MLS Regular Season
Defender Ike Opara heads in a Matt Besler long throw-in in the 12th minute to make give Sporting Kansas City a 1-0 lead vs New York City FC.
This weekend, Sporting Kansas City will head north to take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. It will be Sporting KC's first match against the expansion side and lone meeting between the two clubs this season. Saturday's match will kick off at 6 p.m. CT and can be seen locally on 38 the Spot and across the midwest on SKCTV.
For those looking for other soccer matches to watch this weekend, here are a few nationally televised games to keep an eye on.
Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union - Sunday - 4pm CT | ESPN2
Not the marquee matchup ESPN is accustomed to, but the first game of the Soccer Sunday doubleheader has its fair share of shorelines. Both teams are looking for their first win of 2015 after a combined 0-4-2 start. The Fire will be out two of their Designated Players - Shaun Maloney and David Accam - who are with Scotland's and Ghana's National Teams, respectively, but homegrown midfielder Harry Shipp is worth the price of admission. The 23-year-old has eight goals in 36 games in his young career. For the Union, U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Maurice Edu is already a household name, but Venezuelan striker Fernando Aristeguieta is on his way to joining Edu. The DP striker has two goals in his first three games in Major League Soccer.
Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC - Sunday - 6pm CT | FOX Sports 1
The second game of the Sunday Soccer doubleheader features a pair of teams with MLS Cup aspirations. Although Nick Rimando, Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore will not feature due to national team commitments, these teams don't lack for firepower. Real Salt Lake is lead by Argentine maestro Javier Morales and welcomed back familiar face Jamison Olave in the offseason. Italian striker Giovinco will pull the strings for The Reds on Sunday as they continue their eight-game road trip to open the season.
As a reminder, all out of market matches can be viewed each week through MLS Live. Click here for details.
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.
Major League Soccer enters its third week of the season with another exciting slate of games scheduled. Aside from Sporting KC's match against the Portland Timbers Saturday night at Sporting Park (Tickets), there are three nationally-televised matches that we'll be watching this weekend:
Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, March 21 - 3pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
The only perfect team in Major League Soccer opens week three with a road test in Chester, Pennsylvania, against the Philadelphia Union. FC Dallas is coming off a 3-1 win over Sporting KC after their season-opening 1-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Philadelphia earned a heartbreaking 3-3 tie last week against Real Salt Lake after a questionable call gave RSL a game-tying penalty kick in the final minutes of the game.
New York Red Bulls v. D.C. United - Sunday, March 22 - 4pm CT | ESPN2
This week's edition of the I-95 series features two of Major League Soccer's original clubs. The New York Red Bulls will play their first home game of 2015 this weekend against D.C. United. The Red Bulls tied Sporting KC 1-1 in the team's first match of the year, while D.C. United opened the year with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire - Sunday, March 22 - 6pm CT | FOX Sports 1
The second match of Sunday's MLS doubleheader is a long-time coming for Major League Soccer. After not securing a stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes in the mid 2000s, the club left the city for Houston prior to the 2006 campaign. Two years later, San Jose was awarded a new club and on Sunday it will play its first game at Avaya Stadium (pictured, right), the latest soccer-specific-stadium in the United States. San Jose is coming off an impressive 3-2 win at Seattle, while the Chicago Fire are looking for their first point of the year after back-to-back losses in the season's first two weeks.
Listen to the latest edition of The Sporting KC Show embedded below as hosts Dave Borchardt, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine were joined by Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury and Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin for last night's episode on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Once teammates in Kansas City, Jewsbury and Zavagnin previewed this Saturday's match-up at Sporting Park.
Jewsbury -- a Missouri native -- played his first eight professional seasons in KC after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He is one of only six active MLS players to appear in more than 300 regular season matches and has been a member of the Timbers since their inaugural MLS season in 2011. Only Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe have more MLS appearances for the club.
A limited number of tickets remain available, including standing room only tickets, via Ticketmaster.com for Saturday and the first 10,000 fans inside the gates will receive Sporting KC flags courtesy of H&R Block.
After conceding an early goal to FC Dallas, Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza levels the match at 1-1 with a left-footed strike from just outside the 18 yard box.
Remember that time Graham Zusi hit a 45-yard screamer in Frisco? Well let us remind you with this week's #TGIF below.
Soccer Sunday lived up to its hype during the first week of the MLS season. Orlando City SC and NYCFC played to a 1-1 draw in front of 62,000 fans with Kaka tying the match late in dramatic fashion. Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls tied 1-1, but there was no shortage of chances for either side in the match, while the Seattle Sounders showed why they are one of the favorites to hoist MLS Cup after defeating the New England Revolution 3-0 at home.
So what's in store for MLS this week? Let's take a look. As a reminder you can watch all out-of-market and non-national TV matches LIVE through MLS Live. Click here for details.
Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City SC - Friday, March 13 | 6pm CT | UniMas
The first of three nationally televised matches this weekend involves the only MLS Player to also win FIFA World Player of the Year. Kaka's Orlando City side travels to Houston tonight for their first road match of the year. The Dynamo won their first match under new head coach Owen Coyle after a Team of the Week performance from homegrown goalkeeper Tyler Deric. For those looking to watch tonight's match in English, UniMas debuted their new SAP feature last week. Click here for details.
NYCFC vs. New England Revolution - Sunday, March 15 | 4pm CT | ESPN2
With D.C. United, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, there's been no shortage of great matches along the I-95 corridor. Throw in NYCFC and fans in the northeast can watch great rivalry matches almost every week. The Revolution will get their first look at NYCFC and World Cup winner David Villa this weekend when they travel to Yankee Stadium for the venue's first MLS match.
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy - Sunday, March 15 | 6pm CT | FOX Sports 1
It wasn't a perfect opener for the defending MLS Cup champs, but they got the job done once again with a 2-0 victory over Chicago Fire. LA Galaxy received goals from Jose Villarreal and Robbie Keane in their first MLS match without Landon Donovan. Portland Timbers narrowly missed out on a playoff berth last year, but hope 2015 is a different story. Caleb Porter's side earned a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake in the team's home opener last weekend.
Sporting KC captain Matt Besler (shown on right at Sporting EVOLUTION) joined The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB on Friday morning. Hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John welcomed the World Cup veteran in studio for a 25-minute interview, available for listeners below.
Besler enters his eighth professional season and leads all current Sporting KC players with 181 appearances across all competition for the club. The Overland Park, Kansas native has started each of the team's last five season openers and is set to his lead his side onto the field this Sunday when Sporting Kansas City welcomes the New York Red Bulls for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff at Sporting Park.
Later on Friday, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman was a guest on Between the Lines with Kevin Kietzman. The two discussed the team's 20th season including developments on and off the field, as well as the recent agreement reached with the MLS Players Union for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A limited number of tickets are available for Sunday via Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices on gameday. The match will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes with radio coverage available locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).
— Matt Besler (@MattBesler) March 6, 2015