A few years ago the Kansas City Wizards were treating the U.S. Open Cup as a time for reserve players to gain experience. With the new name, logo, stadium, fans, and management came new expectations: win trophies. Sporting Kansas City has not won a major tournament since 2004 when they beat the Chicago Fire in extra time to win the U.S. Open Cup. After last seasons disappointing end, losing to the Houston Dynamo is the MLS Cup Semifinals, Sporting is determined to give the fans something to cheer about.
Tonight Sporting matches up against the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals at 6:30 CT. The game will be a tremendous test for Sporting as they are looking to revenge their 4-0 loss to the Union in late June. The game will be streamed live on the official YouTube channel of Sporting Kansas City and will be broadcasted live on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Sporting Kansas City faces a must win game. After starting the season 7-0-0 the team’s energy and effectiveness has dwindled in recent games. Fans have been supporting the boys in baby blue well this season and deserve some compensation for their efforts. A win tonight and U.S. Open Cup final at LIVESTRONG Park on August 7th or 8th could revitalize the team and fans as Sporting heads in to post season play.
The lineup for Sporting is uncertain right now as this will be their 3rd game this week, and they face a tough conference opponent in the Columbus Crew on the road in just 3 days. Which ever players Coach Peter Vermis decides to start today better come to play. The Union are hot right now with 4 wins in their last 5 games, largely because of a potent offensive attack from Gabriel Gomez, Lionard Pajoy, and Freddy Adu. The three have combined for 11 goals this season and are thirsty for more tonight. With that being said, the Union’s defense, which has allowed 27 goals this season, should open up holes tonight for Sporting’s athletic forwards to exploit.
Prediction: Peter Vermis starts a practical lineup of Jimmy Nielsen©; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, and Jacob Peterson. The team keeps their shape well, exploits Phildelphia Union’s defense with Kamara and Sapong, and wins 2-1.
Here are some fast facts about Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. Open Cup
- Sporting Kansas City is currently in first place of the Eastern Conference with a record of 10-5-3 (33 points)
- Sporting Kansas City has reached the semifinal stage of the tournament with victories over Orlando City SC (USL PRO), Colorado Rapids (MLS) and Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO)
- Tonight is Sporting’s first U.S. Open Cup game on the road this tournament
- Sporting Kansas City makes their third all-time appearance in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup and first since 2004
- The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest annual team tournament in American sports
- This years Open Cup is the 99th edition of the tournament
- The U.S. Open Cup is named after the club’s original founder Lamar Hunt
- After five rounds of single-elimination competition, Sporting Kansas City is one of four MLS teams remaining from the field of 64.
- Should Sporting KC advance to the Lamar Hunt. U.S. Open Cup Final, the club will host the semifinal winner between Chivas USA and Seattle Sounders FC on August 7 or 8 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
In what was the shock of the weekend, Sporting KC lost 2-0 at Livestrong Sporting Park to the Montreal Impact, the MLS’s newest expansion team. This result capitulates how long, difficult, and arduous the MLS season is, and for SKC, a rebound from this shock is all but necessary to keep their slim lead over DC United.
Felipe Martins opened the scoring in the first half after he hit a screamer from almost 40 yards out, and although the shot swerved, Jimmy Nielsen should be disappointed that he did not save it.
Patrice Bernier’s 63rd-minute spot kick dispatched his PK after Aurelien Collin unfairly tackled Lamar Neagle in the box. Sporting now has not scored in nearly 205 minutes or since their 3-1 rout of Vancouver.
Sporting (7-2-0) had its second straight shutout loss after starting 7-0 and gave up more than one goal in a game for the first time this season. Montreal (3-5-2) won consecutive games for the first time and they now have not lost in three games. Donovan Ricketts claimed the shutout which caps a great away win at SKC. Hopefully, for Sporting’s sake, the team can figure out what is wrong and can fix it as soon as possible.
