Marcel de Jong - March 21, 2015 vs Portland Timbers

SPORTING KC TO FACE NEW YORK CITY FC ON SATURDAY AT YANKEE STADIUM
Sporting Kansas City hits the road for their inaugural match against MLS expansion side New York City FC on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. CT and air live locally on KMCI-TV 38 The Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV with 30 minutes of pre-game and post-game coverage. Radio listeners can follow live on 102.9 FM (English) and 1340 AM (Spanish).


Sporting KC (0-1-2, 2 points) is winless in their first three regular season matches for the first time since 1999. However, Peter Vermes' side recorded 24 regular season road wins from 2012-2014, the most of any MLS club over a three-year span during the non-shootout era (2000-present), and has created 15 more than they have allowed this season. In addition, Sporting KC holds a 6-1-2 record against expansion or relocated teams during Major League Soccer's expansion era (2005-present). Marcel de Jong (Canada), Roger Espinoza and Erik Palmer-Brown (U.S. U-20's) will miss the match on international duty


New York City FC (1-0-2, 5 points) sits atop the Eastern Conference and has conceded just one goal through three matches. The team is led by United States international midfielder Mix Diskerud, who scored the club's first ever goal on March 8 and leads MLS with 185 successful passes, and World Cup-winning Spanish forward David Villa, who scored the game-winner in NYCFC's first match at Yankee Stadium on March 15.


SPORTING KC SPLITS POINTS WITH PORTLAND TIMBERS AFTER SCORELESS DRAW
Luis Marin made three saves for the first shutout of his MLS career as Sporting KC battled the Portland Timbers to a 0-0 draw last Saturday at Sporting Park. Captain Matt Besler returned from his one-game suspension and anchored a backline that welcomed Jalil Anibaba into the starting lineup for his Sporting KC debut. Portland was held to seven shots - their fewest since August 2014 - as the Timbers tied their third straight match to open the 2015 season.


Sporting KC, meanwhile, attempted 16 shots and nearly grabbed the game-winner on multiple occasions. In the 15th minute, Dom Dwyer received a pass from Jimmy Medranda and unleashed a shot that took a deflected narrowly above the woodwork. Ike Opara, who scored Sporting KC's lone goal in the team's 2015 home opener, was nearly on the scoresheet again but headed a cross from Marcel De Jong inches over the crossbar in the 77th minute.


The second half of the match saw midfielder Servando Carrasco and Soni Mustivar make their Sporting KC debuts.


MIDFIELDER ROGER ESPINOZA JOINS HONDURAS FOR GOLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Midfielder Roger Espinoza has joined the Honduras Men’s National Team for a pivotal 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup play-in series. French Guiana will host the opening leg tonight at 6 p.m. CT before the decisive return leg in Honduras on Sunday.


The 28-year-old Espinoza, who will miss Sporting KC's match against New York City FC on Saturday, has made 45 international appearances for Honduras, scoring four goals and representing his native country at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 FIFA World Cup.


Espinoza has played 133 matches for the club in all competitions with three goals and 12 assists, including his long-range strike at FC Dallas on March 14. He played in Kansas City from 2008 to 2012, earning MLS All-Star honors in his final year before moving to English club Wigan Athletic in 2013. He returned to Kansas City this January after making 57 appearances for the Latics.


DEFENDER MARCEL DE JONG JOINS CANADA FOR PAIR OF FRIENDLY MATCHES
Defender Marcel de Jong has joined the Canada Men’s National Team for a pair of friendlies against CONCACAF opponents. The Reds will play Guatemala on Friday at in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before closing out the training camp against Puerto Rico on Monday in Bayamon. The two games serve as Canada’s final tune-ups prior to the start of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in June and the 2015 Gold Cup in July.


The 28-year-old de Jong, who will miss Sporting KC's match against New York City FC on Saturday, signed with Sporting KC earlier this month and made his MLS debut on March 14 after recording more than 225 club appearances over 10 professional seasons in the Netherlands and Germany. He has earned 31 caps for Canada with two goals since his international debut in 2007. He has represented his country at each of the past three CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments, as well as in 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.


DEFENDER ERIK PALMER-BROWN JOINS U.S. U-20'S FOR ENGLAND TRAINING CAMP
Defender Erik Palmer-Brown has joined the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team for a week-long training camp in England (March 23-30). Head coach Tab Ramos selected 20 players for the team’s first foreign training camp of the year, which includes a scrimmage against Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-21 team on Friday in London followed by a match against England’s Under-21 Men’s National Team on Sunday in Plymouth.


Palmer-Brown, who will miss Sporting KC's match against New York City FC on Saturday, has appeared in seven matches for Sporting KC across all competition, including the team’s 2015 season opener earlier this month. The Lee’s Summit, Missouri, native is a product of the Sporting KC Academy and became the club’s third homegrown player signing in August 2013. The 17-year-old most recently represented the U.S. U-20’s in September 2014 during a training camp in Argentina. The trip was his second full camp at the age level after appearing in four victories for the U-20’s en route to reaching the Dallas Cup final in April 2014.


SPORTING KC LOANS GOALKEEPER JON KEMPIN TO SAN ANTONIO SCORPIONS
Sporting KC announced last Friday that the club has loaned goalkeeper Jon Kempin to the North American Soccer League’s San Antonio Scorpions. The 21-year-old joins the defending NASL champions ahead of their league opener on April 4.


