Good news tweeps! In case you missed Monday's update, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler are leading their respective positions in the 2013 MLS All-Star balloting. Jimmy Nielsen and Aurelien Collin are second and third, respectively, and Uri Rosell and Claudio Bieler are within striking distance.
So it's clear that you guys have the text-vote portion of this process down. Now it's time to see how you guys can do via Twitter.
Starting on Thursday at 11 a.m. CT, fans will be able be able to submit their MLS All-Star vote on Twitter. The rules are simple:
- Each tweet MUST have the hashtag #MLSAllStar AND the player's full name, with or without a space (Example: I want to see Claudio Bieler on the #MLSAllStar team or My #MLSAllStar vote goes to ClaudioBieler)
- A user may use a player's Twitter handle in the tweet (Example: I want to see @UriRosell on the #MLSAllStar team)
- A user may vote for multiple players in a tweet (Example: My #MLSAllStar vote goes to @UriRosell @mbesler @gzusi @PumaNielsen1 @TacaBielerSKC @ampC2)
- A user MAY NOT vote for a player multiple times in the same tweet (Example: My favorite player is @gzusi so I'm voting @gzusi for #MLSAllStar!)
- A user may only vote for players on the All-Star ballot (So fans may only vote for @UriRosell @mbesler @gzusi @PumaNielsen1 @TacaBielerSKC or @ampC2)
- You can vote as many times as you want. So I when I search for #MLSAllStar on Thursday and Friday, I fully expect to see Sporting KC players taking over the page.
- Twitter voting will close at 10:59 p.m. CT on Friday.
We already saw the power of SKC Nation in 2011 when Matt Besler earned his first All-Star nod with the most fan votes via text. So let's keep the momentum going and ensure Sporting KC is well-represented when the MLS All-Stars take the Sporting Park pitch against AS Roma on July 31!
The Sporting KC Under-12 Academy team will travel to Des Moines, Iowa this weekend for the 2013 US Youth Soccer Region II Championships from June 22-26. The U12's will compete in the U13 age division as one of 14 teams that qualified for the Midwest regional. The U12's were crowned U13 Kansas State Cup winners with a 2-1 victory in the final earlier this month.
Drawn into Group A for the Region II Championships, the U12's will take on the following opponents:
- Fort Wayne Fever at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 22
- OP Eagles G1 at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 23
- Ace Milwaukee U13 at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 24
The Group A winner will advance to the semifinals on Tuesday, June 25 with the championship to be held on Wednesday, June 26.
The US Youth Soccer Region II Championships consist of US Youth Soccer State Champions from the 14 Midwestern US Youth Soccer State Associations that make up US Youth Soccer Region II (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio South, Ohio North, South Dakota and Wisconsin), drawn wildcard entries as well as US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League Premier Division wildcard teams.
Regional winners of the Under-13 through Under-19 brackets earn a berth to the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kan. from July 23-28.
Even a few rain showers couldn't keep Sprint employees from bringing their kids out to Sporting Park for a soccer mini-clinic on Tuesday night.
Along with the Sporting Club Network, six Sporting KC players came out to help local youth improve their soccer skills. Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Oriol Rosell, C.J. Sapong, Seth Sinovic and Michael Thomas led various stations running drills with the participants. But the players weren't the only ones doing the teaching. The kids taught our own Oriol Rosell how to play freeze tag, soccer style.
To finish up the evening, Sporting KC players signed autographs for the participants. If you would like to get more information about soccer clinics being hosted by Sporting Club Network, please visit the SCN website, Twitter and Facebook.
Haus Kansas City welcomed Sports Radio 810 WHB and the Sporting KC show with hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards on Tuesday. Sporting KC forward Teal Bunbury and FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper also joined in on the conversation.
Bunbury recently notched his first appearance since suffering a season ending knee injury in August of 2012. The injury came in the 4th minute of the club's Eastern Conference battle with the New York Red Bulls. Bunbury did manage to add his sixth career assist on the play to help Sporting KC earn a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls. Bunbury hopes to make his first MLS appearance of 2013 on Saturday against League leaders FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium.
Watch him talk about his first match back:
Hear more from Bunbury as he joined SportingKC.com's Jonathan Kaplan in a Google+ Hangout yesterday afternoon.
Cooper, after spending the previous two seasons with the Portland Timbers and the New York Red Bulls respectively, has re-joined FC Dallas and speaks about his return to the squad. Listen to the full podcast here.
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi both started on Tuesday in the United States Men's National Team's 1-0 victory over Honduras in FIFA World Cup Qualifying. Earlier, we compiled player ratings from national media members and now Out of the Blue takes a closer look at the statistical data from their performances:
- 14: Career international caps for Zusi, eight of which have come in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
- 7: Career international caps for Besler, including appearances in each of the United States' last six games
- 4-0-2: The United States record with Besler in the starting lineup
- 8: Successful crosses by the USMNT on Tuesday, five of which came from Zusi
- 7: Key passes by the USMNT on Tuesday, four of which came from Zusi
- 58: Successful passes by Besler on Tuesday, second most on the team behind Michael Bradley
- 2: Former Sporting KC players who started on Tuesday with Roger Espinoza (HON) and Eddie Johnson (USA)
Next up for the U.S. Men's National Team is the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup in three weeks' time. Besler, Zusi and Benny Feilhaber were named to the United States' preliminary roster, from which Jurgen Klinsmann will pick his 23-player squad by June 27.
Zusi and Besler will return to Kansas City today ahead of Sporting KC's match at FC Dallas on Saturday.
