Sporting KC Weekly Update: June 15, 2016

SPORTING KC BEGINS OPEN CUP TITLE DEFENSE TONIGHT IN MINNESOTA
Sporting KC begins its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title defense tonight, facing Minnesota United FC (NASL) at National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota. The round of 32 matchup will kick off at 7 p.m. CT with a live stream on SportingKC.com.

Sporting KC enters the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as reigning champions of the tournament, having defeated Philadelphia Union in a penalty shootout to win the 2015 title last September. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a knockout-style competition that has been held annually since 1914 and is the third-longest running open soccer tournament in the world. Should Sporting KC defeat Minnesota United FC, the club will enter Thursday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw in which the remaining 16 teams will be placed in a set bracket for the remainder of the competition.

SPORTING KC BACK HOME SUNDAY TO HOST FC DALLAS
Following Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup match, eighth-place Sporting KC (5-8-3, 18 points) will then resume its MLS regular season campaign on Sunday, hosting second-place FC Dallas (8-4-4, 28 points) at Children’s Mercy Park. The Western Conference clash will kick off at 4 p.m. CT and a limited number of tickets, including standing-room only tickets, are available via Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL. 

ESPN and ESPN Deportes will air the match nationally with local coverage available on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340. The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show will air at the conclusion of the match on 810 WHB. The first 10,000 fans through the gates at Children's Mercy Park will receive free rally towels courtesy of match sponsor Dairy Farmers of America.

BESLER, ZUSI AND U.S. MNT ONTO COPA AMERICA QUARTERFINALS
The United States Men's National Team punched its ticket to the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Paraguay last Saturday in Philadelphia. Clint Dempsey scored the 27th-minute game-winner, goalkeeper Brad Guzan made six decisive saves and Sporting KC winger Graham Zusi played 15 minutes as a second-half substitute, ensuring Jurgen Klinsmann's side progression out of Group A alongside Colombia. (Full story)

Coupled with Colombia's 3-2 defeat to Costa Rica on Saturday, the U.S. finished atop Group A and will face Ecuador in the quarterfinals. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. CT Thursday at CenturyLink Field with live broadcasts on FS1, UniMas and Univision Deportes. Zusi and Sporting KC defender Matt Besler will be available for selection as the U.S. seeks passage to the semifinals in the prestigious international tournament.

PACHUCA AND SANTOS LAGUNA MEET TUESDAY AT CHILDREN'S MERCY PARK
Children's Mercy Park will host a friendly between storied Mexican clubs C.F. Pachuca and Santos Laguna on Tuesday in conjunction with Univision Kansas City, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City. Tickets for the match, presented by Kansas City Southern, are now on sale via Ticketmaster.com. Santos Laguna is a five-time league champion, while CF Pachuca owns six championships and won the 2016 Clausura Liga MX title last month.

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM TO VISIT CHILDREN'S MERCY PARK JULY 22
The United States Women's National Team will face Costa Rica on July 22 at Children's Mercy Park in its final match before departing for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN. Tickets for the match will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. CT Monday and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com. (Full story)

The U.S. WNT boasts a 12-0-1 record in 2016, outscoring opponents 47-4, and enters this summer as defending 2012 Olympic gold medalists and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champions. Seeking a fourth straight gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, the U.S. features FC Kansas City's Heather O'Reilly and Becky Sauerbrunn as well as veteran stars Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Hope Solo and reigning FIFA Women's Player of the Year Carli Lloyd.

RANGERS' KEVIN OLIVEIRA NAMED USL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Swope Park Rangers midfielder Kevin Oliveira was named the USL Player of the Week on Wednesday, while Mark Anthony Gonzalez was also named on the USL Team of the Week for Week 12. Oliveira becomes the youngest player to be named Player of the Week this season at 20 years old. Oliveira had one goal and three assists in the Rangers’ 4-0 victory over Rio Grande Valley FC last Wednesday, becoming the first player this season in MLS, NASL or USL to record three assists in one game. (Full story)

RANGERS BACK HOME SATURDAY TO HOST OKC ENERGY FC
The Swope Park Rangers (4-6-2, 14 points) return to Children's Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday, hosting Oklahoma City Energy FC (4-2-4, 16 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, by calling 888-4KC-GOAL or at the stadium box office on game day. The match will also be streamed live on SportingKC.com. Oklahoma City Energy FC is coached by former Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen.

SPORTING KC PLAYERS AT TURN THE PAGE KC EVENT TODAY AT SPRINT CENTER
Two Sporting KC players and two Swope Park Rangers players will appear today at KC All-Stars, a special youth event at the Sprint Center hosted by Turn the Page KC. The players will join Kansas City Mayor Sly James from 1-3 p.m. CT this afternoon to lead a day of sports-related activities that highlight why reading is important and fun.

