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06 November 8:19 am


Photos from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The brand new championship field at the Swope Soccer Village (63rd and Lewis Rd.) in Kansas City, MO is officially open, hosting its kickoff event on Tuesday with several key stakeholders in attendance. Mayor Sly James, Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, 5th District Councilman Michael Brooks, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and KC Parks Commissioners all participated in the ceremonial first kick on the natural grass surface.

Today, the Big 12 Soccer Championship begins with the following four quarterfinal match-ups:

No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 5 Baylor at 11:30 a.m.
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State at 2:00 p.m.
No. 1 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Kansas at 5:30 p.m.
No. 2 Texas Tech vs. No. 7 TCU at 8:00 p.m.

All four matches today, as well as Friday's semifinal rounds, will be streamed live online by the Big 12 Digital Network on Big12Sports.com. Tickets are available online via Ticketmaster.com and fans can purchase $9 day passes or a $14 tournament pass that provides access to all seven matches.

Two local standouts return to Kansas City for the postseason competition. Overland Park, Kan. native and Blue Valley North alum Frances Silva was named the Big 12 Conference's Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league in points (37), goals (12) and assists (13) in her senior year for regular season champions West Virginia. Lee's Summit North alum Allie Stephenson earned All-Big 12 Second Team recognition in her sophomore season at Oklahoma State with six goals and three assists.

The conference's top ranked team in the national polls is No. 11 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders went unbeaten in Big 12 play (6-0-2) and are 16-1-2 overall in 2013. The winner of the Big 12 Soccer Championship earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Check out some of the local media coverage below and follow @SwopeSoccer on Twitter for all the latest.

05 November 6:26 pm

Sporting Kansas City returns to Sporting Park on Wednesday night in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. New England earned a solid 2-1 win in the opening leg but Sporting KC returns home needing a victory to keep their hopes of advancing alive. A one-goal margin victory would force over time while a two-goal margin victory could see Sporting KC into the Eastern Conference Finals.

Team News

New England's injury report includes six players listed as out or questionable for Wednesdsay's match. Gabe Latique, Saer Sene, and Juan Toja are all unavailable due to injuries while Chris Tierney, Matt Reis, and Kevin Alston are listed as questionable. New England should see few changes to the lineup from the first leg and goalkeeper Matt Reis is expected to start despite being listed as questionable.

Recent Form/Results

New England continued their recent good form with a 2-1 win in the first leg at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. Overall, the Revolution are unbeaten in their last seven matches but did lose 3-0 at Sporting Park on August 10. Sporting KC currently holds a seven home match unbeaten streak at New England but the two sides have never met in a postseason match in Kansas City. Both sides will draw positives from the first leg as New England earned the victory while Sporting KC scored a late goal to grab some momentum for the second leg. 

Key Players

Kelyn Rowe (Midfielder) - One of New England's best attacking players who has the ability to score from outside the 18 yard box

Matt Reis (Goalkeeper) - A veteran goalkeeper who will be key for New England on Wednesday night

Recent Lineups

at Columbus (1-0 win) vs Sporting KC (2-1 win)

 

05 November 3:04 pm


Photo by USA Today Sports Images

The buzz is getting #Louder for Sporting Kansas City's home playoff match at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Sporting Park and that includes plenty of soccer chatter on the local radio. U.S. Men's National Team players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were guests during the morning drive time while the afternoon airwaves awaited Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman.

Heineman joined The Day Shift with Henry Lake and Jay Binkley on 610 Sports Radio to discuss the MLS Cup Playoffs format, the team's support both home and away, as well as the prospect of bringing the National Soccer Hall of Fame to Kansas City.

Besler was a guest on The Border Patrol with Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty on Sports Radio 810 WHB to talk about tomorrow's decisive second leg, the controversial offside call in Saturday's match and the team's approach to the aggregate goal series.

Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz welcomed Zusi on 96.5 the Buzz to discuss the team's postseason run, rivalries between fan bases and the atmosphere at Sporting Park from the recently announced Sporting KC studios presented by Boulevard.

For more Sporting KC talk on the radio dial, tune in to The Sporting KC Show from 7-8 p.m. CT tonight on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine. Tonight's show includes an interview with New England Revolution defender Jose Goncalves and fans are encouraged to join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.

