Friday, May 27, 2011

So, That's What That Feels Like

I'm sure the feeling in the locker room after Wednesday's Open Cup shellacking of the New England Revolution was something like, "So, that's what winning feels like..." Considering it was the teams first win in a competitive game in more than a month (April 6 v. Houston in another Open Cup game), it's understandable. Chance Myers continued his good form in the reserves with a brace, CJ Sapong also scored twice and even Aurelien Collin got in on the act by opening his Sporting KC account with a late goal. Eric Kronberg kept a clean sheet behind a good defensive effort from Collin and Matt Besler (among others).

All in all, it was a good team win. Now for some photos...

Sporting KC celebrates Myers' first goal of the night

Sporting KC forward Omar Bravo

Referee Sorin Stoica shows a yellow to New England's Didier Domi

Myers and Sapong celebrate CJ's first goal of the night

That's all for now. See you soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

So Much News...

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but real life's getting in the way... It has a tendency to poke its head in where it's not wanted. So, let's get down to the news...

Sporting KC Loses... Again...
I didn't get a chance to watch the game live (I was at work all day/night) and when I did get a chance to get home and watch it, I was so tired I couldn't stay awake. Not saying anything about the quality of the commentary (which seems to keep getting better from Callum), but 9:30 in the morning to midnight will wear anybody out.

From what I've heard, the 2nd half was just as brutal as I thought it was from what little I did manage to stay awake for. As Robb Heineman said in an online chat earlier this week, "it's not panic time yet, but..." The lack of results lately obviously has to put pressure on the players and coaching staff to produce, especially with the home opener just under 3 weeks away. I would be willing to bet that the home opener will sell out, but if the team's form does not improve, attendance could take a hit.

To expand upon something Peter Vermes said during yesterday's weekly press conference, there are only four teams in MLS that have two road wins (all in the Western Conference). There are also seven teams in the league that have no road wins (five of them in the Eastern Conference). Sporting KC has a game(s) in hand on all but one of those 11 (Real Salt Lake). So, there is time to get it together, but a good start would be getting points in Seattle.

Bravo Returns (Finally)...
Mexican forward Omar Bravo will more than likely see the pitch for the first time since his red card against Chicago in the second match of the season. Vermes said Bravo went through a full week of training this week, but is not fit to play the full 90 minutes. Sporting KC will need Bravo to step up and play well, especially with the national team call-ups coming for the Gold Cup. Potential call-ups include Teal Bunbury (USA), Craig Rocastle (Grenada), Shavar Thomas (Jamaica), Stephane Auvray (Guadeloupe) and Roger Espinoza (Honduras).

Davy Arnaud (the player I refer to as the team's Energizer Bunny) is questionable for this weekend's match against Seattle. Arnaud is dealing with a neck injury that flared up on Tuesday and limited his participation in training this week. He says that he's been doing everything he can so that he can play this weekend, but Vermes did not elaborate on the chances Arnaud will see the field, simply saying it would be a game-day decision. Ryan Smith will be traveling with the team and I would think will see the field, especially if Arnaud does not or has to be subbed off.

Off The Field News & Notes...

Sporting 22 Scholarships...
Sporting KC, in an effort to improve the health of kids in the community as well as provide 22 high school students money for college, announced this program two weeks ago. The students will propose programs using soccer or related activities as a tool to improve the health of area kids. Sporting KC will provide those students with $500 to fund the program. After the program is completed, the student will get another $2,000 for college. A valedictorian for the group will receive an additional $2,000.

This is just another way that the local ownership group (key word in that phrase being "local") is trying to improve the community where they live and do business. The partnership with LIVESTRONG, while not directly involved with this particular initiative, seems to be providing some inspiration to promote a healthy lifestyle (one that can help prevent the cancer LIVESTRONG fights against).

Farm Aid Comes to LSP...
To be quite honest, before the announcement last week that Farm Aid 2011 would be held at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, I had seriously forgotten that Farm Aid concerts were still being held. I may see if I can get a press pass to shoot photos of the event (Saturday, August 13th), considering that Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and Neil Young (among others) will be there.

Taking into consideration that a portion of all stadium revenues go to the fight against cancer, the more big events scheduled at LSP, the better. Some people may complain about the fact that the game with David Beckham and the LA Galaxy, originally scheduled for that date and to be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel, had to be postponed. Having events like this can do nothing but give the public another reason to visit, and be impressed by, the facility. It can also get the seed planted in their heads that they may want to return for a game.

FIFA May Strip 2022 World Cup from Qatar...
When I saw this, I was shocked. Shocked that Sepp Blatter would actually acknowledge there may have been some shenanigans going on with the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. I remember being at the 810 Zone on the Plaza for the announcement that morning and I believe the words that came out of my mouth when Qatar was announced were, "You've got to be [bleep]-ing kidding me!" To give an event the size and magnitude of the World Cup to a country of 1.6 million people with very little soccer culture and average high temperatures in the triple digits in June and July (it is in the desert after all), made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Well, no sense if there weren't some shady dealings, that is.

The worst kept secret in soccer is that FIFA is incredibly corrupt, CONCACAF even more so. Soccer fans are used to it by now, or they should be. But the Sunday Times published allegations that two members of the Executive Committee (the group that votes on the awarding of World Cups) each received bribes of $1.5 million to vote for Qatar. This isn't the first I'd heard of allegations of bribery involving the 2022 bids, but it seems to be moving FIFA to actually investigate the allegations and Blatter would not rule out taking a re-vote for the event, which could conceivably lead to the 2022 Cup being held in the United States, the country that was perceived by most observers as the odds-on favorites to win the bid in the first place.

While I'm encouraged by the report, I won't hold my breath for FIFA to do the right thing. I don't want to die waiting.

That's it for now (at last)... See you soon (hopefully).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jones Released

Sporting KC has released defender Mike Jones from the roster. Jones, the 28th-overall pick in the 2011 MLS Supplemental draft from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, made no MLS appearances for the club. Jones scored in preseason against the Arizona Sahuaros at the 2011 Desert Cup and appeared in the Reserve League opener against the Houston Dynamo.

A native of St. Peters, MO, Jones made 60 appearances at SIUE, scoring 6 goals and notching 2 assists. As a senior, Jones helped SIUE post 7 shutouts in 19 games and was named Second Team All-Conference in the Missouri Valley.

Good luck, Mike. Here's hoping you don't come back to bite us in the butt later. ;)

That's all for now. See you soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sporting KC 2-0 RSL (Reserves)

As I tweeted earlier today, the Sporting KC reserves defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0 in Central/Mountain Conference action. Chance Myers scored twice in the first half to lead what looked like a complete team effort, especially defensively, as evidenced by the shutout. I spoke with defender Matt Besler after the game and he said the team played well as a whole. Besler wore the captain's armband for the first time and played well.

Also, as promised, here are a few pics from today's game.

RSL goalkeeper Tim Melia takes a first-half goal kick.

SKC forward CJ Sapong battles RSL midfielder Luis Gil for a ball in the first half.

Sapong and former KC player Rauwshan McKenzie prepare to go up for a ball.

SKC midfielder Craig Rocastle.

Sapong and McKenzie battle for a ball in the second half.

That's all for now. See you soon.