Sporting KC Weekly Update: July 16

SPORTING KC VISITS COLUMBUS TONIGHT, HOSTS LA GALAXY ON SATURDAY
Sporting Kansas City looks to regain first place in the Eastern Conference with a visit to the Columbus Crew at 6:30 p.m. CT tonight. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. CT on KMCI's 38 the Spot and SKCTV across the Midwest, with additional radio coverage on ESPN 1510 AM (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).

The team's official watch party will be held at Turn 2 inside Hollywood Casino (777 Hollywood Casino Blvd.) in Kansas City, Kansas with doors opening at 4 p.m. CT. All in attendance can take advantage of $3 Boulevard Pale Ale and Boulevard Wheat drafts, as well as $6 wings, and will be entered to win an autographed soccer ball and Sporting KC jersey.

Sporting KC (8-5-5, 29 points) is tied for the MLS lead with five road wins and has won three straight away from Sporting Park. Should Sporting KC defeat Columbus, it would be the first time in club history that the team has won four straight on the road in the same season. The Crew (4-6-8, 20 points) have one victory in their last 15 games after starting the year 3-0-0.

Saturday's home contest against the Los Angeles Galaxy (6-3-6, 24 points) is the lone regular season meeting in 2014 between the past two MLS Cup champions. The 5 p.m. CT match will be televised nationally on ESPN2, WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes. A limited number of tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com and the first 5,000 fans inside Sporting Park will receive a Sporting KC cooler bag courtesy of Providence Medical Center.

Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM will provide radio coverage, with 810 AM also broadcasting The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show. Prior to the match, the 2014 Kevin Gray Awards ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. CT in the Boulevard Members Club at Sporting Park.

SPORTING KC SIGNS JORGE CLAROS AND MARTIN STEUBLE

Sporting Kansas City announced today the signing of Honduran midfielder Jorge Claros and Swiss-Filipino midfielder Martin Steuble. Claros will be available for selection this Saturday, while Steuble will join the squad in the near future.

Claros has played 53 games for the Honduras Men's National Team and has scored three goals since making his debut in 2006. The 28-year-old midfielder made eight appearances during Honduras' successful World Cup qualifying campaign and played in all three matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside former Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza. He signs from Honduran club Club Deportivo Motagua, where he won domestic league titles during the 2007-08 Apertura and 2010-11 Clausura.

Steuble joins Sporting KC after seven years of professional soccer in Switzerland, most recently with Swiss Challenge League club FC Wil 1900. The 26-year-old has featured nine times for the Philippines Men's National Team since making his international debut in March of this year.

MLS ALL-STAR FAN XI TO BE REVEALED TONIGHT
The All-Star Fan XI—one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards—will be revealed tonight at halftime of the Philadelphia Union/New York Red Bulls match (kickoff at 6 p.m. CT, ESPN2). The 2014 MLS All-Star Game is set for Aug. 6 featuring German champions Bayern Munich at Portland’s Providence Park.

Sporting KC has been well represented in the MLS All-Star Fan XI each of the last two seasons. In 2012, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Graham Zusi were voted into the squad for the first time. Defender Matt Besler, Collin and Zusi were named to the team last year as Sporting Park hosted the 2013 MLS All-Star Game.

DWYER’S LATE GAME-WINNER SINKS MONTREAL
Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer struck his 14th goal of the season, and sixth of the year against Montreal, in the 89th minute as the defending MLS Cup champions earned their third straight road win with a 2-1 result over the Montreal Impact last Saturday. Sporting KC swept the season series with a perfect 3-0-0 record against the Canadian club to remain in second place in the Eastern Conference.

The visitors took the lead less than four minutes into the match when Dwyer beat Troy Perkins to a long throw-in from Matt Besler for the earliest goal scored in a Sporting KC game this season. Marco Di Vaio equalized with a header of his own in the 28th minute, but Dwyer provided the late game-winner after C.J. Sapong pressured Montreal into a turnover at the top of the box.

The win was goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum’s first MLS start for Sporting KC. Tonight, the Overland Park, Kansas native returns to his former club where he made 82 MLS appearances
(including postseason). Gruenebaum spent his first eight professional seasons with the Crew, enjoying a breakout campaign in 2012 when he started 33 games and led the League with 124 saves.

DOM DWYER ON PACE FOR A RECORD-BREAKING REGULAR SEASON
For the third time in 2014, the Montreal Impact were on the receiving end of a Dom Dwyer brace as the striker scored both goals in Sporting KC’s 2-1 win last Saturday at Stade Saputo. Dwyer now has 14 goals, lifting him into third place on the club’s single season scoring chart with 16 matches still remaining. Dwyer becomes one of only 10 players in MLS history to score six or more regular season goals against the same opponent in a single year and the first of that group to do so in the League’s expansion era (2005 to present).

Dwyer’s four multi-goal games—he also scored twice against Toronto on May 23—are most in MLS this season and tied for sixth most in team history. His nine left-footed strikes are three more than any other player and his four penalty kick goals are tied for second-most in the League. His 68 shots and 30 shots on target rank first in MLS.

BESLER NAMED TO MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK
Matt Besler marked his return to Sporting KC with a performance that landed him on MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week. In his first MLS match since starting all four games for the United States at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the centerback captained his team to its third victory over the Montreal Impact this season.

Besler made an instant impact in the game, earning the seventh assist of his MLS career with a trademark long throw-in that Dom Dwyer headed home in the fourth minute. He proceeded to lead a defense that limited Montreal to just two shots on goal and four scoring chances. Meanwhile, in-form striker Dom Dwyer received Bleacher Report Team of the Week honors after scoring his 13th and 14th goals of the season.

SPORTING KC SHOW AIRS THURSDAY NIGHT
This week's Sporting KC Show will air from 7-8 p.m. CT on Thursday live from Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen Restaurant at the Legends on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Hosts Cal Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine will recap Sporting KC’s match against Columbus and look ahead to the Los Angeles Galaxy, who visit Sporting Park on Saturday. The hosts will also be joined by Sporting KC and U.S. Men's National team midfielder Graham Zusi who will be live at Jazz. Fans can listen via 810 AM, 810whb.com or the station's free mobile app and are encouraged to join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.

LIVEKC TO HOST INAUGURAL FIERY STICK OPEN ON FRIDAY
On Friday, the inaugural Fiery Stick Open will be held from 3-8 p.m. CT on the lawn of the Liberty Memorial in downtown Kansas City featuring live music, food trucks, a $1 million hole-in-one shootout and much more. Media opportunities around the special event, hosted by LiveKC, will be available from 2-3 p.m. CT and the general public can secure tickets online at FieryStickOpen.com while supplies last.

SPORTING KC AND MANCHESTER CITY TO BATTLE FOR CHAMPIONS' SHIELD
Next Wednesday, Sporting KC will host defending English Premier League winner Manchester City FC at Sporting Park in a highly anticipated summer friendly. To commemorate the match between the reigning MLS and EPL champions, the winner of the game will receive the Champions’ Shield. The event is part of Summer in the Soccer Capital presented by the Sprint Framily Plan.

Manchester City boasts a talented roster from top to bottom, including three players—Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko—who finished in the top six of the EPL’s goal-scoring charts during the 2013-14 season. Eleven players on the club’s current roster were named to the final 23-man rosters for their respective countries at the World Cup. The Sky Blues are one of four English clubs set to compete in the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League. Limited tickets are available for the match on July 23 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

KANSAS CITY’S BRANDI LEGGETT NAMED A FINALIST FOR MLS WORKS COMMUNITY MVP
Major League Soccer announced last Friday the finalists for the MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo. The Grand Prize winner, as voted by the fans, will be awarded a $10,000 donation for the charity of their choice and a trip to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game in Portland.

Sporting KC is represented by Brandi Leggett for her involvement with the Active Readers program. A 2014 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year, Leggett created the Active Readers program in 2013 at Prairie Ridge Elementary in Shawnee to further reading comprehension through students' interest in soccer and Sporting KC. More than 100 boys and girls participated in the eight-week program, which gathers students once a week for 30 minutes of soccer instruction followed by 30 minutes of reading/literacy instruction. MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest fan voting is open now through July 25 on the MLS WORKS web site. The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Friday, July 25 at 1 p.m. CT.

BUZZ BEACH BALL TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Tickets are now on sale for Buzz Beach Ball, presented by 96.5 The Buzz and Sporting KC. The concert is set for Sept. 5 at Sporting Park, with tickets starting as low as $30 on Ticketmaster.com. Buzz Beach Ball acts include Arctic Monkeys, Weezer and The 1975. For more information, visit BeachBallKC.com.

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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