Photo by USA Today Sports Images
That's a wrap. Sporting Kansas City's 2014 preseason came to a close on Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. and while the team had to settle for a second place finish in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, Claudio Bieler's 87th minute volley capped off a phenomenal preseason as the Designated Player enters his second MLS campaign in 2014. After leading the team with 11 goals in MLS competition last year, Bieler started 2014 with five goals and six assists in seven preseason appearances.
Check out the full stat sheet below...
Heading into Wednesday's group stage finale against the Montreal Impact (watch live at 7 p.m. CT on SportingKC.com), Sporting Kansas City sits atop Group B with six points following wins over the New York Red Bulls and Fluminense FC U-23's.
|Sporting Kansas City||2||0||0||4||0||4||6|
|New York Red Bulls||1||1||0||3||1||2||3|
|Fluminense FC U-23||0||2||0||0||4||-4||0|
With a win or draw on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City will advance to Saturday's championship match (live on WatchESPN at 7 p.m. CT) to face Group A winners Columbus. However, Sporting Kansas City could still go through with a loss based on tournament tiebreakers:
IF TWO TEAMS TIE
- Head to head result
- Net goal differential
- Most goals scored
- Least goals allowed
- Minus 1 game point for each red card/send-off
- Coin toss. The team whose home city is first alphabetically will call the coin toss
"If more than two teams are involved in a tie, tiebreaker number 2 (net goal differential) will be used first to rank the teams. If teams are still tied, tiebreaker number 3 (most goals scored) will be used to rank the teams, and so on until a tie is broken. Once a team has been ranked higher or lower, the tiebreaking procedure begins for the remaining tied teams with number 1. If more than two teams are still tied after tie breaker number 5 a coin toss will be held with the odd team being eliminated. The tiebreaking procedure begins for the remaining tied teams with number 1."
Translation? If Sporting KC loses by one and New York wins by one during their respective games on Wednesday, the winner of Group B would utimately come down to the head-to-head result between the two sides -- a tiebreaker that favors the MLS Cup champions courtesy of their 1-0 win over the Supporters' Shield holders last week.
So keep an eye on the scoreline when the New York Red Bulls and Fluminense FC U-23's meet at 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday. A New York victory by a one-goal margin could put the scenario in play for Sporting to take the Group B title should the team slip by a single goal against Montreal later that night.
With the start of the 2014 season less than two weeks away, Sporting Kansas City is immersed in their preseason schedule including training and participating in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. Even with their jam-packed schedule, the team set aside some time on Sunday to give back to the local community. Sporting KC players and The Victory Project teamed up with USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC to visit the special kids staying at the Give Kids the World Village located in nearby Kissimmee, Florida.
Players -- including Dom Dwyer, C.J. Sapong, Christian Duke, Oriol Rosell, Aurelien Collin and Seth Sinovic -- participated in the Village’s “Candyland” theme night and spent time playing games, eating cotton candy and riding the carousel with kids and their families. The Give Kids the World Village is a 70-acre, non-profit “story book” resort, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations.
“We are just here to try and amplify the smiles and amplify the love - so far so good,” said Sapong.
The Victory Project, Sporting KC’s foundation, has a mission to help children thrive through challenges and was founded in 2013. For more information please visit VictoryKC.org or follow us on Twitter.
Sports Radio 810 WHB host Nate Bukaty is embedded in Sporting Kansas City's preseason training camp in Orlando, Fla. this week. Prior to Wednesday's doubleheader (Sporting KC picked up shutout victories over Eastern Florida State College and the New York Red Bulls), Bukaty sat down with Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes, central defender Ike Opara and winger Sal Zizzo in his latest round of interviews. For previous podcasts and all the latest from Sporting Kansas City's official radio partner, visit 810whb.com and download the station's free mobile app.
Sporting Kansas City will kick off the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Wednesday afternoon against the New York Red Bulls. Ahead of today's match, Sports Radio 810 WHB's Nate Bukaty caught up with several Sporting KC players and coaches to get their thoughts on preseason. Later on 810 WHB, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman was a guest on "Between The Lines" to discuss winning MLS Cup and looking ahead to the upcoming season.
Check out podcasts of all the interviews below.
Sports Radio 810 WHB host Nate Bukaty is on assignment in Orlando, Fla., bringing listeners all the latest news and notes from Sporting Kansas City preseason. Today, he was joined by defenders Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic during The Border Patrol to discuss their time in the U.S. Men's National Team January Camp, the outlook for 2014 as reigning MLS Cup champions, fitness and conditioning expectations and the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals among other topics.
Bukaty later joined The Program with Soren Petro to share his thoughts on the abbreviated offseason, the value of homegrown talent and the change in goalkeeper for Sporting KC this season. New starter Eric Kronberg sat down prior to the team's afternoon training and commented on lessons learned under Jimmy Nielsen.
— Nate Bukaty (@nate_bukaty) February 17, 2014
Photo by USA Today Sports Images
Sporting Kansas City departed for Orlando, Fla. today for the team's second and final phase of the 2014 pre-season. With three exhibition matches already completed during the Arizona leg, the team has seven more scrimmages scheduled. A quick summary of pre-season leaders thus far:
- Total number of players to log minutes: 33 (8 guest trialists)
- Most minutes played: Claudio Bieler, C.J. Sapong and Eric Kronberg (149)
- Most goals scored: Sal Zizzo and C.J. Sapong (2)
- Most assists: Claudio Bieler (2)
Check out the full stat sheet below...
Photo via @RcHaarer on Twitter
Sporting KC and the Portland Timbers stand one game away from facing off in MLS Cup 2013, adding an extra bit of spice to the news out of Tucson, Ariz. that the two teams will meet in a pre-season friendly on Feb. 1 at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex. USL Premier Development League side FC Tucson -- In conjunction with the stadium's inaugural event, a Fall Showcase against Chivas USA tonight -- revealed the preliminary schedule for the 11 MLS teams that will be making pre-season stops in The Old Pueblo in 2014.
After breaking ground in April, North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex officially opened last month. The development is part of Pima County’s multi-million dollar investment to make improvements at the facility, including a sixth soccer field, scoreboard, entrance, concessions and restrooms. The upcoming season will mark the fourth straight year that Sporting KC has selected Tucson as a pre-season site; the club will announce the team's full 2014 pre-season schedule next week.
Portland and Sporting KC met in Tucson in the 2013 preseason ahead of successful regular seasons for both clubs. The Timbers finished atop the Western Conference standings and, like Sporting KC, will host the decisive second leg in the Conference Championship round of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs next weekend.