Sporting Park hosted the Group A finales for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup last night as a sold-out crowd saw Haiti defeat Honduras 1-0 in the opening match before the U.S. Men's National Team earned a 1-1 draw against Panama. As always, fans captured a wide array of photos and videos to share on social media during the doubleheader. Check out some of the best posts below for a first-hand look...
This. This is how you react to two stoppage time goals.
After scoring five goals this past preseason, Sporting KC fans relished the thought of Krisztian Nemeth complementing Dom Dwyer in the club's attack. And although it took five games for the Hungarian international to get on the scoresheet, Nemeth did so in emphatic fashion last weekend, scoring the game-winning goal in stoppage time of Sporting KC's 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union.
Robbie Keane has the cartwheel, Tim Cahill shows off his boxing skills and Dwyer does backflips. All great goalscorers have a patented goal celebration and it's clear Nemeth is no different.
After scoring the game-winning goal on Sunday, Nemeth sprinted to the sideline and dropped to his knees for an Usain Bolt-like lightning bolt pose. So for today's #TBT, we're throwing it back to a previous Nemeth goal (9/10/13). The colors were different (Hungarian red), the venue was bigger (38,000-seat Ference Puskas Stadium) and the stakes were higher (World Cup qualifier against Estonia), but the celebration remained the same and if Sunday is any indication, it always will be.
Covitz accepting the Joe McGuff Sports Journalist of the Year Award in 2011
Congratulations and well wishes to Kansas City Star sports reporter Randy Covitz on his recent retirement.
During his 34-year career at the newspaper, Covitz's byline appeared next to many of the most memorable moments in the city's modern soccer history -- from covering the Comets and Attack at Kemper Arena to writing about the Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium to stories filed on deadline from Sporting Park.
He sat in the Soldier Field press box for the opening game of the 1994 World Cup and traveled to Detroit the next day for the United States first match at the Pontiac Silverdome. He delivered the news to Star readers that Kansas City was awarded a Major League Soccer team in 1995 and his preview piece ran on the day of the team's inaugural game less than a year later.
On this day in 1996, Covitz published an in-depth look at American soccer on the cusp of Major League Soccer's first season. The article included interviews with club owner/founder Lamar Hunt, as well as Ron Newman (the first coach in MLS history), on the return of professional outdoor soccer to Kansas City for the first time since 1970 when the Kansas City Spurs played in the NASL.
"Times have changed enormously," said Hunt. "...It won't be done overnight, but it's a different time, a different era."
Click here to read the full feature.
Covitz continued to cover the sport and it's local stars in recent years, from Peter Vermes being named manager in 2009 to his induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013 -- after previously reporting on the Hall of Fame elections of Preki (2010) and Bob Gansler (2011) in the years between.
Prior to joining the Kansas City Star, Covitz served as the Columbia Missourian sports editor and spent seven years on staff at the Memphis Press-Scimitar in Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism in 1971.
Since it opened on June 9, 2011, Sporting Park has hosted its share of major events. From MLS Cup to the MLS All-Star Game, to World Cup qualifiers for both the United States Men's and Women's National Teams, Kansas City has proven to be a hotbed for American / International soccer with Sporting Park at the epicenter.
For today's TBT, we're throwing it back to the beginning. After Sporting KC opened Sporting Park with a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire, the newest soccer-specific stadium in the United States faced a quick turnaround before a Gold Cup doubleheader only five days later.
The first match of the doubleheader pitted Canada against Panama. That match finished 1-1 with seven-time MLS All-Star striker Dwayne De Rosario scoring the lone goal for Canada. As the Canada match came to a close, the Sporting Park stands quickly filled for the much-anticipated night-cap as the USMNT made their first trip to Kansas City since 2001.
The USMNT controlled the run of play against the overmatched Guadeloupe, but could only muster one Jozy Altidore goal in a 1-0 victory. The USMNT finished second in the group stage and defeated Jamaica and Panama in the knockout round before falling to Mexico 4-2 in the championship match in head coach Bob Bradley's final match in charge.
Four years later, the Gold Cup returns to Kansas City and the United States will square off against Panama in the headline match. The first match of the doubleheader features Haiti against the winner of the Honduras / French Guiana play-in series. On Thursday, Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza was named to Honduras' squad for the two-match play-in series against French Guiana.
Tickets for the Gold Cup doubleheader went on sale to the general public Thursday morning. They can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Do you think the United States will successfully defend its Gold Cup title and clinch a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup? Comment below!
Remember that time Graham Zusi hit a 45-yard screamer in Frisco? Well let us remind you with this week's #TGIF below.
Jimmy Conrad has done it all. The California native won the 2001 MLS Cup, 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and participated in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Individually, Conrad was voted the 2005 MLS Defender of the Year and was named MLS Best XI on four different occasions (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008). Conrad featured more than 200 times for Kansas City with 17 goals scored, most all-time for a Kansas City defender.
Few players wore the Kansas City crest as well for as long. So it came as no surprise when Conrad was inducted, alongside Manager Peter Vermes and the late Lamar Hunt, into the second Sporting Legends class at Sporting Park.
"After plying my trade for eight years in a city that I came to know and love, I am incredibly honored to be recognized as a Sporting Legend," Conrad said. "I want to thank everyone along the way who gave me the confidence to become that caliber of player and I can't emphasize enough how much this induction means to me and my family."
So for today's Throwback Thursday, we want to give a special birthday shoutout to Jimmy Conrad, a six-time MLS All-Star and legend in every sense of the word.
