Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler joined Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John on Sports Radio 810 WHB's The Border Patrol this morning.
The guys chatted about Besler's offseason plans and the long year he had in 2014, highlighted by a trip back to his alma mater for the first time in three years and partying with the president.
Listen to the full podcast below:
The 2014 MLS Cup Final is this weekend featuring the LA Galaxy and the New England Revolution. Although Sporting Kansas City's not playing in their second consecutive Cup final, that doesn't mean that Kansas City soccer doesn't have representation in the game.
In fact, six players, coaches or executives from Sunday's finalists are a part of Kansas City soccer history. Let's start at the top.
Both LA Galaxy president Chris Klein (pictured, right) and New England Revolution general manager Mike Burns played for Kansas City. Klein featured more than 200 times for the then-Wizards and was a part of the team that won the MLS Cup / Supporters' Shield double in 2000. Burns joined the squad a year later and played 43 League matches for the club over the course of two years.
Moving down the ladder, let's look at the Galaxy's coaching staff. Three members of the staff have Kansas City soccer ties. Prior to the Galaxy's hire of Bruce Arena as head coach in 2008, the former U.S. Men's National Team moonlighted as color commentator for Kansas City Wizards' television broadcasts. Arena worked a handful of games alongside play-by-play announcer Sean Wheelock.
Although not technically on Arena's first team staff, LA Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo managed Kansas City from 2007-2009. And last, but not least, we get to Dave Sarachan, Arena's long-time assistant coach. The two worked together at the University of Virginia, at D.C. United, on the USMNT staff and now with the Galaxy. But before Sarachan began his illustrious coaching career, the New York native spent a year playing indoor soccer for the Kansas City Comets in the original Major Indoor Soccer League.
Kansas City's final connection to Sunday's MLS Cup Final is New England Revolution striker Teal Bunbury (pictured, left). Peter Vermes drafted Bunbury in the first round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft after a standout career at the University of Akron. In four seasons with Kansas City, Bunbury played 89 regular season matches with 19 goals scored and six assists. Bunbury played in two playoff matches last year for Sporting KC including 77 minutes against the Revolution in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Sunday's MLS Cup Final kicks off at 2 p.m. CT from StubHub Center. The match can be seen nationally on on ESPN and UniMas.
Is there a Kansas City soccer connection that we missed? Post it in the comment section below!
In the build up to MLS Cup on Sunday (2 p.m. CT on ESPN), end-of-the-year awards are being handed out by American soccer scribes and several of Sporting Kansas City's top performers earned high honors for their play in 2014.
Goal USA editor Thomas Floyd ranked the Top 10 players at all 11 positions from Major League Soccer's regular season for Backheel.com, with five Sporting Kansas City starters securing top-four recognition at their respective spots on the field:
- Seth Sinovic: No. 1 left back
- Benny Feilhaber: No. 1 attacking midfielder
- Matt Besler: No. 2 left centerback
- Graham Zusi: No. 3 right winger
- Dom Dwyer: No. 4 striker
Dwyer, who set a single-season team record and finished second on the MLS scoring chart with 22 goals, was also named Major League Soccer's Most Improved Player on SBIsoccer.com.
Dom Dwyer’s first full season as a starter for Sporting Kansas City saw him break out and become one of the league’s top goal scorers. The English forward bagged 22 goals and one assist, the second most in MLS, making him the runaway choice for SBI MLS Most Improved Player of the Year. Dwyer also finished the 2014 regular season with the fourth-most shots, third most shots on goal, and third most game winning goals. In addition, Dwyer’s 10 goals on the road was tied for the most in the league with Obafemi Martins, showing that Dwyer’s dogged and determined style was the same no matter which stadium he played in.
Looking for a place to watch MLS Cup on Sunday? Look no further than BurgerFi in downtown Lawrence (918 Mass Street).
Sporting KC's Chance Myers and Erik Palmer-Brown will be on hand with the MLS Cup from 2-3:30 p.m. CT. Fans are invited to come to BurgerFi to take pictures with both Myers, Palmer-Brown and the MLS Cup as well as get autographs from the Sporting KC players.
Both Myers and Palmer-Brown are in the midst of offseason rehab after suffering season-ending injuries in 2014. Palmer-Brown made his professional debut on May 18 in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire and appeared in six matches in all competitions this past year. Myers, who turns 27 on Sunday, is the club's longest tenured player. Kansas City drafted the former UCLA Bruin with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. Myers started 26 games in 2013 including all five MLS Cup Playoff matches en route to the club's second MLS Cup championship.
The 2014 MLS Cup pits host LA Galaxy against the New England Revolution. Sunday's match features some of the top stars in Major League Soccer including all-time MLS an USMNT goalscoring leader Landon Donovan, 2014 MLS MVP Robbie Keane, U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones and MLS MVP finalist Lee Nguyen. The match will kick off at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN and UniMas.
Helping children thrive through life’s challenges is the mission of The Victory Project. This year -- with the help of our players, coaches, staff and fans -- The Victory Project was able to impact the lives of many children in the Kansas City area through various programs and special events.
During the month of December, The Victory Project will countdown some of their favorite moments from the year. Follow @VictoryKC on Twitter and @VictoryProjectKC on Instagram to relive the memorable events and experiences. And if you have a favorite moment, please share on social media or in the comments section below.
To learn more about The Victory Project, visit VictoryKC.org.
Illustration by Roxie Vizcarra (as seen in ESPN The Magazine)
Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer is featured in ESPN The Magazine's "Big Money" Issue, which hit newsstands on Friday, as one of six athletes whose spending habits were tracked and analyzed by senior writer Sam Alipour.
To find out how athletes really spend their money, we asked six -- from an NBA star who makes $12 million a year to a college swimmer using grant money -- to record several days’ worth of purchases...diaries from Andrew Bogut (NBA), Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar), Justin Forsett (NFL), Dom Dwyer (MLS), Tyler Latorre (MiLB) and Kendyl Stewart (USC swimming).
Major League Soccer's second-highest scorer tallied 22 goals and took Sporting KC to the playoffs. Says the British bachelor, who makes $92,500 a year: "I'm a guy who focuses on the game and has fun after too." He has the club's co-MVP title -- and the bar tabs -- to prove it.
Dwyer's transactions were logged over the final five days of October, which included a World Series game in Kansas City and a playoff road trip to New Jersey. To see the full feature, the Dec. 8 issue of ESPN The Magazine is available for $5.99 at area retailers. Readers can also purchase access to a digital edition for $3.99 on Google Play or by using the ESPN The Magazine App for iPad and iPhone.
Sporting Kansas City Defender of the Year Seth Sinovic joined Kansas City Mayor Sly James at the annual Mayor's Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Friday at Crown Center. Sinovic -- a Leawood, Kansas native -- was this year's featured celebrity and the event served to support the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund (donate here), which helps as many as 7,000 local families each year.
Sinovic's speech: Watch Now
The tree is known as one of the nation's largest at 100 feet high and seven tons in weight. The decorations include more than 1,200 ornaments and 7,200 lights, while its wood is turned into commemorative ornaments following each holiday season.
What do soccer and racing have in common?
Speed, reaction time and Continental Tire.
Continental Tire gave six MLS standouts an opportunity to win a 2014 Lamborghini. A task easier said than done, so we called in a specialist: TUDOR United SportsCar Championship driver Townsend Bell, who was able to provide insight for the soccer standouts to help ease the transition from the pitch to the pedal. The six participants were split between the Eastern and Western Conference to emulate the MLS regular season. The athlete with the fastest time on each side of the bracket would advance to the championship.
Sporting KC winger Graham Zusi was joined by Sean Johnson and Giles Barnes to represent the East. Chandler Hoffman, Stephen Keel and Dan Kennedy were seleceted to represent the West. We all know and love Zusi for his quickness with a soccer ball at his feet, but let's see how he does with a steering wheel in hand...
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Top of the list. That's where Sporting Park lands in Stadium Journey magazine's evaluation of the best stadium experiences in Major League Soccer.
Released earlier today, the rankings are based on the following factors: food/beverage, atmosphere, location, fans, access and overall return on investment. Stadium Journey correspondent Cory Sims reviewed the state-of-the-art stadium earlier this year, writing that it is "one of the best venues to watch a sporting event of any kind."
Sporting Kansas City's home field earned the No. 1 spot over a trio of Cascadia challengers. Providence Park (Portland Timbers), CenturyLink Field (Seattle Sounders) and BC Place (Vancouver Whitecaps) rounded out the top four.
We've all seen Graham Zusi's skills on the soccer field. The MLS All-Star has a lethal right foot and a speed burst that would give Barry Allen whiplash. Don't believe us? Check out Major League Soccer's Superheroes series from this past Summer.
Now, the World Cup veteran will move from the soccer field to the race track to test his skills behind a Lamborghini.
Zusi is in a competition with five other MLS players in the series What'Cha Got, presented by Continental Tires. Three players from the Eastern Conference and three from the Western Conference are competing to see who can drive a Lamborghini the fastest around a race track. The driver with the quickest time gets the car.
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson currently leads the East with a time of 40.44. If Zusi beats Johnson, he'll advance to the finals against the LA Galaxy's Chandler Hoffman (41.81).
Zusi's episode will debut on ESPNFC Sunday night at 11 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Looking for another reason to tune in to Sunday's episode? The folks at What'Cha Got have a signed Zusi jersey they'll be giving away to one lucky winner! To enter into the contest, tweet out Zusi's final race time using #WhatChaGotMLS. One correct contestant will be chosen to win the prize.
So what do you think? Will Zusi beat Johnson to advance to the finals? Let us know in the comments section below!