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15 November 8:49 pm

It's about one week until the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship at Sporting Park but let's take a look back to the first leg at the Houston Dynamo. It was the 29th minute when Houston's Boniek Garcia sent a curling free kick on frame but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was up to the task. 

Enjoy todays #TGIF which features The White Puma making one of his three saves in the match.

15 November 7:09 pm


Photo via @RcHaarer on Twitter

Sporting KC and the Portland Timbers stand one game away from facing off in MLS Cup 2013, adding an extra bit of spice to the news out of Tucson, Ariz. that the two teams will meet in a pre-season friendly on Feb. 1 at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex. USL Premier Development League side FC Tucson -- In conjunction with the stadium's inaugural event, a Fall Showcase against Chivas USA tonight -- revealed the preliminary schedule for the 11 MLS teams that will be making pre-season stops in The Old Pueblo in 2014.

After breaking ground in April, North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex officially opened last month. The development is part of Pima County’s multi-million dollar investment to make improvements at the facility, including a sixth soccer field, scoreboard, entrance, concessions and restrooms. The upcoming season will mark the fourth straight year that Sporting KC has selected Tucson as a pre-season site; the club will announce the team's full 2014 pre-season schedule next week.

Portland and Sporting KC met in Tucson in the 2013 preseason ahead of successful regular seasons for both clubs. The Timbers finished atop the Western Conference standings and, like Sporting KC, will host the decisive second leg in the Conference Championship round of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs next weekend.

15 November 12:40 pm

Sporting KC forward Soony Saad started and played 74 minutes for Lebanon in today's 0-0 draw at Kuwait in their 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier. Because the match was an official FIFA competition, Saad is now officially cap-tied to Lebanon.

Lebanon is currently in third place in their group, behind first place Iran and second place Kuwait. The top two teams from the group advance to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. In addition, the third-place team with the highest number of points will advance to the 2015 tournament. Lebanon currently leads all third place teams with five points after four games.

Lebanon will continue their qualifying campaign when they host Iran on Tuesday in Beirut. They will conclude the group on March 5 with a trip to Bangkok to play last place Thailand.

Saad will return to Kansas City following Tuesday's match against Iran in preparation for next Saturday's Eastern Conference Championship match at Sporting Park.

14 November 6:49 pm

In less than two weeks, Sporting Kansas City will have the opportunity to win their second conference championship in front of their home fans. It was a little more than nine years ago today that Kansas City defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 at Arrowhead Stadium to win the Western Conference. 2004 was a memorable season for KC as the team finished with a 14-9-7 record (49 points) and won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Today's Throwback Thursday features KC midfielder Diego Gutierrez lifting the Western Conference Championship trophy. 

14 November 1:59 pm

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi had advanced into the semifinal round of MLS 2013 Goal fo the Year voting. The goal, scored in the 8th minute on July 7th against the Chicago Fire, has been described as a shot+cross or shross. It was a perfectly hit ball that curled into the far past and past diving Chicago goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi.

The voting is now down to 16 goals in the semifinal round, which includes four groups of four goals. Along with Zusi, Group I features Portland's Diego Valeri, Houston's Adam Moffat, and Toronto's Darel Russell.

Voting for the Group I is open through tomorrow with the top goal advancing to the final round. The final group will be announced  . For all the latest information on Goal of the Year, be sure to check out MLSsoccer.com.

You can cast your vote using the poll to the right and check out all the nominees from Group I in the video below.

14 November 12:03 pm

The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) announced today the referee assignments for the second legs of both Conference Championships in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Baldomero Toledo will man the middle when Sporting Kansas City takes the field against the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park on Nov. 23.

The 43-year-old is a 10-year veteran of Major League Soccer, making his MLS debut in Kansas City in 2004 (sending off Jose Burciaga, Jr. in the 45th minute of a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids). He's worked two MLS Cups (2008 and 2010) and also officiated the MLS All-Star Game in 2007 and 2012.

In 2013, Toledo has refereed 22 MLS matches and leads all MLS referees with 72 yellow cards and 12 red cards shown. He's whistled 592 fouls (an average of 26.9 per game) and nine penalty kicks.

Of those 22 games, four featured Sporting Kansas City:

  • May 5: 4-0 win vs. Chivas USA that saw Dan Kennedy sent off and Claudio Bieler convert a PK
  • July 7: 1-1 draw at Chicago in which Daniel Paladini was ejected
  • August 10: 3-0 win vs. New England, who ended with nine men following the dismissals of Dimitry Imbongo and Andy Dorman
  • October 26: 2-1 win at Philadelphia in the team's regular season finale

Toledo -- who was the fourth official for last year's Eastern Conference Semifinal second leg between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park -- has worked two matches in this year's MLS Cup Playoffs on the Western Conference side of the bracket, highlighted by a controversial call to disallow a series-winner for Real Salt Lake against the reigning champions LA Galaxy.

He'll be joined on the referee crew by Kermit Quisenberry (AR1), Frank Anderson (AR2) and Edvin Jurisevic (4TH). Quisenberry was the MLS Assistant Referee of the Year in 2008 and has worked 17 games as an AR in 2013. Anderson ran the sideline 19 times this year in MLS matches.

14 November 11:37 am

Its pretty simple.

