Blog

MLS Regular Season

04 December 3:21 pm

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.

 

24 October 12:40 pm

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.

20 October 10:07 am

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.”

For details on the next Sporting KC Youth Reporter contest and to stay informed on all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

18 October 7:39 pm

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.

16 October 8:33 am

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.

Click here for the complete MLS schedule.

Click here for complete MLS playoff scenarios.

10 October 10:07 pm

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.

07 October 1:21 pm

With three weeks left in the 2014 MLS Regular Season, three teams have clinched a playoff spot, five teams are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and the remaining 11 teams are vying for the final seven playoff spots.

For the first time all year, Sporting KC enters a weekend with the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. If Sporting KC defeats the Chicago Fire Friday night at Sporting AND the Philadelphia Union defeat the Columbus Crew on Saturday OR Toronto FC grab two or fewer points from their two matches this week, Sporting KC will book its fourth consecutive playoff berth.

If you haven't purchased MLS Live this season, now is as good a time as any. At only $18.99, the streaming service is a huge bargain for the remainder of the season.

Sporting KC's match vs. Chicago will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and can be seen locally on KMCI TV's 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the Sporting Park Box Office.

Outside of Sporting KC's on Friday, here are a other games that we'll be keeping an eye on this week.

1. Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo | Wednesday, Oct. 8, 6:30pm CT | MLS Live

Houston's playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread. The Dynamo are currently seven points back of fifth place in the East, so at this point in the season every game is a must-win.

Toronto FC has a bit more leeway, but not by much. The Reds are three points back of the Crew for the final playoff spot and have a game in hand on Columbus. A win on Wednesday would move Toronto into a tie for fifth place in the East and give them the edge in the first tiebreaker (most wins).

2. Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | Friday, Oct. 10, 9pm CT | NBCSN

Plain and simple, the 2014 Supporters' Shield will be decided by the two Seattle-LA matches to close the season. But with the two teams tied atop the West at 60 points, this week will be critical for each team as they head into the final two weeks of the season. Seattle hosts Vancouver Friday night on NBCSN in their final Cascadia clash of the season. The Whitecaps are currently one point ahead of Portland for the final playoff spot in the West and will need a strong defensive effort to slow down Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and the high-powered Sounders attack.

3. Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution | Saturday, Oct. 11, 3pm CT | Univision Deportes Network

New England has been one of the hottest teams in MLS with seven wins in their last eight matches. The Revolution are currently in second place in the East, two points ahead of Sporting KC and four points back of D.C. United. Saturday's match is the first of three Conference matches for the Revs to conclude the regular season.

4. Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew | Saturday, Oct. 11, 6pm CT | MLS Live

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. New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC | Saturday, Oct. 11 6pm CT | Univision Deportes Network

Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Defore; Three reasons MLS fans will want to tune in to this match on Saturday night. Another reason? Toronto FC is in a dog-fight for a playoff spot and cannot afford to drop many points over their final four games.

The Red Bulls are in a better spot after last weekend's win over Houston, sitting in fourth place in the East, four points above the red line.

6. FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy | Sunday, Oct. 12 6pm CT | ESPN2

A good matchup to end a great weekend of soccer. Bruce Arena has his team firing on all cylinders right now, outscoring their last three opponents 9-1 and carrying a 10-game unbeaten streak into the weekend. FC Dallas is six points above the red line and can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win over the Galaxy.

Click here for the complete MLS schedule.

Click here for complete MLS playoff scenarios.

03 October 8:36 pm

Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 0-0 draw against D.C. United on Friday night.

02 October 12:55 pm

As the calendar turns to October, the race for the final playoff spots enters its final stages. With five losses in its last six MLS matches, Sporting Kansas City is currently tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with the New England Revolution, six points behind D.C. United. Thankfully for Sporting KC, they'll have a chance to cut the gap on United when the two teams square off Friday night at RFK Stadium.

Friday's match will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen nationally on NBCSN with local radio coverage on La Gran D 1340.

Outside of Sporting KC's match on NBCSN, here are a few nationally-televised games that we'll be keeping an eye on this week.

1. Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union | Thursday, Oct. 2, 7pm CT | ESPN2

The slate of MLS games kicks off Thursday night when the Philadelphia Union host the Chicago Fire tonight on ESPN2. Philadelphia is in a proverbial "must-win" situation, as the club sits three points back of New York for the final playoff spot in the East. Chicago is currently in ninth place with 31 points and with five games left in the regular season needs a win to ensure their playoff hopes remain alive for 2014.

2. New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo | Saturday, Oct. 4, 5pm CT | NBCSN

The Red Bulls and Dynamo met in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals with Houston taking the series 4-3 on aggregate. Saturday night, the Red Bulls have the opportunity to repay the favor and all but seal the Dynamo's 2013 fate when they square off at Red Bull Arena. A Houston win would move them to within two points of the final playoff spot with a game in hand on New York. A Red Bulls win could push them four points clear of the red line pending other results.

3. Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Dallas | Saturday, Oct. 4, 6pm CT | Univision Deportes Network

FC Dallas' Oscar Pareja is in the thick of the Coach of the Year race after leading his team to 48 points through 30 games and fourth place in the Western Conference standings. A win on Saturday, and FC Dallas will clinch their first playoff berth since 2011.

The Whitecaps are holding on to a playoff spot by the skin of their teeth with a one-point lead over the Portland Timbers. Their playoff fate likely won't be sealed until the final week of the season, but a win on Saturday will go a long way to Carl Robinson's club securing a postseason berth in his first year in charge.

4. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers | Saturday, Oct. 4, 10pm CT | NBCSN

The Timbers have been one of MLS' biggest enigmas in 2014. After a stellar 2013 campaign that saw them finish in first place in the Western Conference, Caleb Porter's team has been inconsistent in 2014 and currently sits below the red line.

The road for Portland doesn't get any easier, as they'll travel to San Jose this weekend without captain Will Johnson, who suffered a broken leg last week and MLS MVP candidate Diego Valeri, who is suspended due to card accumulation.

5. Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders | Sunday, Oct. 5, 2pm CT | UniMas

This weekend's fifth and final nationally televised matchup comes Sunday afternoon when the Seattle Sounders travel to Commerce City to take on the Colorado Rapids. The Sounders are one of two teams who have already clinched a playoff berth and have their sights firmly set on the Supporters' Shield.

The Rapids are winless in 10 matches, with their last victory coming July 25 at home to Chivas USA. Seattle has defeated Colorado twice in 2014 and has outscored the Rapids 5-1 in those two matches.