SPORTING KC MEETS FC DALLAS IN FIRST ROAD TEST OF 2015 ON SATURDAY
Now a member of the Western conference, Sporting Kansas City will play its first intra-conference tilt of 2015 against FC Dallas at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The match at Toyota Stadium will be televised locally on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV with the broadcast crew of Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum, Jake Yadrich and Kacie McDonnell providing three hours of on-site coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT. In addition, Saturday's game will be broadcast locally on 102.9 FM (English) -- to be followed by The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show -- and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).
Sporting KC has earned four points in their previous two trips to Dallas, winning 4-1 in June 2011 and drawing 2-2 in June 2013. However, FC Dallas boasted a league-best 12 home wins in 2014 as the club made its first postseason appearance in three years. In their home opener at Toyota Stadium last Saturday, Blas Perez scored a 92nd-minute goal to give FC Dallas a 1-0 victory over San Jose.
Sporting KC rejoins the West in 2015 as part of conference realignment for Major League Soccer’s 20th season. The club recorded 21 wins against Western Conference foes from 2011-2014 (21-12-12 overall), more than any other Eastern Conference team, including a 5-2-2 mark last year. Kansas City played their first nine seasons (1996-2004) in the Western Conference and reached the postseason on seven occasions.
SPORTING KC BATTLES NEW YORK TO 1-1 DRAW IN 2015 SEASON OPENER
Sporting KC kicked off the 2015 MLS season last Sunday with a 1-1 tie against the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park. Ike Opara, who missed most of 2014 after suffering a season-ending ankle injury last March, scored on his return before Lloyd Sam equalized four minutes later to split the points in the lone meeting between the two sides this regular season.
Manager Peter Vermes went with first round SuperDraft pick Amadou Dia to make his professional debut at right back, while also inserting newcomers Bernardo Anor, Krisztian Nemeth and Luis Marin into his opening match lineup. Sporting KC was further bolstered by the return of World Cup veteran Roger Espinoza, making the 100th start of his MLS career (including postseason), after being re-acquired in the offseason from Wigan Athletic.
Opara broke the deadlock in the 50th minute with his first goal in more than 17 months. Benny Feilhaber earned the assist with a pinpoint cross from the right flank that Opara headed home from close range for his seventh career MLS goal. The Red Bulls drew level in the 54th minute after Sam curled a 22-yard shot inside Marin's lefthand post.
IKE OPARA LANDS TEAM OF THE WEEK RECOGNITION
Ike Opara’s standout performance in a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls last Sunday didn’t go unnoticed, as he earned Team of the Week recognition from MLSsoccer.com, Bleacher Report, Goal.com and NBC Pro Soccer Talk. After missing most of the 2014 campaign through injury, the centerback scored Sporting KC’s only goal in the 50th minute, recorded game-highs with 11 duels and seven interceptions, and limited opposing striker Bradley Wright-Phillips to just 24 touches and zero shots on goal.
Benny Feilhaber, who assisted Opara’s goal with a cross from the right wing, also landed a spot on NBC Pro Soccer Talk’s Team of the Week. The veteran led all players with five fouls won and showcased his versatility on the pitch—moving from deep-lying to attacking midfielder before joining Opara in central defense for 15 minutes late in the second half. He was also the only player in MLS Week 1 to create two big scoring chances.
In addition, Bleacher Report reserved a spot on its Team of the Week bench for Amadou Dia. The 21-year-old defender became the first rookie to start in a Sporting KC season opener since 2011 and recorded seven interceptions, tied with Opara for third most among MLS players in Week 1.
SPORTING KC UNVEILS NEW PRIMARY JERSEY
Sporting KC unveiled their new primary jersey for the 2015 season last Wednesday during Sporting EVOLUTION at the Uptown Shoppes Event Space as part of Major League Soccer's third annual Jersey Week. The new uniform is available to buy in men's, women's and youth styles at shop.sportingkc.com, which offers free returns on all purchases and free shipping on orders over $50.
Sporting KC debuted their new primary jersey on Sunday in a nationally televised match against the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park. Visit SportingKC.com for more information on the club's new jersey.
SKC ACADEMY U16'S AND U18'S GO UNDEFEATED ON TEXAS ROAD TRIP
The Sporting KC Academy U16's and U18's continued their respective unbeaten runs over the weekend, both earning four points from two matches in The Woodlands, Texas. All four matches were played against teams within the Central Conference's Frontier Division of the 2014-15 U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
The U16's (3-6-9, 11th place) extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 win over Texas Rush on Saturday and a 1-1 draw against Texans SC Houston on Sunday. The U18's (8-7-3) opened the weekend with a 1-1 draw against Texas Rush before defeating Texans SC Houston 2-1. Currently in seventh place, the under-18 squad is one spot outside of playoff position with nine matches remaining.
Both teams will host Colorado Rush in a doubleheader at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday. The U18's kick off at 10 a.m. CT before U16's take the field at 12:30 p.m. CT. All Sporting KC Academy home matches are free and open to the public to attend. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter and Instagram for updates.
SPORTING CLUB CEO ROBB HEINEMAN TO PRESENT AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST ON FRIDAY
Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman will be at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas on Friday as a keynote speaker discussing the in-stadium fan experience in Major League Soccer. Heineman is one of the Sporting KC’s five principal owners and also serves as Managing Partner of Sporting Innovations, a technology company focused on innovation in sports and entertainment.
REGISTRATION OPEN FOR SPORTING KC YOUTH CAMPS IN 2015
Sporting KC is offering a series of youth camps to foster the next generation of soccer players in the region. Registration for upcoming camp opportunities is now open at SportingKC.com/camps, beginning with the Spring Break Development Camp from March 16-18 at Swope Soccer Village. For more information on the youth camps available to boys and girls, visit SportingKC.com.
FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting KC fans looking to keep up with the club online have a place to go. The Social Media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the team, its players and several staff members. Supporters may also take advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage.