Sporting Kansas City forward Soony Saad has scored three goals in the team's last three matches including two game-winners in all-competition.
Saad started his first League match of the 2014 season against the Dynamo on June 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium and tallied a 45th minute goal for the visitors, assisted by Benny Feilhaber. Team-leader in goals this season with 11, Dom Dwyer converted a penalty kick in the 70th minute to secure the win, despite Sporting KC midfielder Antonio Dovale's ejection in the 21st minute of play.
Saad also opened the scoring for Sporting KC against Minnesota United in their fourth round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory. Sporting KC defeated Minnesota 2-0 at Sporting Park before bowing out of the domestic tournament with a fifth round loss to the Portland Timbers.
The Timbers scored three consecutive goals to start the match, before Saad struck again to shrink Portland's lead to two goals. At final whistle, Portland led 3-1 and advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals. Sporting KC will have a chance at rendemption tonight as the team takes on Portland in League play at 10 p.m. CT at Providence Park.
When Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were named to the U.S. Men's National Team roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it marked the fifth consecutive tournament that a member of Kansas City's professional soccer team went to the World Cup.
Each week, we're highlighting a different World Cup tournament and Kansas City's representation at that tournament. The 1998 edition featured Preki (USA) and Uche Okafor (Nigeria), while the 2002 edition featured Tony Meola (USA). This week, we're throwing it back to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
That year, Bruce Arena named three Kansas City Wizards to the USMNT's roster: Eddie Johnson, Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff.
Johnson and Conrad played two matches each during the tournament, while Wolff came on as a sub in the USMNT's first match vs. the Czech Republic.
The United States earned one point during the tournament, falling to Ghana 2-1 in their final group stage match in the first match of what would become a budding rivalry.
Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match for Sporting Kansas City's 3-1 loss against the Portland Timbers at Sporting Park on Tuesday night. Voting is open until Wednesday evening.
There are good interviews, great interviews and interviews that you MUST listen to if you want to be an informed soccer fan. Peter Vermes' interview with Nate Bukaty this morning on The Border Patrol falls into the third category.
The Sporting KC Manager discussed the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the performance of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi at the tournament and the current state of Sporting KC including Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup match vs. the Portland Timbers.
Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum also joined Soren Petro on The Program this morning to discuss tonight's Open Cup match and getting the chance to play in front of his hometown fans.
Friday, June 20 saw clear skies and 80 degree temps for a much-needed break from the now commonplace daily downpour. It was a great day to be outside, but our finalists for the 2014 Kevin Gray Awards spent the evening with us at the Field Club at Sporting Park, so we could recognize them on their tremendous accomplishments.
The Kevin Gray Awards, presented by Pepsi, were established in honor of Kevin Gray, the late Kansas City Sports Commission president. Kevin was exceedingly passionate about soccer and its growth in the Kansas City area, so the Kevin Gray Player of the Year Awards recognize players, both youth and adult, for their excellence on the field. In addition to the Player of the Year Award, there is a Kevin Gray Coach of the Year Award, which recognizes a Kansas City area coach for his/her team’s success. The final award category is Soccer Ambassador of the Year, awarded to an individual who has worked tirelessly to support the game and its growth in Kansas City.
The 2014 Finalists are as follows:
• Female Youth Player of the Year: Cristina DeZeeuw, Haley Hanson, and Savannah Trujillo
• Male Youth Player of the Year: Matt Lewis, Jo Jo Piatczyc, and Steven Enna
• Adult Player of the Year: Frances Silva, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic
• Coach of the Year: Tony Tocco, Peter Vermes, Vlatko Andonovski
The winner of the 2014 Kevin Gray Soccer Ambassador of the Year is Robb Heineman.
Our finalists gathered at Sporting Park on Friday evening for the 2014 Kevin Gray Awards Finalist Show, presented by Pepsi. This event included a special TV broadcast, where each finalist was recognized and interviewed by Time Warner Cable representatives, and the show in its entirety was broadcast live by Time Warner SportsChannel. The show ran flawlessly, and due to the broad smiles on the faces of the guests, we can all assume that the event was a resounding success.
After the show, the finalists and their families enjoyed conversing with one another and taking pictures with the MLS Cup, which was also present at the event. No finalist walked away empty handed, as each was presented with a special gift bag, courtesy of Pepsi.
Here are all of the 2014 Kevin Gray Awards Finalists! pic.twitter.com/hJ9sH0Kgq0
— SportingClubNetwork (@SportingKC_SCN) June 20, 2014
It was a gloomy day in Kansas City on Thursday, but Sporting KC players Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer were able to brighten the afternoon for some local children. The duo teamed up with the Shadow Buddies Foundation and visited Children’s Mercy Hospital. Shadow Buddies are condition-specific dolls designed to be a friend just like me for seriously ill or medically challenged children. The foundation created their first professional soccer dolls in the likeness of both Soony and Dom this year complete with their names and numbers on them to hand out to children and sign.
During their visit to the hospital the guys stopped by a few patients' rooms as well as two different playrooms where families are able to interact and spend time away from the confines of their rooms. In the playrooms the guys got to kick around a ball and play games with the children, while also talking and getting to know them. Some serious World Cup soccer discussions occurred and each child was given a Shadow Buddy and had a chance to take pictures with the guys.
Even though the visit was just an hour, it was more than enough time to create lasting memories and provide hope to the families.
Here are thoughts on how the day went from both Saad and Dwyer:
“My favorite part of the day was seeing how happy the kids were when we gave them their very own Shadow Buddy”, Saad said. “We were able to interact with them and their families and I think I had just as much fun as they did.”
“The best part of today was definitely seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing their laughter,” Dwyer recalled. “Just knowing that you’re being a positive distraction for them and affecting them in a positive way. It was a heartwarming experience.”
By now you've probably seen Jimmy Fallon's opening monologue from Tuesday's The Tonight Show, where he "scouted" members of the U.S. Men's National Team including Sporting KC's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. If you haven't seen it yet, click here.
But while Fallon's skit was funny is its own right, we made sure late night host wouldn't have the last laugh.
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) June 19, 2014
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) June 19, 2014
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) June 19, 2014
— Matt Besler (@mbesler) June 20, 2014
Last Monday, Matt Besler became the first Kansas City-born player to feature in a FIFA World Cup when he started the United States' 2-1 win over Ghana. Kansas City fans had even more to cheer about on Monday when Sporting KC winger Graham Zusi came off the bench to provide the game-winning assist in the win.
But did you know that Besler and Zusi were not the first two players to play in a World Cup while playing their professional soccer in Kansas City?
That honor goes to Uche Okafor and Preki in 1998, who represented Nigeria and the United States, respectively.
Four years later, Tony Meola became the third Kansas City Wizards player to be named to a World Cup roster, when head coach Bruce Arena named the New Jersey native as his third goalkeeper behind Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller.
After playing every minute for the United States at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, Meola did not feature again for the national team until January 1999, opting to pursue a career as a professional kicker in the NFL. Meola returned to the national team picture in 1999, but did not see time for the United States at the 2002 World Cup.
Meola retired from professional soccer in 2006 as one of the most decorated goalkeepers in MLS and Kansas City history. He won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, MLS MVP and MLS Cup MVP in 2000, in a year that saw the Wizards win their first MLS Cup title.
As part of the League's 10th anniversay in 2005, MLS named Meola to the MLS All-Time Best XI squad. Meola was inducted in the inaugural Sporting Legend class in 2013.
Sporting Kansas City is on a talent search. However, no prior playing history is necessary. The club is seeking musically gifted indviduals who want to sing the National Anthem in front of 20,000+ onlookers. To be considered, sumbit your National Anthem YouTube recording to Anthem@SportingKC.com. The deadline to enter your submission is 11:59 p.m. CT on Sunday, July 27.
Sporting KC players and front office staff will collaborate to select 10 finalists, whose videos will be published online. Sporting Kansas City supporters will then be able to vote and the finalist receiving the most votes will have the opportunity to sing the National Anthem before Sporting Kansas City's Eastern Conference clash against D.C. United on August 23 at Sporting Park.
A few Sporting Kansas City players believe they have what it takes; we think they should stick to their day jobs. You be the judge:
Sporting Kansas City advanced to the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament defeating Minnesota United FC 2-0 last night. Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, affectionately known as G-baum, recorded a shut out in his first competitive match for the team. Ever vocal, G-baum is shouting about something and we need you to tell us what! The winning entry will receive two (2) tickets to our next home match against the Portland Timbers on June 24 as we continue our Open Cup run. All submissions must be in by 5:30p.m. CT on Friday. Good luck!