With their 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sporting KC moved to 7-0-0 on the season, the third best start to a season in MLS history. Aurelien Collin’s 24th-minute opener was followed by a Martin Bonjour own goal and Kei Kamara’s strike after half time ensured a seventh straight win to start the season. SKC also gave up only their 2nd goal of the season to a rather contentious Sebastien Le Toux goal, as it appeared to some that the Frenchman was offside. Responding to whether this start was weighing on the team and making intangible expectations for them, manager Peter Vermees responded maturely.
“This streak really doesn’t weigh on us,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “All the other things sound good for the fluff but we’re not about the fluff. It’s just about us trying to go out and get results.”
This great start can be attributed to many things like not conceding many goals or just having a stellar lineup, but for Vermees, he attributes the successful start to the solidarity of the core players and their commitment to the club.
“They’ve been here a long time and they get it,” he said. “They’ve bought into what we want to do and they live for the club.”
He is right indeed, Sporting has constantly started the same lineup or close to it every game. The back has stayed the same with Nielsen in goal and Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Collin, and Chance Myers anchoring the defense. The midfield has stayed consistent with Julio Cesar or Paulo Nagamura holding and Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi pushing on and assisting the front three of new boy Bobby Convey, CJ Sapong, and Kei Kamara. When you look at this lineup, you see players that have been at SKC together for a few years now, and the only notable absentee being Teal Bunbury, but with Sapong’s impressive form he is not being missed.
All in all, fans of SKC from Kansas City and all over can bask in this 7-0 perfection for however long it continues, but as Sporting found out last year, it’s not how you start it’s how you finish. If you have not gone out to a game this season, it is a must. The atmosphere is great and the team is better. This team bonds extremely well together which makes the games even more exciting.
As a loyal Arsenal fan, a team notorious for sitting on their laurels come transfer time (a tendency that has finally come back to bite them, as they sit just out of the top 4, and will need to fight to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in years), nothing warms my heart like seeing a team go after young talent and experienced veterans to improve their chances for the upcoming season. Sporting Kansas City has been keeping my heart nice and cozy all offseason.
The good news is, Sporting is widely seen as a team that has no pressing needs in order to improve the team after a monumental season that came with a new name, a new stadium, and a deep run into the post season.
Nonetheless, Peter Vermes and his team have been hard at work over at 1 Sporting Way, to keep the fans happy, and to do as best he can to keep Sporting in contention next year, and for years to come. Here’s just a few of the more important off-season moves from the people at Livestrong.
Sporting’s pick in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft was Englishman Dom Dwyer, an attacker out of the University of South Florida. First, some stats: 16 goals and 2 assists in 21 matches, Big East Offensive Player of the Year, leading goal scorer in the Big East conference, and a member of the NSCAA’s All-American Second team.
Previous to his time at South Florida, Dwyer played at Tyler Junior College, where he scored 52 goals in 2 seasons, and won back-to-back Junior College National Championships. The man is a goal-scoring monster, but I don’t see him starting anytime soon. As I said earlier, Sporting is a team with very few pressing needs, and the front line is the least of Vermes’ problems, with the so-called “#StrikeForce” (as they like to call themselves), consisting of C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury, and Kei Kamara, all three of whom play at the international level. As an added bonus, Dwyer is a Generation Adidas player, meaning he doesn’t get counted against Sporting’s salary budget, which, says Vermes, “doesn’t put a lot of pressure on him to have an impact right away, and it keeps him off-budget for us.” With the loss of Omar Bravo, however, Sporting gains a solid forward presence off the bench in Dwyer, and more importantly, an attacker who can grow into a starting player over time.
One of Sporting’s main weaknesses this past season, especially early on, lay in its defense. This was the inspiration behind Sporting’s second MLS SuperDraft pick, central defender Cyprian Hedrick. Coming out of Coastal Carolina University, Hedrick was primarily picked, according to Vermes, as “someone we can develop.” Again, since Sporting has few holes to fill, the coaching staff and Vermes looked mainly for raw, talented players like Hedrick, who received All Big South First Team honors, and Big South player of the year. Hedrick gives Sporting room to breathe on the injury front and keeps us in good shape for the future with the back line.
Sinovic, a native of Leawood, KS, and a former Rockhurst Hawklet, played a tremendous role in Sporting’s amazing season last year. As a wing defender, Sinovic was a rock (no pun intended) both on Sporting’s back line and as an attacking winger. Sporting left Sinovic open in the MLS Expansion Draft, where he was picked up by the Montreal Impact, much to the dismay of many of Sporting’s fans, with whom Sinovic is a favorite. Five days later, however, Sinovic was back on his way to KC in exchange for Davy Arnaud. By retaining Sinovic, Vermes essentially keeps his entire back line, with a full season of experience together, intact, and important move to keep our defense strong.
In addition to these three, Sporting holds on to Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury, and C.J. Sapong, who are all three currently featuring for the USMNT (with Zusi providing the game-winning goal in the team’s third straight win over Panama). Chance Meyers, the White Puma (Jimmy Nielsen), and Aurelien Collin also return to provide solid defense. The future looks bright at Sporting Park, and look for me in the front row of the Cauldron this upcoming season. #IBelieve.
Sporting Kansas City Super Draft
For the third year in a row, Sporting Kansas City drafted a forward in the first round. Dom Dwyer, the Englishman, is a Generation adidas player and is thought to be one of the best forwards in this year’s draft. Dwyer has drawn comparisons to C.J. Sapong, last years draft pick. He only played one season with South Florida, but he was a two time All-American at the junior college level. Dwyer is a mix of speed and strength. Furthermore, he displayed quality finishing skills by scoring 16 goals in 21 games at South Florida. With a 4-3-3 system, Sporting can never have too many forwards. While they did not address the need in defense in the first round, Cyprian Hendrick was drafted in the second round. Hendrick was a center back for Coastal Carolina, where he was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year. By drafting Dwyer, Sporting KC filled the final remaining international roster spot for the upcoming season.
Kansas City Royals
On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals had their annual Awards Luncheon. Although, last year was not a great year, the luncheon brought light to the positives. The awards ranged from minor league players to the organizational personnel awards. Here is a list of what awards each player won.
- Alex Gordon won the Les Milgram player of the year award.
- Bruce Chen won the Pitcher of the year.
- Eric Hosmer notched the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award.
- Louis Lakey won the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award (an outstanding member of the community).
- Eric Edelstein snatched the Matt Minker Award (an outstanding Minor League affiliate employee).
- Orlando Estevez won the Art Stewart Scout of the Year.
- Tim Melville won the Mike Sweeney Award for the player who best represents the organization.
- Anthony Seratelli won the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Award.
- Mike Jirschele won the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year.
- Lorenzo Cain, the center fielder for next year, won the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year.
- Kelvin Herrera won the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year Award.
- Johny Giavatella won the George Brett Hitter of the Year.
Campo gets complete control of Jayhawk’s D
The Kansas Jayhawks and Charlie Weis have added Veteran NFL and college coach Dave Campo less than a week after he left the Dallas Cowboys. Campo will also be in charge of coaching the Kansas defensive backs. Campo is most known for his time as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys (2000-02), he spent the past four seasons coaching the secondary in Dallas. Although the Cowboy’s secondary has been less than impressive this year, Campo has a resume that suggests he can have great success. He was also once a defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. In addition to the Browns and Cowboys, Compo worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Campo spent the first 18 years of his coaching career at the college level, including two years under Jimmy Johnson at Miami where he won the national championship in 1987. He later followed Johnson to Dallas, where they teamed up to win six division titles and three Super Bowls.
As everyone knows, the Kansas Jayhawks were just 2-10 last season and 5-19 in the short Turner Gill era. Gill was fired after the season and replaced by Charlie Weis, who has had his fair share of success in the NFL.Weis made it clear during his introductory news conference that running backs coach, Reggie Mitchell, would have a job on his staff. He also kept Buddy Wyatt as defensive line coach. Charlie has remained solid to this decision. Weis has not wasted his time recruiting and hand picking his other assistant coaches. Ron Powlus, who served as his director of player development and later quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame. Powlus will be at the same position for Kansas.