05 November 1:22 pm

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber's 33rd minute goal against the Colorado Rapids in Week 27 (video below) is nominated for MLSSoccer.com Goal of the Year. Feilhaber's right-footed strike -- already named Sporting Kansas City's Goal of the Year -- is one of 64 total goals in contention for the MLS Goal of the Year title and one of four candidates in Group O alongside goals from Kalif Alhassan (POR), Tim Cahill (NY), and Federico Higuain (CLB).

Voting is now open online at MLSSoccer.com and will continue through 1:59 a.m. CT on Nov. 7. The top two goals in Group O, as voted on by fans, will advance to the second round (Nov. 8-11) where the field is narrowed to 32.

Visit MLSSoccer.com for more information on the contest and to see the other nominees, including Graham Zusi in Group A (voting closed).

05 November 11:47 am

Sporting Kansas City concludes the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs New England with the second leg on Wednesday night at Sporting Park. New England has a 2-1 lead from the first leg but the overall aggregate score after the second leg will determine who advances to the Eastern Conference Final.

A few in-depth stats

  • Sporting KC is unbeaten in their last seven home matches against New England
  • New England is 10-9-4 in the quarterfinal round, with a -4 goal difference
  • Sporting KC's record in playoff matches when scoring the first goal is 14-5-3
  • New England goalkeeper Matt Reis is sixth all-time among MLS goalkeepers with 20 matches started
  • Sporting KC is averaging 1.32 goals scored per match in playoffs, New England is averaging 1.00

All-Time Records (MLS Cup Playoffs)

Sporting KC: 15-18-5 (5-3-3 at home)

New England: 13-14-8 (3-4-3 on the road)

All-Time Leaders (MLS Cup Playoffs)

Sporting KC Stat NE Revolution
Zavagnin/Garcia 23 GAMES PLAYED Jay Heaps 28
Preki 8 GOALS Taylor Twellman 10
Klein/Preki 4 ASSISTS Ralston/Cancela 4
Tony Meola 62 SAVES Bobby Shuttleworth 64 

All-Time Stats (MLS Cup Playoffs)

  Sporting KC NE Revolution
Goals Scored (Allowed) 50 (52) 36 (40)
Shots (on goal) 467 (200) 373 (171)
Fouls Committed (Suffered) 609 (592) 575 (552)
Offsides 84 94
Corner Kicks 161 142

 

04 November 2:18 pm

It's not secret that the MLS Cup Playoffs are different from other playoff formats in both American sports and world soccer. But what exactly are the differences? Let's break them down:

MLS vs. Other American Pro Sports

Customarily, in American sports (i.e. baseball, basketball and hockey) two teams play a Best of 5- or Best of 7-game series. In a Best of 5-game series, whichever team reaches three wins first wins the series. In a Best of 7-game series, whichever team reaches four wins first gets the series.  

In MLS, the two teams play only two games. The total score over those two games is then added up and whichever team scores the most goals after 180 minute advances to the next round. If the two teams are tied on goals after 180 minutes, they then play two 15-minute overtimes (no golden goal). If the teams are still tied, they advance to penalty kicks.

MLS vs. International Soccer

Now, typically in international soccer, when teams play a two-game series, a road goal serve as a tie-breaker.

For example: Team A goes on the road and ties Team B 2-2 in the first leg of their playoff series. Team A then hosts Team B in the second leg and ties 1-1. Despite the fact that the two teams are tied on goals scored, Team A would advance to the next round because they scored more away goals. It's considered a reward for scoring goals in what is considered a more difficult environment away from home.

This is not the case in MLS. Every goal counts the same. So if Team A and Team B played in MLS and the final scores were 2-2 and 1-1, the two teams would go to overtime and then penalty kicks, if necessary.

So what needs to happen on Wednesday?

Following Saturday's match against the New England Revolution, Sporting KC's currently down 2-1 in their playoff series. That means that if they lose or draw at Sporting Park on Wednesday, they will be eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs. If they win by a one-goal margin, they will play overtime. If they win by two or more goals, they will advance to face the winner either the New York Red Bulls or the Houston Dynamo.

Wednesday's match at Sporting Park kicks off at 8 p.m. CT. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.

04 November 1:23 pm

On Monday, FutbolMLS.com opened their voting for the annual Latino del Año award, given to the best Latin American player in MLS.

Sporting KC's Claudio Bieler is the lone KC-nominee on the list. "El Taca" is in Group F along with Seattle Sounders midfieler Osvaldo Alonso, FC Dallas defender Michel and Colorado Rapids midfielder Hendry Thomas.

