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28 November 2:13 pm

As we move closer to the MLS Cup Final on Dec. 7 at Sporting Park, we look back at the top 10 moments from the 2013 season that propelled Sporting KC to the league's championship match.

Yesterday, we began our countdown with Kei Kamara's June 29 brace that gave Sporting KC a 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew at Sporting Park. Today, we look at Claudio Bieler's 89th-minute goal that gave Sporting KC three points against D.C. United on April 5.

Six months ago, few MLS pundits expected D.C. United to contend for league records in futility. But after defeating Real Salt Lake at home on March 9, D.C. United would go three months before earning another victory. So for Sporting KC, the two-time defending Eastern Conference regular season champions, getting three points at home against DC was an absolute must.

Unfortunately for Sporting KC, the goals on April 5 were far and few between. Between near misses and Bill Hamid's athletic ability, the visitors kept Sporting KC off the board for 88 minutes. But it was the 89th minute, however, when the magic happened as Soony Saad pushed a weak back pass between the legs of Marcelo Saragosa and dribbled to the endline.  The Lebanese international passed the ball to the top of the six-yard box and Bieler wasted little time pushing the ball past Hamid for the game's lone goal.

It was the second of three consecutive wins for Sporting KC as Peter Vermes' club reasserted their dominance atop the Eastern Conference.

Check back on Friday for No. 8 on our Quest to MLS Cup countdown, presented by Ivy Funds.

27 November 4:31 pm

Leading up MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Park on December 7, we'll be counting down Sporting KC's Top 10 moments on the Quest for MLS Cup this season. To kick things off, we start with No. 10 which features a late game-winning goal from forward Kei Kamara.

It was an important goal for Sporting KC as the team had seen a two-goal lead slip away at the death in a 2-2 draw at FC Dallas a week earlier, confounding the team's elimination from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and a home loss to Conference leaders Montreal that same month. The win was the start of a five-match unbeaten streak during which the club collected 13 of a possible 15 points, including road wins at Chicago and Real Salt Lake.

Here's #10 in our countdown, Kamara's 80th minute strike against Columbus for his second goal of the game on June 29 at Sporting Park.

27 November 10:46 am

Tuesday night, Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine hosted a new episode of the Sporting KC Show on Sports Radio 810-WHB. The trio of hosts broke down Sporting KC's 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Championshp series as well as touched on a variety of topics around MLS including coaching changes and potential transfer targets.

In addition, the hosts were joined by Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin and Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey.

Listen to the full audio of the show below:

26 November 2:06 pm

The Tuesday night trio of Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine will be back in the Sports Radio 810 WHB studios tonight for The Sporting KC Show from 7-8 p.m. CT. On the agenda for this week's episode are interviews with Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin and Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerway to look ahead to MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Park, along with a wrap-up of Saturday's Eastern Conference Championship victory over the Houston Dynamo.

Join the conversation by calling 913-3-810-810 and listen live locally on 810 AM, online at 810WHB.com or via the station's free mobile app. You can also tweet your questions to @CalWilliamsSKC, @AndyEdMLS and @ElJefeAugustine.

And there's plenty more audio coverage of Sporting Kansas City availalble. Check out the following interviews:

26 November 11:37 am

Fresh off leading his club to the MLS Cup Final, Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes joined Sports Radio 810's Kevin Kietzman. Read clips from the interview or listen to the full podcast below:

On his confidence level leading into Saturday's game

"I just think that everyone had a much different maturity level with how we approached the game. And I include everyone: the fans and the coaching staff and you could just feel it within our group. And that's what gave me the confidence to know that we were going to go into that game and leave everything on the field."

On the team's reaction to giving up the early goal

"We didn't panic, we didn't all of a sudden get the 'Here we go again' type feeling. As I said to the guys, the difference between now and three years ago was [three years ago] we thought we had to win the game in the first minute of the game and we were going for everything. I think here we realized, this game is going to be 90 minutes and some injury time, so we have a lot of time to get ourselves into this game or a lot of time to manage if we score early. So we just need to understand what is in front of us ... The guys managed the game very well and always kept very good balance in the way we attacked so we didn't give up too much in the back."

