The results are in and MLSsoccer.com readers resoundingly voted for tomorrow's #TORvSKC match-up as the MLS Stream of the Week (6 p.m. CT live on KMCI 38 the Spot and SKCTV). Sporting KC takes a four-game road winning streak into BMO Field to face Toronto FC, who boasts the second-highest attendance average in Major League Soccer this season.
In the previous meeting between the two Eastern Conference contenders, Dom Dwyer (14g, 0a) scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Sporting Park in May. His English counterpart Jermain Defoe (11g, 2a) will miss Saturday's rematch due to caution accumulation and, in his place, Toronto FC could turn to former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario. A six-time member of the MLS Best XI, De Rosario ranks sixth on Major League Soccer's all-time goal scoring chart with 103 goals.
Check out the video below from MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle for their thoughts on the major storylines to watch...
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to include seven-a-side rugby, also known as Sevens Rugby, as an Olympic sport. With the sport debuting in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and rugby becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club and Sporting Club Network partnered to start the Sporting Club Rugby Sevens Academy to work as a feeder system for the U.S. National Olympic Rugby Sevens team. As part of USA Rugby, these teams from KC Blues and Sporting Club Rugby Sevens Academy have been able to compete in tournaments around the Midwest against other professional Sevens Rugby teams.
The Kansas City Blues Rugby Club is part of the new Frontier Sevens Region of USA Rugby. The Frontier Region has three major tournaments for their qualifiers for the Sevens Club Nationals. The first of the three qualifiers this year was the Denver Sevens in Colorado on June 21st. The tournament was made up of six divisions, including 69 teams from around the Midwest, of which Kansas City Blues and Sporting Club had four teams in three divisions. The KC Blues Premier squad was in the Men’s Qualifier Division and placed third behind Denver and Glendale, while the KC Blues Reserve team played in the Men’s Social Division (finishing 7th) and Sporting Club Rugby Sevens Academy had two teams in the Collegiate Men’s Division. Sporting Club’s White team won the division by beating Colorado State University in comeback fashion with a final score of 26-12, while the Sporting Club Blue team suffered a narrow defeat in the to Air Force in the third place game.
In the most recent Sevens Rugby tournament on Saturday, July 12th, the KC Blues hosted the Heartland 7’s Qualifier. The event included 26 teams throughout three divisions, which were all won by KC Blues or Sporting Club teams. The Blues Premier squad beat Glendale Raptors 31-12 to take the Qualifiers Championship and move atop the qualifier standings with eight points. Meanwhile in the Men’s Open Division, the KC Blues Reserve side managed to pull out a close win over Sporting Club 7’s Rugby Collegiate Academy, a team made up of players from universities around the Greater Kansas City Area. In the High School Division, Sporting Club Sevens Rugby High School Academy outscored Cougars RFC 41-15 in the championship game to win the tournament.
The success from each of these teams has KC Blues and Sporting Club excited for a bright future in Sevens Rugby going into the last two years of Olympic qualifiers. For more information on the Kansas City Blues upcoming tournaments, click here. Also, don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all things Sporting Club Network.
After leading his club to a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy, Besler took to the airwaves on Monday to discuss his decision to re-sign with Sporting KC.
First, he went in-studio with Sports Radio 810's Nate Bukaty. Bukaty and Besler discussed Saturday's events, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and what lies ahead for Sporting KC
In the afternoon, Besler joined 610 Sports Radio's Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison on The Drive. Besler discussed the rationale behind re-signing with Sporting KC, the growth of Sporting KC and the future of the U.S. Men's National Team.
Besler then capped off a busy few days by writing a letter to Kansas City fans that will run in the Kansas City Star. Click here to read the letter.
It's been a busy few weeks for Sporting KC's Graham Zusi. After starring for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Zusi returned to Kansas City and picked up where he left off, helping Sporting KC to first place in the Eastern Conference while earning MLS All-Star honors and a new contract along the way.
Now, Zusi will be taking to the Twitterverse to answering your burning questions. The 27-year-old will host a Twitter Takeover on Tuesday at 12 p.m. CT on the Sporting KC Twitter account. Zusi will be talking about his experience with the USMNT in Brazil, signing a new contract with Sporting KC as well as the latest in adidas footwear, the Predator Instinct.
To submit a question for Graham, use #AskZusi.
Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday at Sporting Park. Voting is open through Sunday evening.
It's been less than three weeks since Sporting KC defender Matt Besler and Graham Zusi returned to the United States, following the USMNT's successful run at the World Cup that saw them advance out of the "Group of Death" into the Round of 16.
