Sporting KC Weekly Update: Aug. 27, 2014

SPORTING KC AND HOUSTON DYNAMO RESUME RIVALRY ON FRIDAY
Sporting Kansas City hosts the Houston Dynamo in a nationally televised rivalry match at Sporting Park on Friday night. The Eastern Conference clash will kick off at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network with radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish). A limited number of tickets for the game, presented by IKEA, can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com while supplies last.

A rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship, Friday’s contest features two familiar foes. Sporting KC (12-7-6, 42 points) is second place in the conference, one point behind D.C. United and three points behind Seattle Sounders FC in the Supporters’ Shield race. Houston (7-13-4, 25 points) is ninth in the East and six points out of playoff position. Since joining MLS in 2006, the Dynamo have qualified for the postseason in eight of their nine seasons.

The clubs have met in each of the last three postseasons, with Houston eliminating Sporting KC in 2011 and 2012 before Peter Vermes’ men prevailed in the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship. Winners of two MLS Cups each, Sporting KC and Houston have met 15 times over the last four seasons in all competitions, including five playoff tilts and one U.S. Open Cup qualification match in 2011. Sporting KC holds a 6-3-6 edge during this period and are unbeaten against the Dynamo in seven straight matches dating back to July 2012.

2014 CONCACAF WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS AVAILABLE FRIDAY
On Friday, series tickets to see all four games during the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship at Sporting Park will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT via Ticketmaster.com. The tournament features eight countries, headlined by the No. 1 ranked U.S. Women's National Team, and will send three nations to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Sporting Park will host doubleheader events on consecutive days. Four sides from Group A, including the United States, open the competition Oct. 15, while four Group B nations play their first match Oct. 16. The draw to determine the exact match-ups will be held Sept. 5.

KEVIN ELLIS RETURNS TO SPORTING KC FROM USL PRO LOAN
Kevin Ellis has rejoined Sporting KC after a one-game loan to USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC. Ellis played 90 minutes on Sunday as Energy FC dropped a 2-0 decision to the Charleston Battery in their final home game of the regular season.

Ellis, 23, had previously played in four USL PRO matches for OKC Energy FC earlier this season. The Kansas City, Missouri native has made 19 appearances for Sporting KC across all competitions in 2014, recording a goal and an assist.

D.C. UNITED TOPS SPORTING KC TO TAKE FIRST PLACE IN EAST
Sporting KC lost 3-0 to D.C. United last Saturday at Sporting Park, snapping a six-game home unbeaten streak. Fabian Espindola, Chris Rolfe and Perry Kitchen all scored during a seven-minute span in the first half as D.C. replaced Sporting KC atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Entering the game with the League's best goals against average, Sporting KC has now gone nine MLS matches without a shutout. The stretch is the club's longest span without a clean sheet since 2007. Additionally, Saturday's loss was the team's largest margin of defeat at Sporting Park and first three-goal loss at home since June 2010.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE MATCHES
Single-game tickets for Sporting KC’s two group stage matches at Sporting Park in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League are available to purchase through Ticketmaster.com. The MLS Cup champions will host Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa on Thursday, Sept. 18 before a meeting with Nicaraguan club Real Esteli five days later on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Both matches will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and are included in Sporting KC Season Ticket Member packages.

SPORTING CLUB ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF NEW CLOTHING LINE
Sporting Club has released its new fashion line for the MLS champions, providing supporters an extensive selection of new clothing and merchandise. The Sporting Club brand is available for purchase on Sporting Style's website and will be available for purchase at all Sporting KC home games, while supplies last.

JOSTENS UNVEILS SPORTING KC FAN COLLECTION
Jostens, the leading national custom jewelry designer and producer, has unveiled a fan collection to celebrate the team's 2013 MLS Cup championship. Items available in the collection are: fan ring (men's and women's), championship fan paperweight, fan pendant, key ring and a championship poster. All can be purchased online at jostens.com/sportingkc.

Founded in 1897, Jostens has produced championship rings for professional sports teams and athletes for more than 60 years. In addition to creating Sporting KC’s 2000 and 2013 MLS Cup championship rings, Jostens has worked with other Kansas City-area professional sports organizations including the Kansas City Chiefs for their NFL Super Bowl IV Championship rings.

SPORTING KC PLAYERS TO APPEAR AT AREA SUBWAY RESTAURANTS
Subway and Sporting KC are teaming up in August and September with player appearances at various Subway locations in Kansas City and surrounding areas. The player appearances resume today as forward Soony Saad visits the Subway in Mission, Kansas (6021 Metcalf). All player appearances will be from 5-6:30 p.m. CT and one Sporting KC player will be in attendance to meet fans and sign autographs. The first 100 fans at each location will receive a free t-shirt.

Click here for a full schedule of all upcoming player appearances at local Subway locations.

SPORTING KC AND UMKC OFFER FAN SWEEPSTAKES
Sporting KC and the University of Missouri-Kansas City continue Rally with the Roos month in August with a fan sweepstakes, sponsored by UMKC. Ten winners will receive two Sporting KC tickets with all-inclusive food and beverage, one parking pass, two Rally with the Roos T-shirts and one team-signed soccer ball. Fans can enter to win online until Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

UMKC Night at Sporting Park will be on Sept. 26 as Sporting KC hosts the New England Revolution at 7 p.m. Visit UMKC.edu/SportingKC for more information.

THE PITCH NOMINATES SPORTING KC IN BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2014
This week, The Pitch revealed the finalists in their Best of Kansas City 2014 ballot. Sporting KC was nominated for multiple honors, including Best Place to Watch KC Pro Sports and Best Stadium (Sporting Park), Best Local Hero (Matt Besler) and Best Thing That Changed KC in the Past Year (Sporting KC). Voting is open until Sept. 17 and the winners will be revealed in The Pitch's annual Best of KC issue on Oct. 9.

BUZZ BEACH BALL TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Tickets are now on sale for Buzz Beach Ball, presented by 96.5 The Buzz and Sporting KC. The concert is set for Sept. 5 at Sporting Park with tickets starting as low as $30 on Ticketmaster.com. Buzz Beach Ball acts include Arctic Monkeys, Weezer and The 1975. For more information, visit BeachBallKC.com.

ZAC BROWN BAND HITS SPORTING PARK ON SEPT. 11
Three-time GRAMMY winners and multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band will visit Sporting Park on Sept. 11 as part of The Great American Road Trip Tour 2014. Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting KC fans looking to keep up with the club online now have a place to go. The Social Media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the club, its players as well as many staff members. Additionally, fans may take advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage.

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