Happy birthday, Jimmy!
The offseason is officially over. Sporting KC players report to Kansas City today in time for entrance physicals at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday and a flight to Tucson, Arizona on Sunday for the first of two training camps (Jan. 25 - Feb. 10 and Feb. 15 - March 1) in The Old Pueblo.
And while we'll keep #SKCNation updated with all the latest preseason news and notes right here on SportingKC.com, social media is the must-follow source for banter and behind-the-scenes access as we count down the days until the team's season opener on March 8.
STAFF TWITTER ACCOUNTS
|Robb Heineman (CEO)||Follow @RobbHeinaman|
|Ashley Wallace (performance analyst)||Follow @AshWallace12|
|Mike Flaherty (equipment manager)||Follow @KitManSKC|
|Brian Ubert (massage therapist)||Follow @ubiewon|
|Jonathan Kaplan (communications/digital manager)||Follow @happykappy7|
|Kurt Austin (communications/digital manager)||Follow @kaustin01|
PLAYER TWITTER & INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS
|Saad Abdul-Salaam||Follow @Saad_Abdul||saad_abdul3|
|Jalil Anibaba||Follow @jalil_anibaba4||jalil_anibaba4|
|Bernardo Anor||Follow @BernardoAnor||bernardoanor|
|Matt Besler||Follow @MattBesler||mattbesler|
|Amadou Dia||Follow @Amadou_iT11||amadou_it11|
|Dom Dwyer||Follow @Ddwyer14||ddwyer14|
|Benny Feilhaber||Follow @b_feilhaber22|
|Connor Hallisey||Follow @c_hallisey||c_hallisey|
|Jon Kempin||Follow @JonKempin21||jonkempin21|
|Mikey Lopez||Follow @MLopez12_5||mlopez12_5|
|Luis Marin||Follow @luis1marin|
|Jimmy Medranda||Follow @jimmymedranda||jimao7|
|Tim Melia||Follow @TimMelia28|
|Chance Myers||Follow @CR_Myers||cr_myers|
|Paulo Nagamura||Follow @paulinhonag|
|Ike Opara||Follow @ikeopara||ikennaopara|
|Erik Palmer-Brown||Follow @ErikBrown14||erikbrown44|
|Jacob Peterson||Follow @jacob__peterson||jacobpeterson23|
|Tony Rocha||Follow @TonyRocha16|
|Seth Sinovic||Follow @ssinovic||ssinovic|
|Graham Zusi||Follow @gzusi||gzusi|
In the summer of 2006, the United States Soccer Federation invited 120 players to Middlesex School -- 20 miles outside of Boston -- to join a seven-day identification camp for the U.S. Under-14 Boys' National Team. The camp was run by Technical Director Manny Schellscheidt, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame who had coached the U.S. Men's National Team in 1975 and led the United States at the 1984 Olympics before beginning a 13-year tenure at the bottom rung of the U.S. youth national team ladder.
"I thought it was best to start with the little guys because it’s definitely important that we get the first step right," Schellscheidt told USSoccer.com. "I felt that if we can get a good introduction at the bottom with the most talented kids that we could find in the country that would be a good thing."
Among those in attendance nearly a decade ago? Sporting Kansas City homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin -- making the trip from his hometown in Leawood, Kansas -- and at least three other future members of the U.S. Men's National Team: Will Packwood, Wil Trapp and DeAndre Yedlin.
Kempin, now 21, and Trapp are each currently in Carson, California with the full U.S. Men's National Team for the first time in their professional careers after steadily progressing through the ranks. In fact, Kempin has now joined eight different levels of U.S. Soccer's national team program (U14, U15, U17, U18, U20, U21, U23, USMNT) and has been named to a U.S. Soccer roster during nine of the past 10 years.
10-YEAR RISE: U14 TO USMNT
2015: USMNT (Training Camp in California, January)
2014: U21 (Training Camp in California, April)
2013: U20 (Training Camp in Mexico, January)
2012: N/A (sidelined due to fractured ankle)
2011: U23 (Training Camp in Germany, November); U18 (Northern Ireland Milk Cup, July); U18 (Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal, May); U18 (Training Camp in Oregon, April)
2010: U18 (Traditional Winter Tournament in Israel, December); U20 (Torneo de las Americas in Georgia, November); U18 (Training Camp in California, April)
2009: U18 (Training Camp in California, December); U18 (Training Camp in California, October); U17 (Residency in Florida, Spring)
2008: U17 (Residency in Florida, Fall); U17 (Training Camp in Florida, August); U15 (Training Camp in Missouri, June); U15 (Training Camp in California, February)
2007: U15 (Development Academy Nike Friendlies in Florida, December)
2006: U14 (Identification Camp in Massachusetts, July)
Unlike Kempin's first weeklong experience in 2006, the U.S. Men's National Team January Camp is a 28-day gauntlet highlighted by a pair of international friendlies on the horizon: away to Chile on Jan. 28 and home versus Panama on Feb. 8. Kempin is one of four goalkeepers on head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's roster and one of 12 Olympic-age players included with an eye toward qualifying for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"I think it's going very smooth because the older guys help them to feel comfortable, to feel at ease and to enjoy it," said Klinsmann. 'I think this is a big plus for this team and has always been a big plus for the American team that they make it easy for new players to come in and feel welcome and to feel part of the group right after a couple of days. I think that's what happens now with these younger players. They feel accepted, they feel respected and they spend a lot of time together. Therefore, I think it's a nice thing to do with this January camp to help this younger group to grow into the next level."