Krisztian Nemeth vs. Norway

Sporting KC Weekly Update: Nov. 18, 2015

KRISZTIAN NEMETH HELPS HUNGARY QUALIFY FOR EURO 2016

Sporting KC forward Krisztian Nemeth played 15 minutes on Sunday in his 23rd career international appearance as Hungary secured a berth at UEFA Euro 2016 with a 2-1 victory over Norway. The men's national team, last on such a significant stage during the 1986 FIFA World Cup, will now compete at their first European championship since 1972 after advancing 3-1 on aggregate in the home-and-away playoff.

The two-legged series capped off a campaign in which Nemeth featured in each of his country's last seven Euro 2016 qualifiers. He scored twice against Greece last month and played the full 90 minutes on Thursday in the playoff's opening fixture as Hungary beat Norway for the first time since 1981.

Euro 2016 will be held in France from June 10 though July 10 with 24 teams playing for the Henri Delaunay Trophy and UEFA's entry into the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. An official draw will take place in Paris on Dec. 12 to determine the group pairings for next summer's competition, which will be shown live in the United States on the ESPN family of networks.

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).

MATT BESLER STARTS TWICE AS U.S. KICKS OFF WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

Sporting KC defender Matt Besler earned his 28th and 29th caps for the United States Men's National Team this week. Besler played the entirety of both matches as the U.S. kicked off the fourth round of CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying tournament with a 6-1 over St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday before drawing Trinidad and Tobago 0-0 on Tuesday.

The United States and Trinidad are now tied atop Group C with four points a piece, but the Americans have the edge with a plus-5 goal differential through two matches. The U.S. MNT’s road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia resumes with a pair of matches against Guatemala on March 25 and 29.

The U.S. will play St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and El Salvador home and away over the course of the next 10 months. The top two finishers from each of the three semifinal groups will move on to the fifth and final round of qualifying, which is nicknamed “The Hexagonal” — often abbreviated to “The Hex” — after the six teams remaining in the competition.

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.

MARCEL DE JONG STARTS TWICE FOR CANADA IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Sporting KC defender Marcel de Jong helped Canada secure two clean sheets this week in the fourth round of CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying tournament. He played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 home win over Honduras on Friday and a scoreless draw at El Salvador on Tuesday.

De Jong has been a mainstay for Canada in 2015, earning 10 caps and helping the Reds defeat Belize 4-1 on aggregate in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying in September. He 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. Canada has posted shutouts in seven of his 10 appearances this year.

De Jong, 29, has earned 41 caps 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. 

SONI MUSTIVAR FEATURES TWICE FOR HAITI IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Sporting KC midfielder Soni Mustivar earned his seventh and eighth caps for Haiti’s Men’s National Team this week in the fourth round of CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying tournament. He entered as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 loss at Costa Rica on Friday and starting in a 1-0 home defeat to Jamaica on Tuesday. Mustivar last played for Haiti at the 2014 CFU Caribbean Cup last November to help his country qualify for this year's CONCACAF Gold 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. He 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.

JON KEMPIN FEATURES IN U.S. U-23 FRIENDLY AGAINST TO BRAZIL

Sporting KC goalkeeper Jon Kempin played 45 minutes last Wednesday for the U.S. U-23s in a 2-1 loss to Brazil. The match was one of two friendlies against Brazil as the U.S. prepares for their two-legged Olympic playoff series against Colombia next March. Kempin was one of eight Major League Soccer players to feature for the United States on Wednesday at Ilha do Retiro Stadium in Recife.

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 and made his postseason debut on Oct. 29 against the Portland Timbers, replacing an injured Tim Melia in the 85th minute. 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.

THREE SPORTING KC PLAYERS UP FOR MLS GOAL OF THE YEAR

Sixteen strikes remain in contention for the 2015 AT&T Goal of the Year award, including three from Sporting Kansas City players. Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth and Dom Dwyer comprise three of the four goals remaining in the Midwest region of the knockout-style bracket. Round of 16 voting is now open and lasts through Thursday, Nov. 19.

The 2015 Goal of the Year winner will be announced on Dec. 3. Sporting Kansas City 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.

MLS ANNOUNCES KEY 2015-16 OFFSEASON DATES

Major League Soccer released a 2015-16 Offseason Calendar on Thursday, outlining upcoming offseason events and timetables.

Monday, Dec. 7 List of all players eligible for Free Agency and Re-Entry Draft made public
Tuesday, Dec. 8 Starting at noon CT, Free Agents may engage in negotiations with MLS clubs outside of their previous club
List of eligible players for the Waiver Draft made public
Wednesday, Dec. 9 Waiver Draft at 3:30 p.m. CT
Thursday, Dec. 10 Starting at 4 p.m. CT, clubs may no longer sign or trade their own Re-Entry eligible players
Friday, Dec. 11 Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft at 2 p.m. CT
Wednesday, Dec. 16 Starting at 10 a.m. CT, clubs may no longer sign or trade their own Re-Entry eligible players
Thursday, Dec. 17 Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft at 2 p.m. CT
Jan. 7-12, 2016 2016 adidas MLS Player Combine
Jan. 14, 2016 2016 MLS SuperDraft
Jan. 22, 2016 2016 MLS preseason begins

Visit SportingKC.com for more information on the 2015-16 offseason dates.

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. Registration ($250 per team) is open 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

The NCAA announced on Monday the 48 teams that will compete for the right to play in the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s College Cup at Sporting Park in December. The semifinal rounds will take place on Dec. 11 with the championship match on Dec. 13. Tickets for the College Cup are on sale via Ticketmaster.com and fans can also purchase passes for access to the Boulevard Members Club or Ameritas Shield Club.

Twelve Sporting KC Academy products represent nine of the teams competing in this year’s tournament. Cole Stevenson and the University of Denver earned the No. 13 seed after finishing the year as the only undefeated program in Division I Men’s Soccer and winning both The Summit League regular season title and conference tournament. Eric DeJulio and the Creighton University Blue Jays are the No. 12 seed after finishing the year 17-3-0.

SKC Academy players in Tournament
Ohio State: Jack Freeman
Notre Dame: Ryan Krutz
Dayton: Andrew Lightner
Drake: Nic Jaimes, Mason Leonard, Andrew Blalock
Creighton: Eric DeJulio, Bryce Gibson
Denver: Cole Stevenson
Cal Poly: Austin Wilcox
UC Santa Barbara: Seo-In Kim
North Carolina: Zach Wright

TICKETS ON SALE FOR NCAA D-II FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AT SPORTING PARK

On Sunday, the NCAA Division II Football Championship bracket was unveiled with 28 teams set to compete for a berth in the final at Sporting Park on Dec. 19. Tickets for the national championship game are on sale via Ticketmaster.com and fans can also purchase passes for access to the Boulevard Members Club or Ameritas Shield Club.

2015 NCAA Division II Football Championship
Nov. 21: First Round
Nov. 28: Second Round
Dec. 5: Quarterfinals
Dec. 12: Semifinals
Dec. 19: Championship at Sporting Park

The top overall seed in each of the four regions receives a bye in the opening round, which features 12 games on Saturday, Nov. 21. The single-elimination competition continues on campuses across the country leading up to the national championship in Kansas City, Kansas at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 19.

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. The NCAA has 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 ACADEMY IN ACTION SATURDAY AT SWOPE SOCCER VILLAGE

The Sporting KC U-16s and U-18s end the first half of the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign on Saturday 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 @SKCAcademy on Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout the season.

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.

Topics: