Brandon Wolak (@Baron_von_KC), KC SportsNation
The confetti has barely settled from December 7, 2013 when Sporting Kansas City hoisted the MLS Cup after defeating Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks. Real Salt Lake’s Lovel Palmer sent his try into the crossbar and history was made.
The two teams will meet at Sporting Park at 7:30 tonight for the first time since that frigid December night. The rematch from last year’s championship game should not lack in drama. A lot has happened in the few months since the clubs last met. Heck, a lot has happened in the last few weeks and days.
Let’s start with Sporting (2-1-1)
The team enters on a bit of a roll. Dom Dwyer’s emphatic game-winning stoppage time golazo against the Colorado Rapids was a real thing of beauty. If you haven’t seen the goal, please do. I’m pretty sure Dwyer needed to register his left foot as a lethal weapon after the match. Sporting showed real moxie coming from behind after conceding two penalty kicks to Colorado, and the team is currently in the midst of a two game winning streak.
Sporting has also been busy with a few key personnel moves. Defenders Josh Gardner and Mechack Jerome were both waived recently, making way for midfielders Victor Munoz and Antonio (Toni) Dovale.
The 23-year-old Munoz played collegiately for three seasons at UCLA before being drafted by D.C. United in the second round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Before playing at UCLA, Munoz played in the Real Madrid academy.
Toni also spent time in the Spanish youth system. As a professional, he most recently played for Celta de Vigo, helping the club earn promotion to LigaBBVA.
Both midfielders should help to bolster an already solid midfield featuring Uri Rosell, Benny Feilhaber, and Graham Zusi. Peter Vermes has hinted that more signings are on the way.
Goalkeeper Jon Kempin was also recalled from loan from USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC to backup Eric Kronberg as regular backup Andy Gruenebaum recovers from an ankle injury.