Catching Up with Sporting KC

Cauldron 20 year celebration

Over the past couple of weeks Sporting has taken a hit in the standings. After an unexpected victory in New York on April 9, the team had two games the following week. First, at home versus the inferior Colorado Rapids the home team fell behind early only to later equalize before giving up a late goal to seal the loss in the 20th anniversary game. Four days later in Dallas, the team took an early lead then again gave up two goals for the loss. Those results have left SKC in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference race. While it is early in the season it is important to accumulate points throughout, especially in home games against teams you're better than. On Wednesday April 13, the team celebrated their 20th year as a franchise with a rare mid-week match - “Retro Night" - played 20 years to the day of the first ever match, one which the Wiz won 3-0 against the same Colorado Rapids. Recalling the early days of the Kansas City “Wiz," Sporting’s merchandizing team created a [Read more...]

RECAP: Sporting KC falls to Real Salt Lake

The view from the top of The Cauldron prior to kickoff Saturday night.

Roster depth was tested as Matt Besler and Roger Espinoza, two players highlighted as important to Sporting's success, were both missing from the lineup as Sporting squared off against Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake on Saturday Night. They failed the test, losing 2-1 in front of a packed house. Besler was injured last week while training with the U.S. National Team when a ball was cleared by a teammate and struck him in the head, causing a concussion. Espinoza, the ball-hawking midfielder, was sent off for a red card tackle in the past game. In the past few seasons, Sporting has rarely had to manage without Besler at the center of defense, and ultimately it showed. Salt Lake had issues of their own coming into the contest. An uncharacteristic meltdown against Portland in their previous game left their central midfield bulldog Kyle Beckerman and starting center back Jamison Olave unavailable due to red cards. They amazingly also were missing six other players including [Read more...]

If You’re new to Soccer, here’s the Need to Know Basics

KC defender Matt Besler Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With the introductions out of the way, and all the pent up excitement you have to read about soccer, let’s get you informed about the team. It has been some time since KCSportsNation has written about soccer or Sporting, so let’s get up to speed on the state of the club. If you are from Kansas City, you live in a part of the country that within soccer circles is becoming a destination. Fans travel from other cities specifically to see the stadium and team. Players looking for a new club rave about the stadium, training facilities, locker rooms and ownership. The US National Team loves the city and the rabid support that they are given when they play important games in Kansas City. In fact it was just announced this week that Kansas City will host a US Men’s National Team game on Saturday May, 28 against Bolivia. Hosting national team games is becoming an annual tradition for Kansas City, yet for many cities it can be a rare occurrence. We should be proud of this honor as a [Read more...]

Soccer IS a Thing

The Power of the Plains

This site was introduced to me recently by a friend, and I was asked if I would like to contribute with my views and experience as a soccer fan. STOP, don’t leave! The selling point was that “you know more about soccer than anyone I know”, so I have that going for me. I live, breath, bleed and die Kansas City sports. My first sports memory is watching Game 7 in 1985 with my dad. I had Chiefs season tickets for over 25 years and still attend most of the games each year. I was there for Lin Elliot, Tony G’s touchdown catch that wasn’t, the “no punt” game and every other heartbreaking ending the Chiefs has put us through. I watch nearly every Royals game and was lucky enough to go to many playoff games over the past two years. I also have had Wizards and now Sporting season tickets since the team began playing in 1996. I was an early member and president of the supports group named the Cauldron that many of you may have heard of, and am an avid US Men’s National Team fan. Oh, and I play [Read more...]

Soccer Weekly with Brandon Wolak: MERICA Advances to Round of 16; Sporting Back in Action

Brandon Wolak, KC SportsNation As the entire human population watches the World Cup, one thing is becoming obvious: the United States belongs on this greatest stage in sport. Soccer matters in this country. In order to get to the knock out stages of the tournament, the United States needed to finish first or second in what many analysts considered the most challenging group: Ghana, Portugal, and Germany. Defeating Ghana in the first match of group play was a revelation. When Clint Dempsey scored in the opening minute, one member of our watch party (a new fan to the sport) remarked, “Is soccer always this exciting?” It was hard for me to think of an immediate answer; this is the game I love after all. The best I could come up with—after settling down from all of the screaming and high-fiving from Dempsey’s mammoth goal—was a smile and, “It depends.” As the first match continued to unfold, André Ayew leveled the score at 1-1 in the 82’. At that point, it looked like Ghana were in [Read more...]

Soccer Weekly with Brandon Wolak: Sporting Winless in Last Five; Team USA Prepares for Brazil

Brandon Wolak, KC SportsNation What is it with May and Kansas City sports? Between the Royals and Sporting Kansas City, this is a dreadful month; I will leave the haranguing about the Royals to Brian, though. Sporting’s schedule has been difficult as of late. Four games in two weeks (with a lineup decimated by World Cup call-ups and injuries) is a tall order. Sporting are now 5-5-4 after drawing with New York Red Bulls 1-1 and falling to Handball United 1-0. Luckily, the Eastern Conference has been kind to Sporting – they remain in third place (behind New England and Handball United). Unfortunately, both teams ahead of Sporting have a game in hand. After being inundated with SKC the last two weeks, a clear trend is beginning to emerge: Sporting dominates the match yet loses points because of mental lapses, breakdowns in form, and silly mistakes. The first half against the New York Red Bulls is a prime example. Sporting looked like freakin’ Bayern Munich in the first half, yet [Read more...]

Soccer Weekly with Brandon Wolak: Crazy Season Begins

On Friday night, Sporting Kansas City (5-4-3) drew 2-2 against Toronto FC in one of the more entertaining fixtures of the season. League-leading goal poacher Dom Dwyer netted another brace, but it wasn’t enough to earn three points as Toronto scored two short-handed goals in the second half. Dwyer commented after the match, “It wasn't meant to be tonight, that was the only frustration but again it was a good performance and I thought the guys in the back did a fantastic job. We don't have one natural center back playing out there and no one looked a step out of place, so credit to them." Ah yes, about that backline situation… Just when things couldn’t get much worse for Sporting Kansas City’s defense, Toronto’s Jermain Defoe takes out Chance Myers for the rest of the season. If you are scoring at home, that means that Sporting are currently without defenders Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, and now Chance Myers. Despite what my buddy Miles thinks, Myers is not faking an [Read more...]

Zusi and Besler to represent USA

Brandon Wolak, KC SportsNation The Sporting lost 2-1 to the lowly Philadelphia Union in one of the most uninspired matches I’ve ever witnessed at Sporting Park on Wednesday. The highs and lows of the season are starting to take its toll. Things might just get worse before they get better. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler are heading off for US Men’s team duty. Under the very best of circumstances for Sporting, the dynamic duo will return after the June 26 match against Germany (meaning that the US flamed-out during the group stage). But this could even end badly for the Sporting. Under the very worst of circumstances for Sporting, Zusi and Besler play so well in Brazil that they are snatched up by a European club after the World Cup. It’s great for them to represent ‘Merica, but not having Besler and Zusi will hurt the Sporting. Without Zusi anchoring the defense could be disastrous for Sporting, especially since Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, and Erik Palmer-Brown are all shelved with [Read more...]

Sporting KC back on top in the East

Brandon Wolak, KC SportsNation All seems so right in the world of Sporting Kansas City (4-2-2) after this weekend: ring ceremony, beautiful weather, goals by Jacob Peterson and Claudio Bieler, Eric Kronberg playing out of his mind between the posts, a 2-0 win against a really good Columbus Crew side, an unbeaten record at home, and first place in the East. Life is good. The big take away from Sunday, for me at least, is the redemption of the three aforementioned players (Peterson, Bieler, and Kronberg). I am a big fan of Jacob Peterson. Dude is rock solid box-to-box, and his Charlie-hustle mentality fits perfectly into the style of soccer that Peter Vermes champions. The big knock against Peterson always seems to be that he isn’t a goal poacher. Fair enough. What he lacks in goal scoring prowess he more than makes up for in defense. I lost track of the number of times that Peterson forced a Crew player to make a bad pass or errant touch. Dare I say that he is proving to be a poor [Read more...]

Sporting down Impact 4-0

Brandon Wolak, KC SportsNation When it rains it pours. Since the rebrand, Sporting Kansas City have scored four goals in a game only three times in MLS play. On Saturday, Dom Dwyer and Aurelien Collin made it four times – scoring two goals each. Sporting (3-1-2) defeated the Montreal Impact (0-4-3) 4-0 in front of another sold out crowd at Sporting Park – the 40th consecutive - and it felt downright historical and magical. Scoring got underway in the 31st minute after Matt Besler rifled a throw into the box, which eventually ricocheted off of Callum Mallace for an own goal. Aurelien Collin was initially credited for the score, but after seeing several reviews, it was clear that Mallace had the definitive touch. Montreal is a bad team right now, and this goal is an apt metaphor for the club’s current state of affairs. Collin was not to be denied on the night though. He notched a goal (Lawrence Olum with [Read more...]