SPORTING KC BACK ON TRACK WITH 2-0 WIN AT HOUSTON
Despite playing down a man for more than 70 minutes last Friday, Sporting Kansas City beat the Houston Dynamo 2-0 to snap a five-game winless streak and rise to second place in the Eastern Conference. Forward Soony Saad made his first start of the season and buried the game-winner just before halftime, receiving a Benny Feilhaber pass and striking low from outside the box. Dom Dwyer clinched the victory with a second half penalty kick, his League-leading 11th goal in 2014. Goalkeeper Eric Kronberg made four saves and now tops MLS with six shutouts and a 0.93 goals against average.
Already without the injured Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers and Ike Opara as well as U.S. Men's National Team players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, Sporting KC lost midfielder Paulo Nagamura to a head injury in the seventh minute. Less than 15 minutes later, midfielder Antonio Dovale received a red card for an off-the-ball incident. Manager Peter Vermes was forced to make his two final substitutions at halftime, as Feilhaber and Igor Juliao required replacements.
Yet Sporting KC prevailed with all three points, extending their unbeaten streak against Houston to seven games (including postseason) and earning a fourth straight shutout at BBVA Compass Stadium. Friday’s win marked the first time ever that Sporting KC scored a game-winning goal while playing down a man on the road. Just two previous times in its history had the team scored twice in an MLS match while at a numerical disadvantage after a red card.
BESLER AND ZUSI HEAD TO WORLD CUP ON WINNING NOTE
The United States beat Nigeria 2-1 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida in the team's final tune-up before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sporting KC defender Matt Besler played the full match and midfielder Graham Zusi entered in the 60th minute.
Winners of three straight pre-tournament friendly matches, the United States traveled to its training base in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Monday, one week before its first World Cup group stage match in Recife, Brazil. The U.S., ranked 13th in the newest FIFA rankings, faces. No. 37 Ghana on June 16 before matches against fourth-ranked Portugal on June 22 and second-ranked Germany on June 26. The top two teams from Group G will qualify for the knockout rounds beginning June 28.
Besler and Zusi are the eighth and ninth players all-time to compete at the World Cup while playing for Kansas City.
WORLD CUP WATCH PARTIES BEGIN TOMORROW
Summer in the Soccer Capital, presented by The Sprint Framily Plan, will kick off with Kansas City’s official 2014 FIFA World Cup watch parties hosted at KC Live! in the Power & Light District. Starting with the opening match between Brazil and Croatia tomorrow (3 p.m. CT, ESPN) and continuing through the World Cup final on July 13, all 64 matches will be shown live on Kansas City’s largest outdoor video screen in the center of the KC Live! Block, as well as screens in surrounding bars.
Admission to the KC Power & Light District for Summer in the Soccer Capital will be free for all ages. Food and drink specials will be available for supporters, as well as limited edition “For Club and Country” merchandise. Additional programming, including VIP opportunities, will be provided for all U.S. Men’s National Team matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup:
Monday, June 16: United States vs. Ghana at 5 p.m. CT
Sunday, June 22: United States vs. Portugal at 5 p.m. CT
Thursday, June 26: United States vs. Germany at 11 a.m. CT
The Mosaic Lounge (1331 Walnut St.) in the Kansas City Power and Light District will host World Cup watch parties for all three U.S. Men's National Team matches. Guests ages 21 and up will have access to four domestic beers, a private cash bar, indoor/outdoor viewing spaces with televisions and projectors and a viewing area overlooking the KC Live! Block. Tickets are $20 per game or $50 for all three U.S. group stage matches and can be purchased online. Doors open to Mosaic one hour prior to each game and close one hour after.
SPORTING KC SHOW AIRS TONIGHT
The Sporting KC Show will air tonight at 7 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine will recap MLS action and look ahead to the World Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Listeners can join the conversation for tonight's show by calling (913) 3-810-810 or tweeting questions to @CalWilliamsSKC, @AndyEdMLS and @ElJefeAugustine. Live coverage of the show is available online at 810WHB.com or through the free 810 WHB mobile app.
DOM DWYER WINS MLS PLAYER OF THE MONTH FOR MAY
Forward Dom Dwyer was voted Major League Soccer’s Player of the Month for May, the League announced last Thursday. The 23-year-old forward caught fire with six goals during the month and scored in four straight MLS matches, tying the second-longest scoring streak in team history. He becomes the ninth Kansas City player to earn the monthly award.
Dwyer is tied for first in the MLS Golden Boot race with 11 goals. He also leads the League with 55 shots and is tied for first with 22 shots on target, three game-winning goals and three multi-goal games. He is now one of 11 players all-time with a 10-goal season in a Kansas City uniform.
KEVIN ELLIS NAMED TO MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK
Homegrown player Kevin Ellis earned MLS Team of the Week honors for the first time in his career after Sporting KC shutout Houston last Friday. In addition to his recognition from MLSsoccer.com, he was also named to the Goal.com and Bleacher Report Team of the Week.
The 22-year-old right back has played in central defense for the past four games as Sporting KC copes with injuries and international absences. Alongside fellow homegrown player Erik Palmer-Brown, Ellis anchored a strong defensive performance that limited Houston to just three shots on goal. Across all League matches last weekend, his 13 clearances were tied for an MLS-best.
JON KEMPIN NAMED TO USL PRO TEAM OF THE WEEK
Fellow homegrown player Jon Kempin was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week on Tuesday. On loan at OKC Energy FC, Kempin made a season-high five saves in a 2-2 draw against the Wilmington Hammerheads on Friday.
Kempin has made 10 appearances under head coach Jimmy Nielsen with 33 saves and two shutouts in the inaugural season for OKC Energy FC.
SPORTING KC TO FACE MINNESOTA UNITED IN U.S. OPEN CUP
Sporting KC will host Minnesota United FC (NASL) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, June 18 at Sporting Park as the two-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions enter the competition in the fourth round. Tickets, starting as low as $14, are available for the match online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.
Minnesota United were crowned champions of the North American Soccer League (division II) Spring Season. The winner of next week's match will advance to host the winner between the Portland Timbers (MLS) and Orlando City U23’s (PDL) in the tournament’s round of 16.
The U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer’s national championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional teams affiliated with U.S. soccer. The oldest annual team tournament in American sports history has its origins in 1914 and is named after Sporting KC’s original founder Lamar Hunt. The single-elimination tournament will continue through the championship match on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 with the winner receiving $250,000 in prize money and a berth in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League. Sporting KC are two-time champions in the competition, winning the title in 2004 and 2012.
BOULEVARDIA TO KICK OFF FRIDAY
Sporting KC is proud to sponsor Boulevardia from June 13-15 in the historic West Bottoms. The food, music and beer festival will feature three days of programming that includes live music and entertainment, arts, crafts, family carnival, Eco-Expo, breweries, food trucks and more.
General admission single-day tickets are available online at Boulevardia.com for $15 (children 12 and under are free to attend). At the event, Boulevard Brewing Company will be serving Sporting Kansas City Championship Ale, a limited release beer from its Smokestack Series that honors the team’s 2013 MLS Cup championship.
MLS ALL-STAR VOTING
Major League Soccer has released the fan ballot for the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 6 in Portland, Oregon. The ballot features players from each of the 19 clubs as voted on by media. Sporting KC’s nominees eligible for selection are goalkeeper Erik Kronberg, defenders Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin and Seth Sinovic, midfielders Benny Feilhaer and Graham Zusi, and forward Dom Dwyer. Fans can vote online at MLSsoccer.com through July 11. Votes will also be tallied via Twitter from July 2-6.
FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting KC fans looking to keep up with the club on the worldwide web 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 available online.