kinnear will go back to his former club and lead the San Jose Earthquakes in their inaugural season in their new stadium. It should be a a raucous atmosphere in Kinnear's final home game and expect the players to come out fighting.
2. Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake | Friday, Oct. 17, 9pm CT | NBCSN
This game is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a Timbers loss puts the reigning regular season Western Conference champions on the brink of playoff elimination. A single point from the game and they are still alive.
For Real Salt Lake, Jeff Cassar's team is fighting to stay out of the Knockout Round game, but there is also a bigger picture in play. Bear with me ...
Currently, the Seattle Sounders have locked up a berth in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League group stage by virtue of winning the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. That means that three CCL spots are up for grabs. Those will go to the Supporters' Shield winner, the conference winner that does not win the Supporters' Shield and the MLS Cup champion. If one team takes two of those spots (i.e. Seattle wins Open Cup an Supporters' Shield) then the second berth goes to the next highest team in the Supporters' Shield standings.
So hypothetically speaking Seattle wins the Open Cup, LA Galaxy win the Supporters' Shield, D.C. United win the Eastern Conference and one of those three teams wins MLS Cup, then the final CCL berth will go to the next highest team in the Supporters' Shield standings.
That is added incentive for teams to finish with as many regular season points as possible. Real Salt Lake is currently in line for that next spot, but any of six teams could move into that spot including Sporting KC. It's confusing yes, but the picture should get more clear after this weekend's matches.
3. Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact | Saturday, Oct. 18, 1pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
Plain and simple, Toronto FC needs to win their final two games and Columbus needs to lose their final two games for the Reds to clinch a playoff berth.
4. Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas | Saturday, Oct. 18, 2pm CT | NBCSN
FC Dallas has been one of the hottest teams in MLS, while the Colorado Rapids have been one of the worst.
So why should Sporting KC fans pay attention to this one? Go back a few paragraphs. Real Salt Lake has 52 points; FC Dallas has 51 points; Sporting KC has 49 points. There are a few teams jockeying to finish as high in the standings as possible and FC Dallas is one of those teams.
If Sporting KC earns three points on Friday, all of SKC Nation will be glued to Saturday's match at PPL Park. If both Sporting KC and the Philadelphia Union win, Peter Vermes' squad will be playing postseason soccer.
Columbus is currently in the final playoff spot, while Philadelphia sits four points behind them. A Crew win would all but eliminate the Union from booking a playoff spot.
5. D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire | Saturday, Oct. 18 6pm CT | MLS Live
A win or draw and D.C. United will clinch their first regular season conference title since 2007. A point would also secure them a spot in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.
6. New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew | Sunday, Oct. 19 2pm CT | UniMas
Sporting KC holds a two-point edge on the Red Bulls and a three-point edge on the Crew. Those numbers could change depending on Sporting KC's result against the Union on Saturday. Neither Columbus nor New York can finish first in the Eastern Conference, but depending on other results, both teams could finish as high as second.
7. LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders | Sunday, Oct. 19 7:15pm CT | ESPN2
The penultimate week of the regular season concludes with a big one Sunday night when the LA Galaxy host the Seattle Sounders on ESPN2. The two teams are tied atop the Western Conference with 60 points. The Sounders hold the tiebreaker edge (more wins) so if they win Sunday night, they'll clinch the Supporters' Shield. Any other result and the Shield can't be won until the two teams play the following weekend in Seattle.
So what should Sporting KC fans root for on Sunday? At this point, no result can impact Sporting KC. Both teams have already secured Champions League spots. So Sporting KC fans can sit back, enjoy the game and enjoy Landon Donovan's last regular season home game.
Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Friday night at Sporting Park.