MLS PLAY RESUMES AS SPORTING KC VISITS PORTLAND ON FRIDAY
Sporting Kansas City visits the Portland Timbers this Friday as Major League Soccer’s two-week break for the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stages comes to an end. The match at Providence Park is set to kick off at 10 p.m. CT and will be televised on KMCI 38 The Spot and SKCTV, with additional coverage available on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM.


The club's official watch parties will be held at the Johnny's Tavern locations in the Kansas City Power & Light District (1310 Grand Boulevard) and Overland Park (6765 W 119th St.). All Sporting KC supporters are encouraged to attend and select Boulevard draft specials, as well as the Blue Believer signature cocktail.


Sporting KC (6-5-4, 22 points) snapped a five-game winless run on June 6 against the Houston Dynamo and is looking for an MLS-best fourth road win of the season. After failing to win any of their first eight matches in 2014, the Portland Timbers (4-4-8, 20 points) have lost just one of their last 10 games in all competitions. Portland had the best regular season home record in 2013 (11-1-5) but has claimed just one victory at Providence Park this year (1-1-7).


BESLER AND ZUSI MAKE BIG IMPACT AS U.S. DRAWS PORTUGAL 2-2
The United States took another step toward progressing to the 2014 FIFA World Cup knockout stage with a thrilling 2-2 draw against Portugal on Sunday. Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi was again involved in late-game heroics, assisting Clint Dempsey’s go-ahead goal in the 81st minute, before Silvestre Varela headed a 95th-minute equalizer with the final touch of the match.  Sporting KC defender Matt Besler played the full match and Zusi was replaced in the 91st minute, marking the first time since 2002 that two players from the same MLS club started together for the U.S. in a World Cup game.


The draw puts the U.S. level on points with group leaders Germany but behind on goal differential. The Americans are three points clear of both Ghana and Portugal and must draw their final match against Germany to advance to the Round of 16. Even a loss to Germany could see the U.S. progress, depending on how many goals are scored by each team in the final pair of Group G matches. Both games will kick off concurrently at 11 a.m. CT Thursday.


Besler earned his 19th cap and led all players with 12 clearances and five interceptions. The U.S. is 13-1-4 when he starts in central defense. Zusi received his 25th cap and now has six assists in his international career. He is one of 10 players to have multiple assists in the 2014 World Cup.


WORLD CUP WATCH PARTIES CONTINUE AT POWER & LIGHT
Summer in the Soccer Capital, presented by The Sprint Framily Plan, resumes Kansas City’s official 2014 FIFA World Cup watch parties hosted at KC Live! in the Power & Light District. Continuing through the World Cup final on July 13, every game 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 is free for all ages. Food and drink specials are available for supporters, as well as limited edition “For Club and Country” merchandise. Additional programming, including VIP opportunities, will be provided for all remaining U.S. Men’s National Team matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including the final group stage match against Germany this Thursday at 11 a.m. CT.


The Mosaic Lounge (1331 Walnut St.) in the Kansas City Power and Light District will host a World Cup watch party for Thursday’s U.S. match, as well any additional matches should the U.S. advance to the knockout stage. 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 for the game are $20 and can be purchased online. Doors open to Mosaic one hour prior to the match and close one hour after.


SEVEN SPORTING KC PLAYERS IN CONTENTION FOR MLS ALL-STAR FAN XI
On Monday, Major League Soccer released the latest results from fan voting for the 2014 MLS All-Star Game in Portland, Oregon. Seven Sporting KC players are among the leaders at their respective positions. Captain Matt Besler is the leading vote getter among defenders, while his centerback partner Aurelien Collin is third and left back Seth Sinovic is sixth. Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber are the third and fifth-ranked midfielders, and goalkeeper Eric Kronberg ranks third. MLS joint-leading scorer Dom Dwyer is sixth among forwards.


Voting opened on May 28 and will continue through July 11. Votes will also be tallied through Twitter from July 2-6 and via EA SPORTS FIFA 14. The All-Star Fan XI—one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards—will be revealed on July 16. The 2014 MLS All-Star game is set for Aug. 6 featuring German champions Bayern Munich at Portland’s Providence Park.


SPORTING KC EXITS U.S. OPEN CUP IN ROUND OF 16
Sporting KC fell to the Portland Timbers 3-1 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup round of 16 Tuesday night at Sporting Park. The visitors jumped out to a three-goal lead before Soony Saad scored for the third time in as many matches with a 73rd-minute penalty kick. Sporting KC won the tournament in 2012 but has exited in the round of 16 each of the last two seasons. The same two clubs meet in Portland this Friday as MLS play resumes.


Peter Vermes’ squad reached the round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Minnesota United FC (NASL) last Wednesday. The fourth round victory saw club debuts for goalkeeper and Kansas City native Andy Gruenebaum and midfielder Victor Munoz. Saad put Sporting KC ahead in the 76th minute before midfielder Alex Martinez scored his first career goal for the club 11 minutes later.


BUZZ BEACH BALL TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY
Tickets will go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. for Buzz Beach Ball at Sporting Park. Tickets for the show on Sept. 5 start as low as $30 and will be available at Ticketmaster.com. Buzz Beach Ball acts include Arctic Monkeys, Weezer and The 1975. For more information, visit www.BeachBallKC.com.


FIVE CLUB GREATS NOMINATED FOR 2014 SPORTING LEGEND
Sporting Club has announced the five nominees for the 2014 Sporting Legend: Jimmy Conrad, Mo Johnston, Chris Klein, Peter Vermes and Kerry Zavagnin.


Sporting Legends, an initiative launched by Sporting Club that pays tribute to club icons and provides a platform for inductees to re-engage with the local soccer community, will induct one new Legend annually beginning this year. The 2014 Legend will be selected on a weighted vote through social media and SportingKC.com. Fan voting will last until June 30, and the leading vote getter will be unveiled as the newest member of the Sporting Legends in a halftime induction ceremony at a Sporting KC match later this summer at Sporting Park. Fans can vote online and on Twitter using the hashtag #VoteSporting.


In August 2013, Sporting KC and Sporting Club selected Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevic, Tony Meola and Bob Gansler as members of the inaugural Sporting Legends class to recognize their integral roles within the organization and in the growth of soccer in Kansas City.


VICTORY PROJECT: DWYER AND SAAD VISIT CHILDREN’S MERCY HOSPITAL
As part of the Victory Project initiative, Sporting KC forwards Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer partnered with the Shadow Buddies Foundation and visited Children’s Mercy Hospital last Thursday. Shadow Buddies are condition-specific dolls designed to aid seriously ill or medically challenged children. The foundation created their first professional soccer dolls in the likeness of Dwyer and Saad this year, complete with their names and numbers on them to sign and distribute to children. To learn more about the Victory Project, visit VictoryKC.org or follow @victorykc on Twitter.


SPORTING KC U-14s WIN USYS REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Sporting KC U-14s won the United States Youth Soccer Region II Tournament on Wednesday morning with a 6-3 win over Alliance SC in the championship match in Dayton, Ohio. Abdu Kikhia scored four goals in the final match to send the Sporting KC U-14s to the USYS National Tournament, which will be held next month in Maryland. Mike Keon and Max Rugova also scored in the win over Alliance SC. The U-14s rolled through the tournament, winning all three group stage matches by a combined 7-0 scoreline and earning a 4-1 victory over Ohio Premier in the semifinals.


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.

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