MATT BESLER NAMED TO U.S. MNT FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Sporting KC defender Matt Besler has been named to the 23-player roster for the United States Men’s National Team ahead of two World Cup qualifiers, U.S. Soccer announced last Friday.
The U.S. begins its journey to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying this Friday against St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (5:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas, UDN). The U.S. will then travel to face Trinidad and Tobago next Tuesday at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain (5 p.m. CT, beIN Sports, NBC Universo).
Besler, 28, has earned 27 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including three friendly appearances in 2015 and a start in the CONCACAF Cup last month. The Sporting KC captain recorded his first international assist to Brek Shea in a friendly at Chile on Jan. 28 and most recently played 120 minutes in a 3-2 loss to Mexico on Oct. 10.
Besler logged 38 appearances for Sporting KC in 2015 and guided the club to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship, its third major trophy in four years. He anchored a backline that conceded the fewest shots in MLS, led the League in clearances and added a career-high four assists in all competitions. The Overland Park, Kansas, native was named an MLS All-Star for the fourth time and shared Sporting KC Defensive Player of the Year honors with Soni Mustivar.
KRISZTIAN NEMETH JOINS HUNGARY FOR EURO 2016 PLAYOFF
Sporting KC forward Krisztian Nemeth has joined the Hungary Men’s National Team for a pair of upcoming UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers. Hungary will travel to Oslo to play Norway on Thursday (1:45 p.m. CT, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go) before returning to Budapest for the second leg on Sunday (1:45 p.m. CT, ESPN). The team with the most goals scored over the two legs will advance to next summer’s UEFA European Championship.
Hungary finished Euro 2016 qualifying with a 4-2-4 record and in third place in Group F. The top two teams from each group advanced directly to next year’s tournament. The top overall third-place finisher also earned a berth in the tournament, while the remaining eight third-place teams advanced to a two-legged playoff.
Nemeth enjoyed a standout first season with Sporting KC. He was voted the club's Newcomer of the Year after scoring 16 goals with seven assists in all competitions. His 23 combined goals and assists were the most by a newcomer in team history and he was the only Kansas City player to score in all three competitions (regular season, postseason and Open Cup).
On the international front, Nemeth has appeared 21 times for Hungary, including six games in 2015. In Hungary’s final Euro qualifier, Nemeth played 90 minutes and scored two goals in a 4-3 loss at Greece.
Next summer’s European Championship will be the 15th edition of the tournament. The winner will earn the right to participate in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Hungary finished fourth at the 1972 European Championship, the last time they qualified for the quadrennial tournament.
JON KEMPIN JOINS U.S. U-23 ROSTER FOR TRAINING CAMP IN BRAZIL
Sporting KC goalkeeper Jon Kempin has been selected to the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team by head coach Andi Herzog for this week's training camp in Brazil. The U.S. U-23s will play two matches against Brazil, the first of which will kick off tonight at 5 p.m. CT in Recife (FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go). The second game is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. CT in Belem (FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports Go).
The U.S. U-23 MNT will meet for the first time since a third-place finish in the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship. As a result of the finish, the U-23 MNT will play a two-game series next March against Colombia for the right to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Kempin has made nine appearances in all competitions since joining Sporting KC as the club’s first homegrown player in 2010. The Sporting KC Academy product had a 1-1-1 record in three MLS starts this year. He also entered Sporting KC’s playoff against the Portland Timbers in the 85th minute for an injured Tim Melia. Kempin played the remainder of regulation and the 30-minute overtime, making three saves in the longest penalty kick shootout in MLS Cup Playoffs history.
Kempin has featured for the United States at the U-15, U-17, U-18, U-20 and U-23 levels. At the beginning of 2015, he was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the first time in his career to take part in manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s January Camp.
MARCEL DE JONG JOINS CANADA FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Sporting KC defender Marcel de Jong has joined the Canada Men’s National Team for a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifiers, the Canadian Soccer Association announced last Friday.
Canada begins the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying this Friday against Honduras at BC Place in Vancouver, then travels to face El Salvador next Tuesday at Estadio Cuscatian in San Salvador.
De Jong, 29, has made 39 international appearances for Canada since debuting in 2007. He has represented his country in each of the past four CONCACAF Gold Cups and now embarks on his third FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, having previously done so ahead of the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
De Jong has been a mainstay for Canada in 2015, earning eight caps and helping Canada defeat Belize 4-1 on aggregate in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying in September. He most recently scored a spectacular long-range strike in Canada’s 1-1 friendly draw against Ghana on Oct. 13, the third goal of his international career.
SONI MUSTIVAR JOINS HAITI FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Sporting KC midfielder Soni Mustivar has joined the Haiti Men’s National Team for a pair of upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Haiti will play at Costa Rica on Friday before hosting Jamaica next Tuesday.
Mustivar joined Sporting KC prior to the 2015 season after a seven-year career in France and Romania. The French-born midfielder has six caps for Haiti and last played for the national team at the 2014 CFU Caribbean Cup.
Mustivar excelled for Sporting KC this past season in his first year in Major League Soccer. The 25-year-old midfielder made 31 appearances in all competitions and finished the year with one goal and two assists. Mustivar ended the regular season with 123 interceptions, second most among all midfielders, and set an MLS record in the Opta era (2011-present) with 20 interceptions in a 1-0 win at Vancouver. Mustivar was voted Sporting KC’s co-Defensive Player of the Year alongside captain Matt Besler.
