Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown started and played 71 minutes on Tuesday against the Club America U-20's in the 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The 18-year-old central defender returned to the summer showcase for the second straight year -- after playing 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers U-23's in the inaugural 2014 event -- and becomes one of only three players to start in the first two editions of the competition, along with Vancouver's Russell Teibert and the LA Galaxy's Bradford Jamieson IV.
Led by head coach Landon Donovan, the MLS Homegrown Team took a 1-0 lead through Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes) in the 34th minute on Tuesday before the Club America U20's drew level from the penalty spot in the 68th minute. With the score tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the exhibition advanced directly to a penalty kick shootout in which the Mexican youth side prevailed 5-4 in six rounds.
Palmer-Brown has appeared in nine matches for Sporting Kansas City across all competition -- including the team's 2015 season opener and most recent MLS match – since signing as a Homegrown Player in August 2013. He made his MLS debut in 2014 at age 17 and remains the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer match in club history.
The Lee’s Summit, Missouri native attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida for the Spring 2013 semester and was named one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer’s 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year. Last month, Palmer-Brown represented the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Palmer-Brown is one of three Sporting KC Academy products on Sporting Kansas City’s roster along with goalkeeper Jon Kempin and defender Kevin Ellis. The Sporting KC Academy formed in 2007, one year before Major League Soccer's Homegrown Player initiative began in 2008, and features five fully-funded teams from the under-12 through under-18 age levels.
Last weekend, the
Sporting KC Academy U-15's were crowned US Youth Soccer national champions
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition,
three Sporting KC Academy U-16 players
are currently in California for the 2015 Generation adidas ESP All-Star Event.