Photos by Jamila St. Ann
Sporting Kansas City continued preparation today for the team's first-ever trip to Yankee Stadium, where they will take on Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday live on SKCTV. Check out the slideshow above -- courtesy of Jamila St. Ann -- with images from today's training session at Swope Soccer Village.
Saturday's match will be the focus of tonight's Sporting KC Show from 7-8 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Hosts Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine will be joined by Sporting KC defender Jalil Anibaba during the show, which will air live from Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen at the Legends (1859 Village West Parkway) in Kansas City, Kansas. Tune in on 810 AM, 810whb.com or via the station's free mobile app and join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.
Major League Soccer enters its third week of the season with another exciting slate of games scheduled. Aside from Sporting KC's match against the Portland Timbers Saturday night at Sporting Park (Tickets), there are three nationally-televised matches that we'll be watching this weekend:
Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, March 21 - 3pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
The only perfect team in Major League Soccer opens week three with a road test in Chester, Pennsylvania, against the Philadelphia Union. FC Dallas is coming off a 3-1 win over Sporting KC after their season-opening 1-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Philadelphia earned a heartbreaking 3-3 tie last week against Real Salt Lake after a questionable call gave RSL a game-tying penalty kick in the final minutes of the game.
New York Red Bulls v. D.C. United - Sunday, March 22 - 4pm CT | ESPN2
This week's edition of the I-95 series features two of Major League Soccer's original clubs. The New York Red Bulls will play their first home game of 2015 this weekend against D.C. United. The Red Bulls tied Sporting KC 1-1 in the team's first match of the year, while D.C. United opened the year with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire - Sunday, March 22 - 6pm CT | FOX Sports 1
The second match of Sunday's MLS doubleheader is a long-time coming for Major League Soccer. After not securing a stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes in the mid 2000s, the club left the city for Houston prior to the 2006 campaign. Two years later, San Jose was awarded a new club and on Sunday it will play its first game at Avaya Stadium (pictured, right), the latest soccer-specific-stadium in the United States. San Jose is coming off an impressive 3-2 win at Seattle, while the Chicago Fire are looking for their first point of the year after back-to-back losses in the season's first two weeks.
Since it opened on June 9, 2011, Sporting Park has hosted its share of major events. From MLS Cup to the MLS All-Star Game, to World Cup qualifiers for both the United States Men's and Women's National Teams, Kansas City has proven to be a hotbed for American / International soccer with Sporting Park at the epicenter.
For today's TBT, we're throwing it back to the beginning. After Sporting KC opened Sporting Park with a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire, the newest soccer-specific stadium in the United States faced a quick turnaround before a Gold Cup doubleheader only five days later.
The first match of the doubleheader pitted Canada against Panama. That match finished 1-1 with seven-time MLS All-Star striker Dwayne De Rosario scoring the lone goal for Canada. As the Canada match came to a close, the Sporting Park stands quickly filled for the much-anticipated night-cap as the USMNT made their first trip to Kansas City since 2001.
The USMNT controlled the run of play against the overmatched Guadeloupe, but could only muster one Jozy Altidore goal in a 1-0 victory. The USMNT finished second in the group stage and defeated Jamaica and Panama in the knockout round before falling to Mexico 4-2 in the championship match in head coach Bob Bradley's final match in charge.
Four years later, the Gold Cup returns to Kansas City and the United States will square off against Panama in the headline match. The first match of the doubleheader features Haiti against the winner of the Honduras / French Guiana play-in series. On Thursday, Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza was named to Honduras' squad for the two-match play-in series against French Guiana.
Tickets for the Gold Cup doubleheader went on sale to the general public Thursday morning. They can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Do you think the United States will successfully defend its Gold Cup title and clinch a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup? Comment below!
Sporting Kansas City was off on Wednesday and so were students across the Midwest. The KCMO school district is in the midst of Spring Break, but World Cup veteran and Notre Dame pre-med graduate Matt Besler knows that every day counts in the quest to get better. Besler hosted a STEM in Sports clinic in conjunction with Time Warner Cable for children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City. The students learned about science and math while having fun on the soccer field.
After Besler demonstrated the Magnus effect with throw-ins and corner kicks, Sporting KC head fitness coach Mateus Manoel spoke to the group about how the team incorporates technology into the players' training, treatment, hydration and diet. To end the fun-filled day of activities, the students received a guided tour of Sporting Park to learn about the engineering entailed in designing a soccer-specific stadium.
Wednesday wasn't the last time they'll be able to see the unique infastructure inside the start-of-the-art stadium. Each student received a prize pack that included a pair of tickets to Sporting Kansas City's home match against the Philadelphia Union on April 5.
Listen to the latest edition of The Sporting KC Show embedded below as hosts Dave Borchardt, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine were joined by Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury and Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin for last night's episode on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Once teammates in Kansas City, Jewsbury and Zavagnin previewed this Saturday's match-up at Sporting Park.