THREE SPORTING KC PLAYERS UP FOR MLS GOAL OF THE YEAR
The field for the 2015 AT&T Goal of the Year has been cut from 64 to 32, with Second Round voting open through Friday, Nov. 13, on MLSsoccer.com. Three Sporting KC players — Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth and Dom Dwyer — remain in contention for the yearly award. All three have been placed in the Midwest quadrant of the knockout-style bracket, a Goal of the Year voting format newly adopted this year.
Week 8: Benny Feilhaber’s last-gasp equalizer against Houston on April 25
Week 12: Dom Dwyer’s swivel and smash against New England on May 20
Week 31: Krisztian Nemeth’s zig-zagging run and finish against Portland on Oct. 3
The 2015 Goal of the Year winner will be announced on Dec. 3. Sporting KC is seeking its first Goal of the Year recipient in club history. Feilhaber, Nemeth and Dwyer combined for 45 of the team’s 64 goals across all competitions in 2015.
FEILHABER AND MELIA NOMINATED FOR END-OF-SEASON MLS AWARDS
Two Sporting KC players have been named finalists for Major League Soccer’s end-of-year awards, the League announced on Nov. 3. Midfielder Benny Feilhaber is one of three players nominated for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award, while goalkeeper Tim Melia is a finalist for MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
The Comeback Player of the Year award will be announced next Wednesday, Nov. 18, while the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Feilhaber, 30, set MLS career-highs in 2015 with 10 goals and 15 assists, ranking second in MLS in the latter category and becoming one of four players across the League to reach double-digits in both goals and assists. He added two goals and five assists in Sporting KC’s run to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship, becoming the club’s all-time assist leader in the tournament.
Across all competitions in 2015, Feilhaber started 36 of 38 appearances and recorded a club-record 20 assists, including five of the game-winning variety in MLS. Sporting KC’s 2015 MVP, he played a part in 32 of his team's 64 goals in all competitions and helped lead the club to its fifth consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Melia, 29, enjoyed a breakout sixth MLS season in 2015 after previously backing up MLS All-Stars Nick Rimando at Real Salt Lake (2010-11) and Dan Kennedy at Chivas USA (2012-14). He was waived by Chivas USA in July 2014 and served as a League Pool Goalkeeper during the latter half of the year. After earning emergency call-ups from Sporting KC, FC Dallas and D.C. United, he signed for Sporting KC in December.
Melia secured a starting role in May and became the first goalkeeper in MLS history to record six shutouts in his first nine League matches for a new club. He ended the season with nine clean sheets and a 15-8-5 record in all competitions, making two saves in Sporting KC’s victorious penalty shootout win over the Philadelphia Union in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.
THIRD ANNUAL TRUCE TOURNAMENT SET FOR DEC. 26
Sporting Club and the National World War I Museum and Memorial will host the third annual Truce Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 26. The Kansas City soccer community is invited to participate in the 3-v-3 tournament — which will be played on Liberty Hill — attend an English Premier League Watch Party inside the WWI Museum and enjoy the official Truce after-party at The Soccer Lot (2525 Jefferson St.), located just minutes from the museum.
For more information on the Truce Tournament or to register a team, visit www.TheTruceKC.com. Teams can take advantage of the early bird registration fee of $225 through this Friday, while the regular registration fee of $250 per team will run from Saturday through Dec. 20. In addition, participants can visit this link to RSVP to the English Premier League watch party.
Following a tradition that began in 2013, the 2015 Truce Tournament comes on the 101st Anniversary of World War I and pays homage to the time-honored story of the Christmas Truce. According to legend, WWI battles temporarily ceased around Christmas 1914 as members of both warring armies ventured into No Man’s Land to exchange gifts, sing carols and play soccer.
TICKETS 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.
ROAD TO KC SET FOR 125 TEAMS IN NCAA D-III SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
For the second straight year, the men's and women's NCAA Division III soccer championships will return to Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri, on Dec. 4-5, 2015. On Monday, the NCAA unveiled the brackets featuring 64 women's teams and 61 men's teams for the single-elimination tournaments.
The 2015 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Championships at Swope Soccer Village will be co-hosted by the Kansas City Sports Commission and Fontbonne University.
SPORTING KC U-16S END WEEKEND SERIES WITH WIN IN COLORADO
The Sporting KC U-16s and U-18s returned to U.S. Soccer Development Academy action last weekend with a pair of games in the Rocky Mountains. The U-16s split matches against Real Colorado and Colorado Rush, while the U-18s suffered consecutive defeats.
The U-16s, however, atoned for Saturday 2-0 loss to Real Colorado with a 3-1 win over Colorado Rush on Sunday. Max Rugova, Johnny Klein and Roman Knox all scored in the first 16 minutes as head coach Jon Parry’s team improved to 6-3-0, good for third place in the U-15/16 Frontier Division. The U-18s lost 3-0 to Real Colorado and 3-2 to the Colorado Crush, leaving Istvan Urbanyi’s team in fifth place in the U-17/18 Frontier Division at 5-4-0.
The U-16s and U-18s are off next weekend before ending the first half of the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Swope Soccer Village. The double-header against Texans SC Houston kicks off with the U-18s at 10 a.m. CT followed by the U-16s at 12:30 p.m. CT. Both matches are free and open to the public.
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.