Matt Besler and Graham Zusi both started their fourth match of the hexagonal on Tuesday night as the United States defeated Honduras 1-0. It was another solid performance from both players who continue to be integral parts of the squad in this round of World Cup qualifying. Besler partnered with Omar Gonzalez to keep a second consecutive clean sheet while Graham Zusi created numerous chances throughout the match and helped set up the game-winning goal.
Check out some of the reviews of both players from Tuesday's match below.
Besler: The Sporting KC defender performed solidly. A pair of late tackles in front of the US area helped seal the win.
Zusi: In the first half, things might have been brighter if his open play crosses matched the danger of his restarts. After the break, Zusi got the attack going and his wise dummy aided the winning play.
Besler: Performed steadily for long stretches. One of his few mistakes on the night came when he was robbed by Najar to give Honduras its best chance of the first half. But like so many of his teammates, he stepped up in the second half, delivering some vital clearances.
Zusi: Had little success in the first half, but really came into the game in second, hitting the post with one crossing attempt, and teeing up Dempsey for another. His dummy helped spring Fabian Johnson down the flank on Altidore's goal.
Pro Soccer Talk
Besler: Sure-footed, confident clearances marked a very good night for the emerging U.S. international, who was better than his central partner in this one. (And some of those clearances were quite important ones, not the easiest to handle, either.) Easily the better passer of the two central stoppers.
Zusi: He was one of the main guys who “turned up the tempo,” as manager Jurgen Klinsmann said, after intermission. Rather tame in the first 45 (other than those sharp set piece hits, which are almost always well targeted), Zusi found more places to be effective.
New York Times
Matt Besler and Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City, showed again that players in MLS. can play important roles for the U.S. team. Besler is now the anchor of the back line and Zusi is a consistent presence in the revived American attack.
Besler: In the second half, Besler was remarkable and made a series of defensive plays that kept Honduras off the scoreboard. He is by far the best American central defender right now.
Zusi: Zusi was the best U.S. player against Honduras. He was involved in most of the dangerous chances, including laying the ball off to Fabian Johnson on the winning play leading to Altidore’s goal. It is not only Zusi’s crossing where he is effective; he reads the game well and is one of the better defending American midfielders.
Soccer By Ives
Besler: Another strong outing for the Sporting KC defender. Had one bad turnover in the first half, which led to Tim Howard’s lone save of the night, but for the most part he handled the ball very well and made defensive plays when called upon.
Zusi: A largely ineffective first half was quickly forgotten after turning in one of the best second-half performances on the U.S. team. His mobility, passing and vision helped drive the U.S. attack in the decisive stretch in the second half, and his dummy on the game-winning goal sequence deserves some credit.
Sporting Kansas City has advanced in The Kansas City Business Journal's #SocialMadness challenge as one of the contest's top eight performing companies in the large category. The team's social media following is now matched up against Legends Outlets Kansas City for the second round, which starts today and will run through Monday, June 24th.
To show your support, click here and then click on the large tab to record your vote (users must have a bizjournals.com login or register for free). In addition to online votes (maximum of one vote per day per category), winners will be determined by social engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ during the round. That means, your likes, your comments and your shares of Sporting KC posts on those platforms can help us advance to the final four!
Ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, ESPN's Alexi Lalas joined Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John on The Border Patrol this morning on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Lalas spoke about the impact Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have had with the U.S. Men's National Team and the popularity of soccer in Kansas City. The former USA international also discussed the USMNT under Jurgen Klinsmann and growth of MLS in recent years.
Tonight's USA vs Honduras will match will be broadcast live on ESPN & UniMas at 8 p.m. CT.
You can listen to the full interview here.
The United States will host Honduras tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium in CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifying.
After a rocky start to this round, the USA have recovered with three wins in their last four including a 0-0 draw at the Azteca. Honduras led the hexagonal standings early but are now in fourth place after losing two of their last three matches.
Sporting KC players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi will both be available for the match and each have started three matches in the hexagonal.
Recent Results (in WCQ)
USA - 2-1 L at Honduras, 1-0 W vs Costa Rica, 0-0 D at Mexico, 2-1 W at Jamaica, 2-0 W vs Panama
Honduras - 2-1 W vs USA, 2-2 D vs Mexico, 2-0 L at Panama, 1-0 L at Costa Rica, 2-0 W vs Jamaica
Michael Bradley (USA) - A two-way midfielder who has been the most consistent player for the USA in the hexagonal. He'll be counted on Tuesday night to break up counterattacks from Honduras and link up with the forwards in the attack.
Roger Espinoza (Honduras) - The former Sporting KC midfielder has a workrate second to none. Besler recently said of his former teammate, "I think he's got a terrific engine and he's a valuable member of that team. He's a guy we're going to have to keep an eye on and make sure that we match his intensity."
Big news out of MLS headquarters today as Major League Soccer announced the creation of MLS+, a content-distribution plan to give soccer fans unprecedented access to their favorite players. According to MLS, the plan will include "new television shows, digital series, mini-documentaries, mobile applications, lifestyle features, user-generated content, viral video stunts and more."
Along with the announcement of MLS+, it was announced today that the MLS 36 series featuring Sporting Kansas City defenders Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin will air Sunday at 8:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network. The episode will air following Sunday's nationally televised match between the Portland Timbers and the Colorado Rapids.
This weekend's episode will take you behind-the-scenes for 36 hours before, during and after Sporting KC's April 27 match against the Portland Timbers.
In case you miss the episode on Sunday, it will re-air on Wednesday, June 26 at 1:30 a.m. CT and again at 9:30 p.m. CT. Additional times will be announced at a later date.