Sporting Park continues to be recognized as one of the very best venues in the industry. The state-of-the-art, $200+ million stadium in Kansas City, Kan. was this year's recipient of the Gold Award for Best Sports Event to Entertain Clients in Ingram's Best of Business Kansas City.
The annual competition is in its 25th year of honoring readers' selections in more than 100 categories which highlight the best businesses across the local metropolitan area. All award winners were featured in the August edition of Ingram's magazine and the publication hosted the 2013 Best of Business Kansas City awards celebration on Thursday to hand out the engraved walnut plaques (shown on right).
Click here for a full list of awards and accolades received by Sporting Club, Sporting Park and Sporting Kansas City.
Benny Feilhaber joined Kevin Kietzman on Between the Lines on Thursday to preview tonight's match against the Philadelphia Union. The guys examined the tight race for the top five spots in the East with just five games remaining in the MLS regular season.
The conversation then switched gears to discuss Feilhaber's Brazilian descent and the 2014 World Cup on the horizon. If you want to know the best beaches in Brazil and the difference between Fogo de Chao and authentic restaurants in Rio, listen to the full podcast below:
Zac MacMath, Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, AJ DeLaGarza, Jeremy Hall and Rodney Wallace. Those six players would form a solid foundation for any MLS side.
But what would happen if those six played together at the collegiate level? A national title ... that's what would happen. And that's what did happen for the University of Maryland Terrapins in 2008.
This weekend, instead of working together on the field, Zusi and MacMath will go toe-to-toe when Sporting KC and the Philadelphia Union take the pitch at Sporting Park on Friday (7pm, Buy Tickets).
Zusi finished his collegiate career with 28 goals and 20 assists to go along with a pair of national titles. The Sporting KC midfielder has been a revelation for his MLS club with two MLS All-Star appearances and an MVP runner-up appearance in his young career.
MacMath finished his three-year career at Maryland with 34 shutouts and a .65 goals against average in 65 games played. The 22-year-old goalkeeper, who Philadelphia drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, is having his best professional season to-date with 10 shutouts in 29 games played.
Friday's match kicks off at 7 p.m. and be seen nationally on NBC Sports Network and locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
For this week's Prep Talk, I spoke with Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald.
What's been the reason for Philadelphia's recent struggle to score goals (1 in last 5 matches)?
"I think that they have been figured out, honestly. Everybody talks about how constistency is the key to success in Major League Soccer but they've almost been too consistent because teams have figured out how to shut down their wingers. The Union don't really do all that much through the center of midfield. They really push the attack through the flanks and cross the ball a lot. Teams have figured out how to shut that down and the Union haven't been able to come up with another option."
Sebastien Le Toux is tied for the MLS lead with 12 assists. How has he played this season in his return back to Philadelphia?
"It's been pretty quiet in recent weeks obviously you can't register too many assists if you don't score a lot of goals. But I do think that he has been a success story this year because when they signed him, they said we're going to play him as a forward because that's his best position and is where he ought to be. And then they went out and signed Conor Casey who as a pure forward is a better player than Sebastien Le Toux is. And so Le Toux made the sacrifice and has played on the right side of the field and done very well at it. One thing I will say is that I think one of the reasons why he's fallen off recently is he's been playing on the left wing instead of the right in recent weeks. He's a lot better on the right side. He's a lot more effective on the right side than he is on the left."
How do you expect Philadelphia to approach Friday's match at Sporting Park?
"They need results. They need results in a hurry. They've fallen from second place earlier in the summer all the way now to seventh and out of the playoffs. They've fallen fast. Considering that they've never won in Kansas City, they'd go in there primarily in search of a result but they need wins. They have to go for it to some degree and that could leave them open to be nailed on the counterattack by Kansas City. I'm not optimistic in part because the way they've played recently and in part because they've never won there (in KC). Kansas City is a really tough team to beat at Sporting Park."
Sporting KC captain and radio talk show favorite Jimmy Nielsen joined The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning with hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. The White Puma talked American football, raising his family in Kansas City and Friday's match-up with the Philadelphia Union.
"They've been struggling a little bit lately but they're still in the playoff race so I expect a very, very tough game," Nielsen said. "I expect Philadelphia to come here to try to get the three points. I hope and I think they'll come here and attack a little bit. I'm pretty sure, if that's the case, it's going to be a very, very interesting and very, very entertaining game. It's going to be very exciting. We're one of three teams battling for first place. It's a huge game for us tomorrow to pick up those three points."
Hear the full interview embedded below...
Sporting Kansas City returns home to Sporting Park on Friday as they host the Philadelphia Union in a nationally-televised match (7 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network).
It's a match with a lot at stake as Sporting KC are three points off the top spot in the East and Philadelphia are one point behind fifth place New England. What will be the key matchups and factors for both teams?
Check out the video below as MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle preview Friday night's match.
Sporting KC hosts the Philadelphia Union in an important Eastern Conference clash. The Union are currently one point off the last playoff spot with five matches remaining in the Eastern Conference standings. This is the second of three meetings between the two sides in the 2013 regular season.
Philadelphia have one player listed on the injury report and that's Keon Daniel who is questionable with a left groin strain. The team could see some changes to the starting lineup but manager John Hackworth has largely kept things the same throughout the last several matches.
The Union have been struggling mightily in recent weeks with losses in their last three of four matches and a scoreless streak extends over 300 minutes. Before the losing streak, Philadelphia were battling for the top spot in the Eastern Conference but now sit in seventh place. The majority of the problems have been on the offensive end where the team has not scored two or more goals in a match since August 10th vs D.C. United. A result for Philadelphia would greatly help their playoff chances while another loss could move them further down the standings.
Amobi Okugo (Midfielder) - A talented young midfielder who was recently named #8 on MLSsoccer.com's 24 under 24
Sebastien Le Toux (Forward) - Tied for the MLS lead with 12 assists and scored Philly's lone goal in the March 2nd match vs Sporting KC
|at San Jose (1-0 loss)||vs Houston (1-0 loss)|
Some say your college years are the most memorable years of your life. We put that to the test on a few of the players. In part three of four, Benny Feilhaber is up to see what he recalls about his alma mater.
Jamila St. Ann: Benny Feilhaber, where did you go to school? (1 point)
Benny Feilhaber: UCLA.
JS: What is your mascot and what is your mascot’s name? (2 points)
BF: It’s a Bruin. And the name of the mascot? I bet if you told me, I’d know…
JS: Sure, but this is about you remembering.
BF: I’m not going to remember…Bruin the Bear?
JS: His name is Joe. And the female mascot is Josephine.
BF: Joe Bruin? Yeah, I definitely did not know that.
JS: What year was UCLA established? I’ll accept two different answers. (1 point)
BF: What year was UCLA established?! *exaggerated sigh* Uh…19…am I in the right century?
Molly Dreska, from the side: Stop! You got it.
JS: No, 1919. I’ll give that to you…
BF: Oh haha! I was seriously going to guess around the 1920s or ‘30s. So I was going to be close.
JS: What are your official colors? (1 point)
BF: Blue and gold? That has got to be close enough.
JS: Everybody else has said their officially listed colors. It’s UCLA Blue and California Gold.
BF: C’mon. You’ve got to give me full credit for that! I mean, “California Gold”?
JS: We’ll see…upon further review. What was the date of your first goal and who was it against? (2 points)
BF: Me? The date? I know it was against Portland.
JS: Yup. You’re good. Everyone else has been really close on this…
BF: It must have been…August? September. September…5th. 2003?
JS: September 21.
BF: Wow, when does the season start? I thought the season started in like, August.
JS: How many career goals did you get? (1 point)
BF: Career goals I got…seven.
JS: Seven career goals? Like, in total?
BF: In college? Yeah, it was seven. I got two my freshman year and five my sophomore. I only had two years there.
JS: Oh…okay…I guess I got this one wrong. UCLA’s website says 19…
BF: Maybe assists? No, not even assists. Points maybe. Nineteen points maybe.
JS: I’ll have to go back on this one.
BF: Well it was definitely seven goals though. So you’ve got to give me points on the colors question since you were wrong on this one!
JS: Okay, I’ll go back and we’ll see…
(Upon further review, Benny had 19 Games Started, and seven career goals. Due to this error, Benny, you’re awarded 1 bonus point.)
JS: Lastly, what is the title of your fight song? (2 points)
BF: The fight song? Uh…the Might Bruins?
JS: You technically have two, so that answer works. Bonus points (5 points) if you can sing me any of it.
BF: You want me to sing it?
JS: Yeah. If you’re really enthusiastic, you get the points.
BF: Alright. It goes:
The Sporting KC Show aired Tuesday on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong and Philadelphia Union commentator J.P. Dellacamera joined hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine to preview Friday's nationally televised Eastern Conference match-up at Sporting Park.
Sapong, coming off a two-goal game to help Sporting KC secure a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC last weekend, talks about finding his rhythm heading into the remaining five MLS matches. To hear Sapong's thoughts on his recent run of form, listen to the full podcast below: