Graham Zusi - Sporting KC at Colorado Rapids - August 29, 2015
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Sporting KC Weekly Update: Sept. 9, 2015

SPORTING KC ON THE ROAD TO FACE PORTLAND TONIGHT AND ORLANDO CITY SC ON SUNDAY
Following an idle week during FIFA's September international window, Sporting KC embarks on a two-game road trip that begins tonight in the Pacific Northwest against the Portland Timbers and ends in the opposite corner of the country against Orlando City SC on Sunday.

Tonight's match between fifth-place Sporting KC (11-7-7, 40 points) and sixth-place Portland (11-9-7, 40 points) — clubs level on points and occupying the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference — will be televised on KMCI-TV 38 The Spot and SKCTV, with three hours of live coverage from Providence Park beginning at 9 p.m. CT. The match will also be available to listeners in the Kansas City area on 99.3 FM and 1340 AM.

Sporting KC will then play its final inter-conference match of the 2015 regular season with an inaugural meeting against expansion side Orlando City SC on Sunday at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The match will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO at 6 p.m. CT. Sporting KC has a 6-1-2 record against Eastern Conference opposition this season.

MATT BESLER EARNS 26TH CAP AS U.S. BEATS PERU 2-1 IN FRIENDLY
Sporting KC captain Matt Besler came off the bench for the U.S. Men's National Team last Friday to play 28 minutes in a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Peru in an international friendly held at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Besler entered in the 62nd minute for John Brooks and his six combined interceptions/clearances were most among all American players in the match. The appearance, Besler's 26th of his international career, was his first for the United States since a 2-0 win over Panama on Feb. 8.

Besler has returned to Sporting KC ahead of the club's MLS regular season match at the Portland Timbers tonight at 9:30 p.m. CT (KMCI-TV 38 The Spot, SKCTV).

“We were impressed with Matt Besler this past week,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said on Sunday. “We definitely saw what we needed to see from him as we prepare for the Mexico clash and Sporting KC badly wanted him back for Wednesday, so we agreed to send him home.”

The United States will compete in a decisive playoff match against Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Oct. 10. That game will determine which CONCACAF nation will play in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

KRISZTIAN NEMETH FEATURES TWICE FOR HUNGARY IN EURO 2016 QUALIFYING
Sporting KC forward Krisztian Nemeth and the Hungary Men’s National Team continued their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign on Monday with a 1-1 road draw against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast.

Making his 19th international appearance and his fourth career start for the Magyars, Nemeth played 89 minutes and helped Hungary (3-1-4, 13 points) solidify third place in Group F. Hungary remains four points behind group leaders Northern Ireland (5-1-2) and three points behind Romania (4-0-4) with two all-important Euro qualifiers still to play next month.

Last Friday, Nemeth featured as a second-half substitute and played 20 minutes in a scoreless Euro qualifier against Romania.

Nemeth has enjoyed a strong first season for Sporting KC since arriving in January. The 26-year-old has recorded 12 goals and seven assists in all competitions and was named Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month in May. His four game-winning goals in MLS are one off the league lead, and he has scored in each of his three appearances in Sporting KC’s run to the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

MARCEL DE JONG AND CANADA ADVANCE IN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Sporting KC defender Marcel de Jong started for Canada on Tuesday in the final leg of a home-and-away series with Belize in CONCACAF's third round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 28-year-old left back played 75 minutes at FFB Stadium in Belmopan, Belize in the 1-1 draw as Canada advanced 4-1 on aggregate, having already claimed a 3-0 win in Friday's first leg.

Canada moves on to join El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico in Group A for the next stage of qualifying, which will begin Nov. 13-17 and continue through September 2016. Ranked No. 102 by FIFA, Canada is seeking the nation's second all-time World Cup appearance and first since 1986.

Since making his senior team debut at age 21 in 2007, de Jong now has 38 career appearances for Canada. In 2015, de Jong has started seven times on the international stage — including all three of Canada's games at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup — to lead his country to a 3-1-3 record with only two goals allowed.

ERIK PALMER-BROWN CAPTAINS U.S. U-20S IN SERBIA TOURNAMENT
Sporting KC defender Erik Palmer-Brown started for the United States Under-20 Men's National Team on Monday in a 2-0 victory over Israel at the 2015 Stevan Vilotic Tournament in Serbia. Palmer-Brown, who wore the captain's armband for the United States, was the only player to start all three matches for the U.S. U-20's at the competition.