Jewsbury -- a Missouri native -- played his first eight professional seasons in KC after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He is one of only six active MLS players to appear in more than 300 regular season matches and has been a member of the Timbers since their inaugural MLS season in 2011. Only Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe have more MLS appearances for the club.
A limited number of tickets remain available, including standing room only tickets, via Ticketmaster.com for Saturday and the first 10,000 fans inside the gates will receive Sporting KC flags courtesy of H&R Block.
The Sporting Club Network (SCN), presented by Price Chopper, is excited to announce the #1Crest1Club contest, presented by Chipotle, has started up for the spring season! Starting today, SCN members have the ability to participate in this online contest giving them the chance to win Chipotle gift cards or tickets to a Sporting KC match.
At Sporting KC -- and within SCN -- we believe that we are all a part of one big club, from the professionals playing at Sporting Park to the recreational teams playing across the Midwest. Network members and Sporting KC players both wear the Sporting Club patch on their jerseys to signify how we are all represented by the same crest.
Here is where the fun comes in, and we are looking for some real creativity this year. All you have to do is snap a picture that clearly includes the SCN Price Chopper patch on your jersey. This can be a group shot after a game, at the beach on vacation or even a selfie in the stands at Sporting Park! We want to see where you enjoy representing the Sporting Club crest.
Once you get the perfect picture, send it into the SCN on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @SportingKC_SCN and using the #1Crest1Club hashtag. Each day (Monday-Friday), Sporting KC staff members will choose a daily winner at 6 p.m. CT. These winners will receive a Chipotle gift card.
Once the contest ends on April 10, the 20 daily winners will be narrowed down to the top three. The contest will then move to a vote via SCN social media accounts for the grand prize. The grand prize voting will run from April 10-12 and the winner will be announced on April 13! This grand prize winner will receive a tour of Sporting Park before the game and two tickets in the Victory Suite for the Sporting KC match on May 3rd against Chicago Fire.
After conceding an early goal to FC Dallas, Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza levels the match at 1-1 with a left-footed strike from just outside the 18 yard box.
Remember that time Graham Zusi hit a 45-yard screamer in Frisco? Well let us remind you with this week's #TGIF below.
Soccer Sunday lived up to its hype during the first week of the MLS season. Orlando City SC and NYCFC played to a 1-1 draw in front of 62,000 fans with Kaka tying the match late in dramatic fashion. Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls tied 1-1, but there was no shortage of chances for either side in the match, while the Seattle Sounders showed why they are one of the favorites to hoist MLS Cup after defeating the New England Revolution 3-0 at home.
So what's in store for MLS this week? Let's take a look. As a reminder you can watch all out-of-market and non-national TV matches LIVE through MLS Live. Click here for details.
Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City SC - Friday, March 13 | 6pm CT | UniMas
The first of three nationally televised matches this weekend involves the only MLS Player to also win FIFA World Player of the Year. Kaka's Orlando City side travels to Houston tonight for their first road match of the year. The Dynamo won their first match under new head coach Owen Coyle after a Team of the Week performance from homegrown goalkeeper Tyler Deric. For those looking to watch tonight's match in English, UniMas debuted their new SAP feature last week. Click here for details.
NYCFC vs. New England Revolution - Sunday, March 15 | 4pm CT | ESPN2
With D.C. United, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, there's been no shortage of great matches along the I-95 corridor. Throw in NYCFC and fans in the northeast can watch great rivalry matches almost every week. The Revolution will get their first look at NYCFC and World Cup winner David Villa this weekend when they travel to Yankee Stadium for the venue's first MLS match.
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy - Sunday, March 15 | 6pm CT | FOX Sports 1
It wasn't a perfect opener for the defending MLS Cup champs, but they got the job done once again with a 2-0 victory over Chicago Fire. LA Galaxy received goals from Jose Villarreal and Robbie Keane in their first MLS match without Landon Donovan. Portland Timbers narrowly missed out on a playoff berth last year, but hope 2015 is a different story. Caleb Porter's side earned a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake in the team's home opener last weekend.
A new edition of The Sporting KC Show aired on Sports Radio 810 WHB tonight as hosts Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum and Carter Augustine discussed Sporting KC's 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls and looked ahead to Saturday's match at FC Dallas. This week's episode was highlighted by interviews with defender Ike Opara -- who scored on Sunday in his return from a season-ending injury in 2014 -- and FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead.
Listen to the show in its entirety below...
In addition, Manager Peter Vermes was a guest on The Program with Sports Radio 810 WHB's Soren Petro on Monday. Vermes spoke in-depth about a variety of topics, ranging from the result against the Red Bulls to the debuts of Luis Marin and Krisztian Nemeth to the scouting work involved at the youth levels through the Sporting KC Academy.
Hear those comments and more in the 23-minute segment below...