On the impact the second goal had on Houston

"I think they are an incredible opponent, and they have a great work ethic over the course of every game we play them. They are a great competitor but I think once we scored that second goal, I think they realized for them to come back from that, it was going to be incredibly difficult. You could see it on their face. Every time they kept trying to go after it, they kept hitting the wall and were getting pushed back further and further."

On the MLS Cup opponent Real Salt Lake

"They are a very good team. I like the style that they play. They try to play the game and keep the ball on the floor a lot, which will wind up providing a really good game because we want to do the same thing. They have some very creative guys on their team. i had a couple of guys on the All-Star team, which I have a tremendous amount of respect for. They are a solid time right up through the middle. It's not going to an easy opponent by any means, but I expect it to be a good game because both teams will try to come and play. 

25 November 1:11 pm

Sporting Kansas City's dramatic 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo has earned them a spot in the 2013 MLS Cup.

One of the team's main reasons for success has been it's stingy defense including central defender Aurelien Collin. The Frenchman put in a great shift on Saturday night which included six interceptions, six tackles, and 19 clearances. Collin is the only player to achieve this feat in an MLS match in the last three years.

What's more impressive is Collin has had at least six interceptions, six tackles, and 15 clearancs twice this season. There are only two other players to have at least five tackles, five interceptions, and 15 clearances since the 2011 season. The full list is below.

Match   Player   Tackles   Interceptions   Clearances  
Sporting Kansas City vs Houston Dynamo (2013) Collin, Aurélien 6 6 19
New England Revolution vs Sporting Kansas City (2013) Collin, Aurélien 6 6 15
Portland Timbers vs Chicago Fire (2012) Berry, Austin 5 7 16
New England Revolution vs Columbus Crew (2012) Marshall, Chad 5 5 18

 

24 November 12:40 pm

Go in-depth behind Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win against the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park on Saturday with the match's fast facts.

  • Sporting Kansas City defeated the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship at Sporting Park on Saturday to advance to MLS Cup for the first time since 2004.
  • MLS Cup will be held in Kansas City for the first time in team-history when it's played at Sporting Park at 3 p.m. CT on December 7.
  • Sporting Kansas City will play the winner of Sunday's Western Conference Championship match at 8 p.m. CT between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake on ESPN.
  • Houston scored just three goals in the opening 15 minutes of games during the 2013 MLS regular season, fewest in the League. Houston's lone goal on Saturday came in the third minute, the earliest goal scored in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Oscar Boniek Garcia's goal in the 3rd minute on Saturday broke a streak of 204 minutes without a goal in the season series by either team.
  • Sporting KC's C.J. Sapong equalized in the 14th minute.
  • Sapong's goal ended Tally Hall's League best 200-minute shutout streak in the MLS Cup playoffs this year.
  • Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo both scored on Saturday, marking the first time that both of these teams have scored in the same match during the playoffs.
  • Houston has kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 MLS road games.
  • Dom Dwyer scored the game-winner, his first postseason goal with Sporting Kansas City.
  • Dwyer has scored 26 goals across all competition, including goals in six different competitions: MLS regular season, MLS Cup playoffs, USL Pro regular season, USL Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.
  • The goal was assisted by Benny Feilhaber, his second assist during the 2013 postseason.
  • Dwyer's goal was scored in the 63rd minute of the match. Sporting KC has scored 13 goals in the 61-75 minute interval during MLS postseason, their most productive interval.
  • With the come-from-behind victory, Sporting Kansas City handed the Houston Dynamo their first loss of 2013 after scoring the first goal in a match.
  • Since 1998, Sporting Kansas City has only one home playoff loss: a 2-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Championship in 2011. Sporting KC is 11-1-2 at home over that span.
  • Sporting KC is unbeaten (3-0-3) in their last six matches against Houston, allowing just two goals in those six games.
  • With tonight's victory, Sporting KC's record moves to 14-0-1 when leading at the 75th minute in 2013.
  • Six Sporting KC players to have started all nine of the team's playoff matches in the last three seasons: Jimmy Nielsen, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi.
  • Seth Sinovic has started and played every minute in each of the team's last 20 MLS matches, the longest active games played streak on the team. Sinovic leads all Sporting KC players with 3,613 minutes played in all competition this season.
  • Sporting KC has held opponents to a goal or fewer in 30 of the team's 38 MLS matches this season.
  • Sporting KC and the Houston Dynamo have met in the postseason for the past three seasons. The Dynamo eliminated Sporting KC in 2011 and 2012.
  • Sporting KC is 17-0-2 when C.J. Sapong scores in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Tonight's attendance set a new stadium record for the largest attendance (21,650) in Sporting Park's three-year history. All seats for the match sold out in less than 24 hours of the general public on sale.
  • Tonight is the 35th consecutive MLS match (playoffs included) sold out at Sporting Park.
  • With tonight's victory, Sporting Park is the first stadium to host the MLS All-Star Game, U.S. Men's National Team and MLS Cup in the same calendar year.
  • Peter Vermes is now 5-3-1 as a coach in the postseason.
  • Benny Feilhaber was credited with six of Sporting Kansas City's nine chances created on Saturday.
    Aurelien Collin led all players with 60 total passes, 96 touches, 19 clearances, 12 possessions gained and six interceptions on Saturday.
    Graham Zusi led all players with eight crosses on Saturday.
    C.J. Sapong suffered a game-high five fouls on Saturday.
  • Tech N9ne performed a special Sporting KC rap prior to the match on Saturday.
  • The Kansas City Cauldron took over the Boulevard Members Club prior to the match allowing all KC Cauldron Members, Members Stand ticket holders and the first 500 Season Ticket Members (regardless of seat location) into the Boulevard Members Club for complimentary beer and additional food and drink specials.
  • Saturday's match was nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network with Kyle Martino, John Strong and Russ Thaler on the commentary team. The game was also broadcast nationally on Univision Deportes.
  • MLS Cup will be the 20th Sporting KC game on national television in 2013.
  • Locally, the match aired on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM.
23 November 11:02 pm

