Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Friday night at Sporting Park.
The road to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup begins in Kansas City for the No. 1 ranked U.S. Women's National Team, who began training at Swope Soccer Village on Monday in preparation for next week's 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship at Sporting Park. The eight-team tournament will qualify three teams directly to the World Cup finals in Canada next summer, while the fourth-place finisher will advance to a two-game playoff against Ecuador.
The United States opens the competition against Trinidad and Tobago in the second game of the Group A doubleheader on Wednesday, Oct. 15. Tickets start at $32 and are available online at Ticketmaster.com.
With three weeks left in the 2014 MLS Regular Season, three teams have clinched a playoff spot, five teams are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and the remaining 11 teams are vying for the final seven playoff spots.
For the first time all year, Sporting KC enters a weekend with the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. If Sporting KC defeats the Chicago Fire Friday night at Sporting AND the Philadelphia Union defeat the Columbus Crew on Saturday OR Toronto FC grab two or fewer points from their two matches this week, Sporting KC will book its fourth consecutive playoff berth.
If you haven't purchased MLS Live this season, now is as good a time as any. At only $18.99, the streaming service is a huge bargain for the remainder of the season.
Sporting KC's match vs. Chicago will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and can be seen locally on KMCI TV's 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the Sporting Park Box Office.
Outside of Sporting KC's on Friday, here are a other games that we'll be keeping an eye on this week.
1. Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo | Wednesday, Oct. 8, 6:30pm CT | MLS Live
Houston's playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread. The Dynamo are currently seven points back of fifth place in the East, so at this point in the season every game is a must-win.
Toronto FC has a bit more leeway, but not by much. The Reds are three points back of the Crew for the final playoff spot and have a game in hand on Columbus. A win on Wednesday would move Toronto into a tie for fifth place in the East and give them the edge in the first tiebreaker (most wins).
2. Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | Friday, Oct. 10, 9pm CT | NBCSN
Plain and simple, the 2014 Supporters' Shield will be decided by the two Seattle-LA matches to close the season. But with the two teams tied atop the West at 60 points, this week will be critical for each team as they head into the final two weeks of the season. Seattle hosts Vancouver Friday night on NBCSN in their final Cascadia clash of the season. The Whitecaps are currently one point ahead of Portland for the final playoff spot in the West and will need a strong defensive effort to slow down Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and the high-powered Sounders attack.
3. Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution | Saturday, Oct. 11, 3pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
New England has been one of the hottest teams in MLS with seven wins in their last eight matches. The Revolution are currently in second place in the East, two points ahead of Sporting KC and four points back of D.C. United. Saturday's match is the first of three Conference matches for the Revs to conclude the regular season.
4. Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew | Saturday, Oct. 11, 6pm CT | MLS Live
If Sporting KC earns three points on Friday, all of SKC Nation will be glued to Saturday's match at PPL Park. If both Sporting KC and the Philadelphia Union win, Peter Vermes' squad will be playing postseason soccer.
Columbus is currently in the final playoff spot, while Philadelphia sits four points behind them. A Crew win would all but eliminate the Union from booking a playoff spot.
5. New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC | Saturday, Oct. 11 6pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Defore; Three reasons MLS fans will want to tune in to this match on Saturday night. Another reason? Toronto FC is in a dog-fight for a playoff spot and cannot afford to drop many points over their final four games.
The Red Bulls are in a better spot after last weekend's win over Houston, sitting in fourth place in the East, four points above the red line.
6. FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy | Sunday, Oct. 12 6pm CT | ESPN2
A good matchup to end a great weekend of soccer. Bruce Arena has his team firing on all cylinders right now, outscoring their last three opponents 9-1 and carrying a 10-game unbeaten streak into the weekend. FC Dallas is six points above the red line and can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win over the Galaxy.
This weekend of October 10-13, Sporting KC and Swope Soccer Village will host the U17, U14 & U12 Central Region MLS Generation adidas Cup featuring Six MLS Academy clubs, including Sporting KC, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo.
U17 Division: All six MLS Academies will compete in the U17 division featuring two MLS GA cup games on Friday and Sunday with one Friendly on Monday. The schedule can be found online at www.mlssoccer.com/generationadidascup/2015.