The U.S. opened the tournament with back-to-back losses against the last two FIFA U-20 World Cup champions, falling 3-1 to Serbia last Thursday and 6-1 to France last Friday. Led by head coach Tab Ramos, the U-20's will next participate in the Four Nations Tournament held in Germany in October.

Palmer-Brown, 18, has appeared in nine matches for Sporting KC across all competitions since signing as a Homegrown Player in August 2013. He made his MLS debut in May 2014, becoming the youngest player to appear in an MLS match in club history.

ROGER ESPINOZA JOINS UNBOUND TEAM AS VOLUNTEER PARTNER AND ADVOCATE
Unbound, a humanitarian organization working in 20 countries around the world, announced a partnership with Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza on Wednesday.

Espinoza will visit Santa Barbara, Honduras, Dec. 10-14 to experience the impact Unbound makes for children, youth and elders living in poverty. He’ll meet families Unbound serves and host a soccer clinic for kids in the Unbound sponsorship program.

Espinoza was born in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, and is one of six children. He immigrated to the United States when he was 12 years old and credits soccer for helping him integrate into a new country and learn English. Espinoza still has family in Honduras and he has a goal of making a difference in his home country and beyond its borders.

Espinoza began his Major League Soccer career in Kansas City, where he was an MLS All-Star and helped the club win the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.  He moved abroad for two years to play in England and returned to Kansas City in January 2015. 

Unbound is the largest nonprofit organization in Kansas with more than $120 million in annual revenue. Unbound works side by side with people of diverse faiths in 20 countries, bringing people together to challenge poverty in new and innovative ways.

Unbound distributes direct aid as quickly and efficiently as possible to people who need it. 92.5 percent of Unbound's expenses go toward program support.

AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE OFFERING FREE ROAD TRIP TO SPORTING KC ROAD GAME
A partnership between Sporting KC and American Family Insurance now allows fans to register for a free road trip to see Sporting KC face the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 16. The match will be played at Avaya Stadium, San Jose’s new state-of-the-art venue that opened in March.

The contest is open to all Sporting KC fans 21 years of age and older who live in Kansas or Missouri and will run through Sept. 13. Supporters can register by visiting https://contests.amfam.com/sportingkc. One contest will reward one grand prize winner who will receive free airfare, four game tickets, a $1,000 bank card and more. Visit SportingKC.com for additional information.

KC STAYCATION WITH THE MARRIOT SWEEPSTAKES LAUNCHES ON SPORTINGKC.COM
The KC Staycation with the Marriott sweepstakes has launched on SportingKC.com. Fans can enter through 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 30 for a chance to win a two-night stay at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown (based on availability), a complimentary dinner for two at the MetropolitanKC, a $25 drink voucher, two tickets to a Sporting KC match with a pre-game tour, two Sporting KC jerseys and two team scarves.

SEPTEMBER EDITION OF ELEVEN MAGAZINE NOW AVAILABLE ON SPORTINGKC.COM
The September edition of Eleven, the club's official digital magazine, is now available on Sporting KC.com. The new issue has 28 pages dedicated to Sporting KC and Major League Soccer, including captain Matt Besler's contribution as a guest editor with comments throughout the publication.

Eleven launched in August with an inaugural issue that introduced the work of David Barr (writer), Walfri Rodas (photographer) and Matthew Kimbrough (designer).

In addition, special contributors Megan Armstrong, Ale Cabero, Crystle Lampitt and Scott Luallin all add to the voices heard among a dozen articles that touch on topics ranging from two Sporting Legends — Jimmy Conrad and Chris Klein — to Sporting KC's three first round picks in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

Follow @ElevenTheMag on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date with all the latest news, and download the Issuu apps on AndroidiOS or Windows to enjoy Eleven on mobile devices.

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR 2015 NCAA MEN'S COLLEGE CUP AT SPORTING PARK
Tickets are now on sale for the 2015 NCAA Men's College Cup at Sporting Park via Ticketmaster.com. Ticket packages start as low as $27 for admission to the semifinal doubleheader on Friday, Dec. 11 and the national championship match on Sunday, Dec. 13 with passes also available for access to the Ameritas Shield Club and Boulevard Members Club

The college soccer season officially kicked off Aug. 28. Last year's College Cup finalists UCLA and Virginia currently sit atop the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) rankings.

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.

 

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