Sporting Kansas City defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Championship to book their spot in the 2013 MLS Cup (to be played at Sporting Park). Houston took the lead in the third minute but Sporting KC countered with goals from C.J. Sapong and Dom Dwyer to earn the victory.

Man of the Match

Benny Feilhaber assisted on the game-winning goal and continously created chances throughout the match. Feilhaber showed his great skill by flicking a pass to Dwyer, who calmly slotted it past Houston's Tally Hall in the 63rd minute. Feilhaber completed 88.6% of his passes, created six chances, and had three tackles.

Turning Point

C.J. Sapong's 14th minute goal was a needed response after Houston took an early first half lead. The Dynamo's Boniek Garcia stunned the Sporting Park crowd with a 3rd minute strike but Sapong's reply flipped the momentum back towards the home side. Sporting KC were the dominant for the majority of the match and eventually found the game-winning goal 18 minutes into the second half.

A few stats

  • Sporting KC is 17-0-2 when C.J. Sapong scores a goal
  • Graham Zusi and Aurelien Collin both won 60% of their duels
  • Aurelien Collin had 19 clearances, six tackles, and six interceptions
23 November 8:31 pm

You may have heard Tech N9ne's hit Loud, but have you heard the remix LOUDER? If you were at Sporting Park tonight then you definitely have, as the KC native electrified the crowd with his Sporting KC remix prior to the match. Listen to the song here:

YEAH I PLAY MY MUSIC LOUD
GET UP OUT YOUR SEATS, TURN UP IN THIS PIECE
SPORTING KC – STRAIGHT BEAST
YOU KNOW I PLAY MY MUSIC LOUD
SPORTING KANSAS CITY IN THIS THANG, YO WE BOUT TO TURN IT UP AND LET IT BANG

YEAH
TURN IT UP LIKE BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
LET IT BE LIKE BANG BANG BANG BANG
TURN IT UP LIKE BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
LET IT BE LIKE BANG BANG BANG BANG
TURN IT UP LIKE BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
LET IT BE LIKE BANG BANG BANG BANG
TURN IT UP LIKE BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
LET IT BANG, LET IT BANG

I CAN’T HELP IT CAUSE I LIKE IT LOUD, I HYPE THE CROWD
I’M PARTYING DESPITE THE CLOUDS
IT MIGHT BE FOUL, THE NEIGHBORS WANNA FIGHT ME NOW
I’M LIKE “WOW”

YEAH I PLAY MY MUSIC LOUD
GET UP OUT YOUR SEATS, TURN UP IN THIS PIECE
SPORTING KC – STRAIGHT BEAST
YOU KNOW I PLAY MY MUSIC LOUD