While Sporting KC has a three-week break from Major League Soccer's regular season, it's been a busy time for international teams. There are currently six Sporting KC players with National Teams: Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Kei Kamara, Mechack Jerome, Peterson Joseph and Mikey Lopez.
Graham Zusi & Matt Besler with USA
2-1 win at Jamaica
Graham Zusi assisted on Jozy Altidore's 30th-minute goal as the United States edged Jamaica for three points in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Matt Besler started his second consecutive match in qualifying and helped to limit the Jamaican attack to few chances. Jamaica tied the match late from a set piece but USA's Brad Evans scored the game-winning goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
Upcoming Match: vs Panama - June 11
The USA faces Panama in another important World Cup qualifier tonight at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The United States are in second place in the Hexagonal standings, just behind first place Costa Rica on goal difference. The last time these two sides met was in January 2012, with Graham Zusi scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 USA victory.
Kei Kamara with Sierra Leone
2-2 Draw vs Tunisia
Kei Kamara scored a 39th-minute goal from a corner kick but Sierra Leone had to settle for a 2-2 draw. The draw doesn't end Sierra Leone's World Cup hopes but makes it very difficult as they are five points back of Tunisia with two matches remaining.
Upcoming Match - vs Cape Verde Islands - June 15
Kei Kamara and Sierra Leone will face Cape Verde Islands in their fifth qualifying match of this round. Sierra Leone is currently in second place in Group B with five points and a 1-1-2 record. Cape Verde Islands are in last place in the group with three points and a record of 1-3-0.
Peterson Joseph & Mechack Jerome with Haiti
Last Match: 2-1 loss to Spain
Spain scored two goals quickly in the first half but Haiti were able to keep it close and make it 2-1 with a second half goal. Peterson Joseph started the match and played 57 minutes as he was replaced by Sporting KC teammate Mechack Jerome.
Upcoming Match: Haiti vs Italy - June 11
Haiti will face Italy, another top side in Europe, on Tuesday in Brazil. This is Italy’s last friendly before starting the 2013 Confederations Cup, a warm-up tournament to next year's World Cup. Haiti is not alive in World Cup qualifying but will be playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup later this summer.
Mikey Lopez with U.S. Under-20's
Upcoming Match: US U20's vs Portugal U20's - June 14
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, which is currently training in Lagos, Portugal, in preparation for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, will have a tune-up game on Friday. The USA faces Portugal’s U-20 squad on June 14 at Municipal Stadium in Vila Real Santo Antonio. The game kicks off at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. CT). Portugal qualified for the U-20 World Cup as one of six teams to advance by virtue of the 2012 UEFA European U-19 Football Championship.
Jimmy Nielsen was at the Rally House in North Kansas City on Saturday to sign autographs and promote his new book, “Welcome to the Blue Heaven”. Nielsen's book chronicles how he overcame his gambling addiction and arrived in Kansas City in 2010.
Fans at the event were excited to meet "The White Puma" and left impressed with Sporting KC's involvement in the community.
“I think it’s absolutely incredible. I’ve been a sports fan all my life and I’ve never seen a professional organization that gets out in the community like this. It’s awesome to be a fan of this franchise,” said Logan Jackson.
“I think the Sporting Kansas City players are very active with the events they do outside of the stadium, and I believe they’re a very community friendly team,” said Brandon Cuda.
Based on fan reactions and turn-out at these events, Sporting KC are not only winning on the field, but also winners in the hearts of the community.
Sporting KC will face Orlando City SC for the second time ever in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The two teams met in the third round of last year's tournament, with Sporting KC advancing on a 3-2 victory at Sporting Park.
All-Time Head To Head
Overall: 1-0-0 (three goals scored, two goals conceded)
All-Time Open Cup Record
Sporting KC - 18-12-5
Orlando City SC - 5-2-0
Best Open Cup Finish
Sporting KC - Champions (2004 & 2012)
Orlando City SC - Round of 16 (2011 & 2013)
2013 Open Cup Team Leaders
|Sporting KC||Orlando City|
|Bieler/Kamara 1||GOALS||Dom Dwyer 3|
|Eric Kronberg 0.00||GAA||Gallardo/Kempin 1.00|
Open Cup Meetings
Sporting Kansas City will resume the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night at Sporting Park against USL Pro side Orlando City. It's a rematch of last year's third round match in which Sporting KC won 3-2 on goals by Soony Saad and Paulo Nagamura.
Check out the video below for a preview of Wednesday's match.
Although Sporting Kansas City had the weekend off from MLS play, we hope you made it out to see Benny Feilhaber, Jimmy Nielsen, Ike Opara or Blue around the Kansas City area this weekend. For pictures of the events, check out the slideshow above.
Friday, June 7
- Benny Feilhaber signed autographs at Lee’s Summit Downtown Days 810 WHB Sports Zone tent
- Jimmy Nielsen had a book signing and autograph signing at Shop MO Sports in Liberty
- Blue walked a few laps and tried to block soccer shots from kids at Lee’s Summit’s Relay for Life at Lee’s Summit High School
Saturday, June 8
- Ike Opara handed out Kickstart by Mountain Dew scarves and signed autographs at GasMart USA
If you were unable to see the players this weekend, you can catch the team back on the pitch on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT at Sporting Park to take on USL Pro affiliate Orlando City.
Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara scored for Sierra Leone on Saturday, heading home a corner kick from Sheriff Suma in the 39th minute of a 2-2 draw with group leaders Tunisia in FIFA World Cup Qualifying. The result keeps Sierra Leone's dream alive on the road to Brazil -- the Leone Stars have never competed in a World Cup -- with two games remaining in the second round of Confederation of African Football qualifying. Sierra Leone sit in second place in Group B, five points back of Tunisia for the coveted top spot to advance to the third round of qualifying, and will next face Cape Verde Islands on June 15 at Estádio da Várzea in Praia.
Kamara started and played the full 90 minutes on Saturday at National Stadium in Freetown and now has three goals for the Leone Stars in his international career, scoring for the first time since a two-goal performance in June 2012. An MLS All-Star, Kamara has led Sporting KC in scoring each of the last three seasons with 47 goals and 22 assists in 190 career MLS appearances (including playoffs).
After scoring the game-winning goal in his debut with the Lebanese national team, Soony Saad returned to Sporting KC training on Thursday ahead of the club's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against Orlando City (BUY TICKETS). The timing of his return could not have been more perfect, as Saad scored two goals in last year's 3-2 win over Orlando City. Check them out below:
Earlier today, we heard from Peter Vermes on 610 Sports Radio as the Sporting KC manager previewed tonight's FIFA World Cup qualifier between the United States and Jamaica (8:30 p.m. CT on beIN SPORT). Now we turn the microphone over to Sporting KC defender Matt Besler for his insight from inside the U.S. Men's National Team camp in Kingston less than 8 hours until kickoff at National Stadium.
Check out the clip below, Courtesy of U.S. Soccer/T3Media, or read Besler's comments beneath the audio player...
"I think it's a huge game for us. We're coming off two friendlies. In the Germany game, we gained a lot of confidence. But the qualifiers are always a little bit more intense. We know Jamaica is going to come after us and we've got to be ready. I think they're going to be tired a little bit. Their legs are going to be tired, because they played three days ago. So we're going to try and use that to our advantage. Jamaica is a physical tough team with a lot of speed so we've got to be careful about that. That's going to be crucial. We've got to match their intensity because they're going to come out flying. They really need points. I think once we do that, we can worry about the quality coming out in our side."
Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes was on 610 Sports this morning to talk United States Men's National Team World Cup qualifying and Sporting Kansas City's run in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The former U.S. international spoke about Sporting KC's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi's impact with the USMNT and previewed tonight's match at Jamaica (8:30 PM CT, beIN Sport). Vermes also touched on Sporting KC's fourth round U.S. Open Cup match next Wednesday night (7:30 pm CT) at Sporting Park against Orlando City SC.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
All eyes will be on the U.S. Men's National Team tonight as they resume FIFA World Cup Qualifying with the first of three games in The Hex over the next 12 days. Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi are in camp with the United States, who take on Jamaica at National Stadium (aka "The Office") in Kingston at 8:30 p.m. CT live on BeIN Sport.
Zusi is one of three players to have appeared in every game for the United States in 2013, along with fellow MLS stars Omar Gonzalez and Eddie Johnson. He now has 12 career international appearances for the U.S. and has played in each of the team's last six FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Besler has played in four of the United States' six games this year, making his international debut in January before earning his second cap in the historic 0-0 draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in March. He was rated the team's top performer in both matches according to the Castrol Index and the U.S. is unbeaten (1-0-2) with Besler in the starting lineup.
Both players started for the U.S. MNT on Sunday in a 4-3 victory over Germany, with Zusi earning his second international assist on Jozy Altidore's goal in the 13th minute.
Don't miss a moment of tonight's match. Find all your options below for following the action live:
- Time Warner Cable: 1337 (HD), 337
- Verizon FiOS: 598 (HD)
- DirecTV: 620 (HD)
- Dish Network: 392 (HD), 871 (HD)
- beinsportplay.tv for Time Warner Cable subscribers
- ussoccer.com's MatchTracker
- Follow @ussoccer on Twitter
- MLSSoccer.com live chat and play-by-play
- Johnny's Tavern in Power & Light, hosted by American Outlaws Kansas City and the KC Cauldron
Gameday! Get to Johnny's tonight, 8:30 kick off. We've got 300 free Budweisers to celebrate! Come on you YANKS!
— America Outlaws - KC (@AOkcdoesnotstop) June 7, 2013