In his first year in KC, the Argentine forward tallied 10 goals and four assists. The Sporting KC Golden Boot winner, Bieler became the first DP in club history to score 10 or more goals in a season.

03 November 11:58 am

Go in-depth behind Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 loss against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday with the match's fast facts:

  • Sporting Kansas City lost 2-1 to the New England Revolution in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
  • Sporting KC and the New England Revolution met twice during the 2013 MLS regular season. In the first meeting, the teams played a scoreless draw at Gillette Stadium, marking the last matchup between the Eastern Conference opponents in Foxboro heading into Saturday.
  • Sporting KC earned a 3-0 victory over the Revolution at Sporting Park on August 10.
  • With the loss, Sporting KC moves to 6-6-5 when tied at the half. The New England Revolution are 5-6-7 when tied at the half.
  • New England was 8-5-4 at Gillette Stadium during the MLS regular season. Sporting KC finished the regular season with an identical road record, best in MLS.
  • Sporting KC is 23-14-11 all-time against the New England Revolution in MLS competitions.
  • Saturday marked the first time that Sporting KC and New England have met in the MLS playoffs.
  • Saturday marked the Revolution's first postseason appearance since 2009.
  • New England scored the first two goals in the 55th and 67th minutes of Saturday's match.
  • Aurelien Collin cut New England's lead in half in the 69th minute of the match, his second playoff goal since joining Sporting KC, moving Collin into a tie with Teal Bunbury, Miklos Molnar and Davy Arnaud on Sporting KC's all-time chart for most goals scored during the postseason.
  • Collin's goal was the 50th goal scored by Kansas City during postseason all-time. Twelve of those goals have come during the 61-75 minute interval.
  • Sporting KC has conceded 52 goals during the postseason.
  • C.J. Sapong and Chance Myers each earned an assist on Collin's goal.
  • The assist is Sapong's third of 2013 and first during postseason competition.
  • The assist is Myers fourth in 2013 and first during postseason competition.
  • Sporting KC has won MLS Cup once (2000) in 11 playoff appearances. New England has yet to win MLS Cup in 10 postseason trips.
  • Prior to Saturday, Sporting KC had held the New England Revolution scoreless for five straight games. Andy Dorman's 55th minute goal on Saturday ended a 556-minute scoreless streak for New England in matches against Kansas City.
  • There were seven yellow cards issued on Saturday, four shown to Revolution players and three to Sporting Kansas City.
  • Matt Reis had a 7-0-4 record in the 2013 regular season, first keeper in MLS history to go a year undefeated with at least 10 games played. Reis moves to 8-0-4 on the year in all-competition, remaining undefeated in 2013 with Saturday's victory.
  • The loss snaps a six-game unbeaten streak for Sporting KC against the New England Revolution.
  • Saturday marked the 50th all-time meeting between Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution.
  • Sporting Kansas City outshot New England 13-8 on Saturday.
  • Chance Myers had four shots on Saturday marking a career high and most shots among all players on the field.
  • Teal Bunbury completed 93.1% of passes on Saturday, most among all players with more then one pass during the game.
  • Matt Besler had 86 touches on Saturday, most among all players.
  • Sporting Kansas City has never won a playoff game when allowing the first goal (0-12-1).
  • Sporting KC is 6-9-0 in one-goal games during MLS Cup playoffs.
  • Sporting KC will host New England in the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night at Sporting Park at 8 p.m. CT.
02 November 9:33 pm

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday night in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. New England took a 2-0 lead in the second half but Sporting KC rallied to pull one back before the final whistle. The two teams will meet on Wednesday night at Sporting Park for the second leg.

Man of the Match

Aurelien Collin was a physical presence throughout the match and scored a crucial second half goal. The Frenchman won six of seven aerial duels (85.7%), had six interceptions, and made 15 clearances. Collin scored three goals in the 2013 regular season and Saturday's was his first ever in postseason play.

Turning Point

Collin's 69th minute goal provided a much needed lift to Sporting KC only minutes after New England had extended their lead. It turned the momentum and Sporting KC were the more dangerous side for the remaining 20 minutes of the match. Heading back to Sporting Park, Sporting KC will need at least a win to advance and a two goal margin to avoid penalty kicks.

A few stats

  • Graham Zusi led all players with three chances created
  • Matt Besler led all players with eight interceptions
  • Sporting KC had 62% of possession, their second most for an away MLS match this season
  • Teal Bunbury completed 27 of 29 passes (93.1%)