Upon returning to the States, Besler flew directly to New York to do a series of TV/radio interviews that included SportsCenter, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning. Zusi returned to Kansas City and came off the bench in Sporting KC's 1-1 draw vs. the Chicago Fire before starting a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact the following weekend. Besler joined Zusi for the match against Montreal and capped off a six-point road trip with a start in Sporting KC's 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew last Wednesday.
MLS Insider, a collaboration between Major League Soccer and the emmy-award winning Hock Films, chronicled Besler and Zusi's return to the States - and to Sporting KC - along with their USMNT teammates across MLS.
The final installment of our Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight features the pride of Kansas City, Matt Besler. Besler's standout performances on and off the field make him the perfect candidate for a Kevin Gray Award. Drafted by Kansas City in 2009, Besler hit the ground running and saw a steady rise in form until 2011, when his career took off after being named 2011 Kevin Gray Awards Adult Player of the Year, presented by Pepsi.
"It's a great honor and one that I felt a lot of pride in accepting," Besler said of receiving the award. "Kansas City has always been a place that has many talented athletes. I'm grateful to be amongst such great company with the previous Kevin Gray Award winners."
Since winning his first Kevin Gray Award in 2011 and second in 2013, Besler has thrived in both domestic and international competition. Here are some highlights from his ever-growing list of accomplishments:
- Debuted for the US Men’s National Team on Jan. 29, 2013
- Started 20 games out of 21 games played for USMNT
- Totaled 1,683 minutes in 2013 and 2014
- Started all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, totaling 345 minutes, and is the first player from the state of Kansas to play in a World Cup
- Captain of Sporting Kansas City
- 2014 Kansas City Sportsman of the Year
- MLS All-Star Selection
- Sporting Kansas City Defensive Player of the Year
- Selection to the MLS Best XI
- Helped the defensive unit earn 13 shutouts
- MLS Defender of the Year
- MLS Breakout Player of the Year
- Selection to the MLS Best XI
- Sporting Kansas City Defensive Player of the Year
- Registered two game-winning assists
- Converted PK to help Sporting Kansas City win the U. S. Open Cup
- MLS All-Star Selection
Besler's impressive accolades leave no room for doubt of his superiority on the field. However, something that not everyone knows about the Overland Park, Kansas native is the strength of his passion for giving back to the community. Besler spends countless hours of his time making guest appearances at Sporting Club Network events throughout the year, as well as events for programs like the Victory Project.
"Two of my favorite opportunities to give back to the community are participating in youth clinics around the Kansas City area and also visiting with kids in local hospitals during their treatments and recoveries," Besler said. "The Kansas City community has embraced our team and it's always rewarding for us to be able to return the support."
Besler offers the perfect triple threat: a hometown hero, a champion on the field and in the community, and an inspiration to young soccer players in the Kansas City area. We hope that the excitement Besler has brought to the Soccer Capital of America will rise just as exponentially as his soccer career has since being named Kevin Gray Awards Adult Player of the Year.
Entering Wednesday night's match, 26 players had started an MLS match for Sporting KC in 2014. That number is now 27, after Mikey Lopez made his MLS debut in the 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew.
Sporting KC drafted Lopez with the No. 14 overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Lopez featured for the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup before making his Sporting KC debut against the Des Moince Menace in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third round match on May 26.
The Texas native started and played 64 minutes in last night's debut, tallying two shots in the match.
Lopez has spent the majority of 2014 on loan to Sporting KC's USL Pro affiliates, appearing in 14 games with Orlando City SC and OKC Energy FC. The 21-year-old midfielder scored his first professional goal for Energy FC in a 2-0 win over Sacramento Republic on June 28.
Sporting Kansas City returns to Sporting Park to host the LA Galaxy following a very successful two-match road trip. Both teams are in great forms with two consecutive victories and at or near the top of their respective conference standings. What will be the key players, factors, and match-ups for the game?
Check out the video below as MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle break it down.
The Sporting KC Show will air live from 7-8 p.m. CT tonight at Jazz at The Legends (1859 Village West Parkway, Suite 102) with special guest Graham Zusi joining hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Zusi was named to his third MLS All-Star team last night, fishing as one of the top midfielders in the vote for the MLS All-Star Fan XI. The 27-year-old winger appeared in four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, tallying assits in a 2-1 win over Ghana and a 2-2 draw vs. Portugal.
Zusi will discuss the USMNT's recent performance at the World Cup, Sporting KC's busy schedule ahead as well as the club's upcoming match against the LA Galaxy. Sporting KC will host the Galaxy in a nationally-televised match Saturday afternoon at Sporting Park. The match will kick off at 5 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and the WatchESPN app. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.
Can't make it to Jazz for tonight's show? Listen live on 810 AM, 810whb.com or via the station's free mobile app and join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.