Kempin, 21, begins his sixth pro season after joining the U.S. Men’s National Team in January. The Leawood, Kansas, native made five competitive appearances for Sporting KC in 2014, including his debut in MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League, while also spending time on loan at OKC Energy FC of USL PRO.


Kempin earned back-to-back MLS Save of the Week honors in his first two MLS appearances and was named MVP of the 2014 MLS Chipotle Homegrown Game. In doing so, he became the youngest at his position to play in MLS since 2012 and entered the record books as the youngest keeper to start an MLS match in club history.


SPORTING KC LOANS MIDFIELDER MIKEY LOPEZ TO USL AFFILIATE OKC ENERGY FC
Sporting KC announced Tuesday that the club has loaned midfielder Mikey Lopez to the team’s USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC.


Lopez returns on loan to the USL, where he recorded one goal and one assist in 14 appearances split between Orlando City SC (nine games) and OKC Energy FC (five games) a year ago. The 22-year-old also logged eight MLS appearances for Sporting KC in 2014 during a breakout second professional season. OKC Energy FC  kicks off their 2015 schedule on Saturday with an in-state match-up against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, one of 12 new expansion sides in the 24-team USL.


Lopez represented the United States at the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey and made his professional debut during the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.


DE JONG AND OPARA NAMED TO MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK
Defenders Marcel de Jong and Ike Opara received MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors following last Saturday’s shutout of the Portland Timbers.


In his second MLS appearance, Canadian left back de Jong won a game-high four tackles and helped Sporting KC post their first clean sheet of 2015. He also created four chances, tied for most of any player in MLS Week 3, including a pinpoint cross in the second half that Opara headed narrowly over the crossbar. De Jong, who joins the Canada Men’s national team this week for friendlies against Guatemala (Friday) and Puerto Rico (March 30), also landed Team of the Week spots on Bleacher Report and Goal.com.


Opara earns Team of the Week recognition for the second time in three weeks after missing most of 2014 through injury. Last Saturday, he limited the impact of Portland striker Fanendo Adi and led all players with eight interceptions and five aerial duels. The centerback now leads MLS with 20 interceptions on the season, five more than any other player.


SKC ACADEMY KICKS OFF 2014-15 GENERATION ADIDAS CUP ON SUNDAY
The Sporting KC Academy will open play in the 2014-15 Generation adidas Cup against Aspire Academy (Qatar) at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas. Sporting KC is one of six MLS academy teams to qualify for the Champions Division and was drawn into Group A alongside Aspire Academy, River Plate (Argentina) and Toronto FC (Canada).


Visit MLSsoccer.com for full scores, standings and schedules throughout the U-17 Generation adidas Cup. In addition, follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest updates.


SPORTING KC ADVANCES TO BATTLE OF THE BRANDS FIGHTIN' FOUR
Sporting KC has advanced to the Fightin' 4 of KC Source Link's Battle of the Brands. An annual competition that highlights the top entrepreneurs from the Kansas City market, KC Source Link's Battle of the Brands featured a 64-team bracket in a March Madness-style competition with one winner crowned the "Next Aristo of KC Entrepreneurship."


In the semifinals, Sporting KC squared against 2015 Main Street champion Dolce Bakery, a local bakery that has been serving the Kansas City area since 2007. On the opposite side of the bracket, the 2015 Innovation-Led champion AMC Theatres faced 2015 Microenterprise champion KC Cool. Semifinal voting closed Tuesday, and the championship match will be announced Thursday morning.


TICKETS ON SALE FOR CONCACAF GOLD CUP DOUBLEHEADER ON JULY 13
Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.com for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader to be played at Sporting Park on July 13. The United States Men's National Team will face Panama at 8:30 pm. CT in the Group A finale after Haiti takes on either Honduras or French Guiana at 6 p.m. CT. CONCACAF announced the group stage matchups for the 12-team tournament on March 12.


All tickets provide entry to both matches with prices starting at $35 for general admission seating in the South Stand or Members Stand. Sporting KC could feature players on three of the teams competing at Sporting Park that evening—Matt Besler and Graham Zusi of the U.S., Haitian midfielder Soni Mustivar and Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza.


The Gold Cup is the region’s marquee national team tournament and the headline competition for the United States Men’s National Team in 2015. This year’s tournament carries additional significance as it will determine CONCACAF's representatives at the Centennial Cup America in 2016 and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017.


SPORTING KC TO HOST OPEN TRYOUTS JUNE 13-14
Sporting KC will host the team's 2015 open tryouts on June 13-14 at Swope Soccer Village (6310 Lewis Road) in Kansas City, Missouri. Online registration is now open and will be available to the first 200 players who are 18 years or older.


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The club first organized open tryouts in the buildup to the team's inaugural season in 1996. More recently, Sporting KC has welcomed prospective professionals each year since 2008 when two players, Nelson Pizarro and Kevin Souter, were signed by Vermes and went on to appear in 14 matches across all competitions.


Participants must pay all expenses (registration fee, travel costs, etc.), but discounted hotel rooms are available for out-of-town players. For more information, visit the 2015 Open Tryouts webpage on SportingKC.com.


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. Camp registration is now open at SportingKC.com/camps, including the upcoming Speed and Agility Camp every Wednesday from April 1 to May 6 (six weeks) 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.