After the 0-0 draw at Houston on November 9, Sporting KC will advance to MLS Cup with a victory (of any margin) at Sporting Park on November 23. If they are to reach MLS Cup, Sporting KC would host that match regardless of the results in the Western Conference. A draw would require overtime and possibly penalty kicks while a loss would see Sporting KC eliminated from the playoffs.

MLS Cup at Sporting Park would cap an impressive year for Sporting KC's home stadium. It kicked off with the team's opening MLS regular season match on March 16, continued with the MLS All-Star Game, and was followed by the U.S. Men's National Team defeating Jamaica 2-0. 

For complete coverage of Sporting KC's playoff run be sure to check out the Playoff HQ.

13 November 6:15 pm

#SKCnation is made up of the best fans in MLS.

Capacity crowds in 34 straight MLS games. Traveling hundreds for away games. National anthems. Tifos. Pep rallies. Watch parties. Hosting this year's Independent Supporters Council summit. The list goes on.

Which is why we think one of our own belongs in ESPN's Fan Hall of Fame. In its second year, the worldwide leader is looking for three new inductees in 2013. Submit an application -- for yourself or a fellow fan -- online at FanHallofFame.com until Nov. 18. Ten finalists will be announced on Dec. 2.

 

13 November 5:59 pm

Uri Rosell is a busy man these days, what with CONCACAF Champions League and MLS Cup playoffs on the brain. I caught up with him to get the easy answers: His favorite foods, his favorite musicians, and why Peter Vermes could easily take on a bear. Check it out!

Jamila St. Ann: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up, outside of sports?

Uri Rosell: I wanted to have my own business, my own company. That’s why I’m learning English and I speak it well. Next year I will start at the university to learn more. Football, soccer, is my life but you have to have other plans because you never know what will happen.

JS: So you like music. If you were a performer, what would stage or band name be?

UR: That’s tough. It depends who would be in the band with me.

JS: In your video series “Uri Rosell: Music Critic”, people were surprised that you like Phil Collins. What other artists would they be surprised you liked?

UR: Bon Jovi maybe because of my age, maybe. I’m a little young for this kind of music. I like Bon Jovi and I like jazz. I like the kind of music that, maybe in Europe, isn’t popular.

JS: What scares you?

UR: A lot animals! Snakes scare me. Big spiders. It’d scare me if I found one where it wasn’t supposed to be. I don’t want to see those. And sometimes food! Weird foods, foods I’ve never seen before, I stay away from those things too.

JS: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

UR: Ham. Spanish ham. I would pick that. You can’t find it anywhere except in Spain. It’s delicious.

JS: What do you like most about Kansas City?

UR: A lot of things! Parks, good places to go, but I like most the people. They are so sweet and have a lot of patience with me. When I arrived, I couldn’t speak English and they helped me. They were all nice. It’s like a family.

JS: When you go on a trip, what do you make sure you always have with you?

UR: I’d like to make sure that my family comes. That’s the most important part. The material things I bring are my phone and headphones. I always bring ideas too! To have things to do there.

JS: If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

UR: Hmmm. (Fitness Coach Mateus Manoel enters). Mate, ¿puedo ser un animal, qué animal sería?

Mateus Manoel: ¿Yo?

UR: Yo.

MM: ¿Tu?

UR: Sí, si yo fuera un animal…

MM: Well, I would be a lion. He’d be a squirrel. *both laugh*

UR: No…

MM: He’d need to be an animal that gets surprised often.

UR: Pequeño pero efectivo.

MM: Small but effective.

JS: Chinchilla?

UR: No! Something more fierce.

MM: What animal hides, then attacks?

JS: Foxes?

MM: A fox. I like a fox for him. Fast, agile.

JS: Red hair, like Uri.

UR: Okay, a fox.

JS: Last question: who would win in a wrestling match between Peter Vermes and a grizzly bear?

UR: *laughs* I don’t know! Peter is a very strong guy. It depends. Maybe if Peter is angry, then he would definitely win. 

13 November 1:31 pm

To celebrate the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship coming to sold out Sporting Park, Sporting Kansas City is auctioning off five unique packages for fans. Each package includes an autographed item and a pair of tickets for the most anticipated match of the season to date. Proceeds from this auction will go to support the mission of The Victory Project -- our foundation to encourage, celebrate and help kids in Kansas City who are battling cancer.

The auction -- operated online at biddingforgood.com -- is now open and will close at 12 p.m. CT (noon) on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Check out the package options below:

Auction #1: This package includes an authentic, game-worn Sporting KC jersey signed by Graham Zusi on both the front and back, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 103, Row 12, Seats 15-16.
Starting Bid: $250 (Click Here)

Auction #2: This package includes an authentic, game-worn Sporting KC jersey signed by Aurelien Collin on both the front and back, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 103, Row 12, Seats 13-14.
Starting Bid: $250 (Click Here)

Auction #3: This package includes a full team-signed Breast Cancer Awareness soccer ball, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 131, Row 23, Seats 19-20.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)

Auction #4: This package includes a full team-signed Boulevard Brewing Company playoff canvas, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 104, Row 21, Seats 3-4.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)

Auction #5: This package includes a full team-signed Boulevard Brewing Company playoff canvas, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 104, Row 21, Seats 5-6.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)