U14 Division: Sporting KC, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids & Columbus Crew will play in the U14 division. Games will be held on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The schedule can be found online at www.sportingkc.com/academy/mlsgacup-u14-2014.
U12 Division: Sporting KC, Chicago Fire, & Houston Dynamo will play in the U12 division. Multiple games will be held on Saturday (7v7) & Sunday (11v11). The schedule can be found online at www.sportingkc.com/academy/mlsgacup-u12-2014.
For more information on Swope Soccer Village including a map of the fields, please visit www.sportingkc.com/swope-park-training-center.
You can also get updates by following @SKCAcademy on Twitter!
Congratulations to Sporting St. Croix and El Padrino, who were named Sporting Club Network Academy Affiliate of the Year and Sporting Club Network Club of the year, respectively. Guests from both clubs will attend Sporting Kansas City’s annual team awards ceremony, Pitch Black, on Saturday at Sporting Park.
In their first year as an Academy Affiliate, Sporting St. Croix fully embraced the Academy Affiliate program and rebranding process. Despite being the furthest Academy Affiliate, located in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, St. Croix consistently had some of the best participation in Academy events. Whether it was sending players and teams to compete during Academy Affiliate Weekend and MLS/MRL league play, or welcoming new Academy Affiliate Technical Director Desmond Armstrong on a visit, St. Croix was always well represented. The club even helped Sporting Kansas City’s Academy teams open up their seasons by playing in their first friendlies.
Sporting Club Network Club of the Year, El Padrino, has enjoyed a tremendously successful year in a variety of ventures. In just their second year as a member, El Padrino secured an agreement with Kansas City Power and Light through the Sporting Club Network and has seen their relationship flourish. Always looking for new ways to grow the game and foster the development of youth players throughout the Kansas City area, El Padrino teamed up with Soccer Nation and unveiled a new, two-field indoor complex, while also helping to support the planned construction of new futsal courts throughout Wyandotte County. El Padrino has hosted three different Sporting Club Network events this year, benefitting both their players and coaches, and has been instrumental in helping the Network and The Victory Project launch the community-focused Recycle Your Game program.
Sporting St. Croix and El Padrino will be formally recognized during Saturday’s Pitch Black awards ceremony in conjunction with Sporting Kansas City’s annual team awards. Fans are invited to vote for the various team awards online here through Thursday, October 9th. To stay up-to-date on the latest Sporting Club Network news, follow the Network on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The U.S. Women's National Team -- ranked No. 1 in the world and in the midst of an 87-game home unbeaten streak -- arrived in Kansas City on Sunday, 10 days before the start of the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship at Sporting Park on Oct. 15. Head coach Jill Ellis named her 20-player roster earlier today for the World Cup qualifying tournament, featuring Lauren Holiday, Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriguez from reigning NWSL champions FC Kansas City.
Follow @ussoccer_wnt on Twitter for updates throughout their stay in Kansas City and secure your tickets online at Ticketmaster.com for the international doubleheaders on back-to-back nights at Sporting Park.
Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 0-0 draw against D.C. United on Friday night.
In the same way that Kansas City has embraced its soccer team, the soccer team has embraced the city...This is an organization that knows that being a champion isn’t just about what you do on the field. It’s also what you do off the field. I know that the entire city is very proud of you.
Those were the words of President Barack Obama as he welcomed Sporting Kansas City to the White House on Wednesday to formally congratulate the club on their 2013 MLS Cup championship and to recognize the team's commitment to the community. In that spirit, The Victory Project and DC Scores teamed up to host a youth soccer clinic on the South Lawn following the ceremony inside the East Room.
While at the nation's capital, Sporting Kansas City players also participated in the #EatSmart campaign geared towards expressing why its important to practice healthy habits. Head Fitness Coach Mateus Manoel has been with the team for five seasons, providing valuable guidance pertaining to health and fitness both on and off the field. When a collection of players were asked why they #EatSmart, here's what they had to say:
Sporting Kansas City concludes their trip to the nation’s capital tonight when they take on D.C. United at 7 p.m. CT at RFK Stadium. The match-up between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference will be nationally broadcast on NBCSN and the team will host watch parties at the Johnny’s Tavern locations in the KC Power & Light District and in Overland Park.
On Tuesday, Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and pinch runner Jarrod Dyson were at the center of a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game at Kauffman Stadium. Hosmer reached base in five of his six at bats, driving in a run and and scoring twice himself -- including the game-tying run in the 12th inning. The game -- the first Royals playoff action since winning the World Series in 1985 -- would not have reached that point if not for Dyson's game-tying run in the 9th inning.
Exactly 100 days earlier, the Royals duo were joined by thousands of soccer supporters cheering on Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and the U.S. Men's National Team at the Kansas City Power & Light District during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. As it turned out, the 2-2 draw against Portugal on June 22 in the Brazilian Amazon featured no shortage of drama itself.
"It's fun because you get to be in the crowd with the same people that cheer you on," Hosmer said. "You feel the energy in the dugout and always looking out at the stands, but to actually be in the stands now and to get to feel the energy with the people out here has been a great experience."
Several Sporting Kansas City players returned the show of support on Tuesday as they were on hand to see the Royals advance to the best-of-five American League Division Series, which begins tonight in Anaheim (8:07 p.m. CT on TBS).
As the calendar turns to October, the race for the final playoff spots enters its final stages. With five losses in its last six MLS matches, Sporting Kansas City is currently tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with the New England Revolution, six points behind D.C. United. Thankfully for Sporting KC, they'll have a chance to cut the gap on United when the two teams square off Friday night at RFK Stadium.
Friday's match will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen nationally on NBCSN with local radio coverage on La Gran D 1340.
Outside of Sporting KC's match on NBCSN, here are a few nationally-televised games that we'll be keeping an eye on this week.
1. Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union | Thursday, Oct. 2, 7pm CT | ESPN2
The slate of MLS games kicks off Thursday night when the Philadelphia Union host the Chicago Fire tonight on ESPN2. Philadelphia is in a proverbial "must-win" situation, as the club sits three points back of New York for the final playoff spot in the East. Chicago is currently in ninth place with 31 points and with five games left in the regular season needs a win to ensure their playoff hopes remain alive for 2014.
2. New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo | Saturday, Oct. 4, 5pm CT | NBCSN
The Red Bulls and Dynamo met in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals with Houston taking the series 4-3 on aggregate. Saturday night, the Red Bulls have the opportunity to repay the favor and all but seal the Dynamo's 2013 fate when they square off at Red Bull Arena. A Houston win would move them to within two points of the final playoff spot with a game in hand on New York. A Red Bulls win could push them four points clear of the red line pending other results.
3. Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Dallas | Saturday, Oct. 4, 6pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
FC Dallas' Oscar Pareja is in the thick of the Coach of the Year race after leading his team to 48 points through 30 games and fourth place in the Western Conference standings. A win on Saturday, and FC Dallas will clinch their first playoff berth since 2011.
The Whitecaps are holding on to a playoff spot by the skin of their teeth with a one-point lead over the Portland Timbers. Their playoff fate likely won't be sealed until the final week of the season, but a win on Saturday will go a long way to Carl Robinson's club securing a postseason berth in his first year in charge.
4. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers | Saturday, Oct. 4, 10pm CT | NBCSN
The Timbers have been one of MLS' biggest enigmas in 2014. After a stellar 2013 campaign that saw them finish in first place in the Western Conference, Caleb Porter's team has been inconsistent in 2014 and currently sits below the red line.
The road for Portland doesn't get any easier, as they'll travel to San Jose this weekend without captain Will Johnson, who suffered a broken leg last week and MLS MVP candidate Diego Valeri, who is suspended due to card accumulation.
5. Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders | Sunday, Oct. 5, 2pm CT | UniMas
This weekend's fifth and final nationally televised matchup comes Sunday afternoon when the Seattle Sounders travel to Commerce City to take on the Colorado Rapids. The Sounders are one of two teams who have already clinched a playoff berth and have their sights firmly set on the Supporters' Shield.
The Rapids are winless in 10 matches, with their last victory coming July 25 at home to Chivas USA. Seattle has defeated Colorado twice in 2014 and has outscored the Rapids 5-1 in those two matches.