BOULEVARDIA SET FOR FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY IN WEST BOTTOMS
Sporting KC is proud to sponsor Boulevardia from Friday through Sunday in the historic West Bottoms. General admission single-day tickets are available online at Boulevardia.com for $15 (children 12 and under are free to attend). The food, music and beer festival will feature three days of programming that includes live entertainment, arts, crafts, family carnival, Eco-Expo, breweries, food trucks and much more. Sporting KC’s Seth Sinovic, Justin Mapp, Chance Myers and Connor Hallisey will appear at the event Friday from 7-8:30 p.m. CT for autographs and photo opportunities with fans.

TWO SPORTING KC PLAYERS TO APPEAR AT FIESTA KC ON SATURDAY
Sporting KC’s Jordi Quintilla and Diego Rubio will appear at Fiesta Kansas City from 2-3:30 p.m. CT Saturday at the Crown Center Plaza (2450 Grand Blvd.) for autographs and photo opportunities with fans. Fiesta Kansas City is a Latino celebration that runs from Friday through Sunday, featuring live entertainment, delicious food, a host of vendors and more.

SPORTING KC TO HOST SPECIAL OLYMPICS EXCHANGE MATCH ON SUNDAY
Following Sunday's MLS match between Sporting KC and FC Dallas, a Special Olympics Exchange Match will be held on the Children's Mercy Park field featuring athletes from Special Olympics Kansas. Exchange Games are an initiative from MLS WORKS, the league’s Community Relations arm. Each game features Unified Teams from the local Special Olympics chapters and takes place immediately following the professional match on the field.

SWOPE PARK RANGERS CRUISE TO 4-0 WIN OVER RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC
The Swope Park Rangers cruised to a 4-0 victory over Rio Grande Valley FC at Swope Soccer Village last Wednesday. Two first-half strikes from Mark Anthony Gonzalez and a goal from Kevin Oliveira, who ended the game with one goal and three assists on his 20th birthday, put SPR into a 3-0 lead at halftime. Daniel Salloi scored 22 seconds after entering the game in the second half to seal the three points. (Full story)

RANGERS FALL 3-2 AT VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
The Swope Park Rangers followed last Wednesday's 4-0 home victory with a narrow 3-2 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday afternoon at UBC Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia. Two goals from Marco Bustos gave Whitecaps FC 2 a comfortable lead at the break before Alphonso Davies added a third in the 80th minute. The Rangers almost mounted a comeback with goals from Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Kris Tyrpak in the final five minutes, but the side’s effort came up just short. (Full story)

SINGLE-DAY TICKETS ON SALE FOR BUZZ BEACH BALL 2016
Single-day tickets are now on sale for Buzz Beach Ball 2016, Sporting Kansas City and 96.5 The Buzz announced last Friday. Buzz Beach Ball 2016 will be held July 16-17, marking the first time the show has been extended to a second day. Twenty-four artists have been confirmed for the two-day concert including alternative rock group Cage The Elephant and Grammy-award winning blues rock group Alabama Shakes. Single-day tickets start at $35, while weekend passes can be purchased for as low as $49. (Purchase tickets)

SPORTING KC ACADEMY SIDES LEARN PLAYOFF OPPONENTS
The Sporting KC Academy U-16s and U-18s learned their group stage opponents last Thursday for the 2016 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, running from June 22-26 at Toyota Park in Frisco, Texas. (Full story)

The U-16s, who clinched a playoff berth as a top-three finisher in the Central Conference’s Frontier Division, were drawn into Group G alongside Georgia United and fellow MLS sides LA Galaxy and New England Revolution. The U-18s punched their playoff ticket as a wild card team after finishing fourth in the Frontier Division. Joining them in Group H are the San Jose Earthquakes, Capital Area RailHawks (North Carolina) and Blau Weiss Gottschee (New York).

ENTER THE WESTLAKE ACE HARDWARE ALL-STAR PATIO SWEEPSTAKES
Sporting KC is teaming up with Westlake Ace Hardware in June for the All-Star Patio Sweepstakes. One entrant will win Sporting KC merchandise, tickets to an upcoming match and a variety of patio essentials. Fans can enter the sweepstakes and learn more at SportingKC.com/westlakepatio.

SPORTING KC FANS CAN ENTER TO WIN A FREE TRIP TO PORTLAND
Fans can visit amfam.com/sportingkc to enter the sweepstakes for a free, all-inclusive trip to see Sporting KC play at the Portland Timbers on Aug. 7. The winner will receive airfare for four, Sporting KC gear, four game tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Portland Timbers match, a $1,000 bank card, and two hotel rooms for two nights in close proximity to Providence Park. (Register here)

NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR BLUE KC SPORTING SAMARITANS
Sporting KC and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City have teamed up this season to recognize Blue KC Sporting Samaritans, honoring individuals who make the Kansas City community a better place to live. Once a month, a Samaritan will be recognized on the pitch at Children's Mercy Park before a Sporting KC home game. Supporters can nominate members of their community to be the next Blue KC Sporting Samaritan by sharing their first-person experience with the nominee at SportingKC.com/bluekc.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC
For news, photographs and instant updates throughout the 2016 season, follow Sporting KC on its TwitterInstagramFacebook and Snapchat (sportingkc) accounts and visit the club's social media page.

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