Sporting Kansas City
Early this year, the Sporting Club Network announced its #MLSCupTour. As a celebration of Sporting Kansas City's 2013 MLS Cup championship, the Sporting Club Network packed up the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy and took it on a tour throughout the Midwest. Throughout this nine-month excursion, stops were made at a variety of Academy Affiliate cities to provide members of our network the chance to celebrate our championship in the comfort of their own backyard.
More than 50,000 Sporting Club Network members had the opportunity to see the cup as it traveled to 10 cities across four states. From Sporting Kansas City’s senior team to each and every youth player around the Midwest, this tour signified that we are all part of the same club by allowing our members to touch, feel and imagine raising the trophy themselves. Check out our Storify chronicling the tour and take a look at our video and photo album below highlighting this awesome series of events.
Thank you to the countless players, coaches, administrators, board members, fans and families that supported Sporting KC as they were crowned 2013 MLS Cup champions and celebrated the achievement along our tour throughout the Midwest. We’re so happy to have had the opportunity to share this victory with all of you and can’t wait to #DefendTogether!
The 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs will kick off Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas, when FC Dallas hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference Knockout Round. The winner of that match wil advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals to take on Supporters' Shield champion Seattle Sounders.
Over in the East, Sporting KC will get things started Thursday night when they travel to Harrison, New Jersey, to take on the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round. The two teams squared off Sunday night at Sporting Park with the Red Bulls earning a decisive 2-0 victory.
Ahead of Thursday's match, Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes joined the MLS ExtraTime Radio podcast to discuss the state of his team, the move back to the Western Conference in 2015 and the club's pursuit of a former player. Click here to listen to the full show.
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.
For today's Throwback Thursday, we're not throwing it back to a picture, per se, but instead to a series of experiences that current Sporting KC players and coaches have had at tonight's CCL venue.
For many Sporting KC players, tonight's match will be their first in the vaunted Monster's Cave, home of 30-time Costa Rican first division champion Deportivo Saprissa. But it won't be the first trip there for everyone. Sporting KC midfielder Jorge Claros played at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in the 2007 Copa Interclubes UNCAF, while Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes and assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin each featured in matches in the stadium.
Claros' former club Motagua visited Saprissa in the first leg of the 2007 Copa Interclubes UNCAF championship. Motagua drew the match 1-1 in San Jose before earning a 1-0 victory at home to clinch the championship.
Zavagnin was a member of the 2005 Kansas City Wizards team that drew Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions' Cup. Saprissa defeated the Wizards 2-1 in AET after drawing Kansas City 0-0 at Arrowhead Stadium a week earlier.
Vermes is the only current member of Sporting KC's organization to have featured* Estadio Ricardo Saprissa as a member of the USMNT. Vermes' side lost to Costa Rica 3-2 in a World Cup qualifier on March 23, 1997. Overall, Costa Rica is 6-0 in World Cup qualifiers played at the Monster's Cave.
*Benny Feilhaber was a member of the 2009 USMNT squad that played against Costa Rica at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in a World Cup qualifier, however, Feilhaber missed the match due to injury.
We said the CONCACAF Champions League group stage would become more clear after last night's matches and it certainly did. Two sides - Montreal Impact and Pachuca - entered the night looking to finish with 12 points in the group and both came up short.
A young New York Red Bulls team that could not advance to the next phase of the tournament held the Impact to a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena. Meanwhile, in Honduras, a Pachuca side that looked so dominant through the first three games of the group stage was anything but Wednesday night, falling 3-2 to Real Espana.
So what does this mean for Sporting KC? Simple.
Sporting KC can not only win their CCL group, but they can finish as the No. 2 overall seed in the Knockout Round or as low as the No. 7 overall seed. Here are all the potential scenarios as well as the potential quarterfinal opponent:
- Win by 12 or more = No. 2 seed vs Olimpia
- Win by 11 = No. 2 seed vs Olimpia OR No. 3 seed vs Pachuca (based on # of goals scored)
- Win by 3-10 = No. 3 seed vs Pachuca
- Win by 2 = No. 3 seed vs Pachuca OR No. 4 seed vs Montreal (based on # of goals scored)
- Win by 1 = No. 4 seed vs Montreal
- Draw = No. 7 seed vs Club America
- Lose by 1-2* = No. 7 seed vs Club America
*Eliminated with 2-0 loss; 3-1 loss results in drawing of lots
And here's a look at the overall standings of the group winners. Keep in mind that the first tiebreaker is goal differential and the second tiebreaker is goals scored.
|D.C. United (USA)||12||+5||6||0|
|Club America (MEX)||10||+16||19||0|
|CS Herediano (CRC)||10||+7||11||0|
|Montreal Impact (CAN)||10||+3||6||0|
|Sporting KC (USA)||7||+5||7||1|
The final round of the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League group stage kicked off Tuesday night in dramatic fashion. Reigning CCL champions Cruz Azul were eliminated with a 1-1 draw to Alajuelense, while the Portland Timbers were sent home following a 3-1 loss at CD Olimpia.
And while Sporting KC won't take the field until Thursday night - in the last match of the 2014-15 group stage - the picture for potential quarterfinal matchups is starting to get more clear. As a reminder, the eight group winners that advance to the quarterfinal round are re-seeded based on their finish in the group stage (i.e. the teams with the most points earn the higher seeds with goal differential being the first tie-breaker). In 2013, Sporting KC won their group with eight points and finished as the 7th overall seed setting up a showdown with eventual CCL champions Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals.
While the picture will become even more clear after tonight's matches, one thing for certain is that Sporting KC can finish no lower than 7th overall. The club currently has seven points with one match to play and Alajuelense is locked in as the 8th seed after winning their group with six points. And after winning their group with 12 points, D.C. United can finish no lower than third overall. They can also finish as high as first or second depending on tonight's results. Both Pachuca and Montreal currently have nine points with their final match scheduled for tonight.
Here is a schedule for tonight's matches and what Sporting KC fans should be rooting for:
New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact - 7pm CT
The Impact have already won the group with nine points through three matches. Even with a win tonight, the Red Bulls can only reach seven points. With Sporting KC's max points at 10, a Red Bulls win, or even a draw, would go a long way toward Sporting KC earning a higher seed in the quarterfinal round.
Real Espana vs. Pachuca - 9pm CT
Pachuca has been the most dominant team in the group stage with nine points and a +10 goal differential through three games. Similar to the game above, Sporting KC will want as many group winners as possible to finish with nine points. With that said, if Pachuca wins tonight, they will clinch the No. 1 overall seed, thus limiting Sporting KC's chances of playing a team from LigaMX in the quarterfinal round.
Lastly, it's important to note that while Sporting KC has a three-point lead on Saprissa, earning a result in the Monster's Cave will be no easy take. Sporting KC will advance with a win, a draw, a one-goal loss or a two-goal loss provided we score at least two goals. If Saprissa wins 2-0 or by three or more goals, the Costa Rican side will win the group. If the Saprissa wins 3-1, both teams will finish tied and the winner will be determined by a drawing of lots. That would take place immediately after the game.
This is a lot of information to consume and it will all become more clear after tonight's matches. We'll provide another update in the morning.
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.