Archive for August 2014

Sporting KC’s eight-game unbeaten run ends with 2-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 2-0 loss at Vancouver on Sunday, snapping an eight-game unbeaten run and five-game road winning streak for the reigning MLS Cup champions.

The Whitecaps struck twice in the first half, first on an own goal in the 17th minute and again via Darren Mattocks in the 39th minute.

Despite the defeat, Sporting KC remains in first place in the Eastern Conference, amid a three-way tie in the Supporters’ Shield race with 11 games remaining in the regular season.

The home side threatened early and often in the opening 45 minutes at BC Place. Mattocks did well to turn and unleash a shot in the fourth minute but Aurelien Collin was up to the task to deflect the attempt over the endline.

Sporting Kansas City responded on the opposite end in the 10th minute. Benny Feilhaber, the reigning MLS Player of the Month, whipped his shot toward the far post from 25 yards only to see it curl narrowly wide.

Gruenebaum made his first of three first half saves in the 13th minute, racing off his line and getting his hands to a first-time shot from Erik Hurtado. Gruenebaum injured his right shoulder on the play and would play through the half before exiting at halftime.

The Whitecaps pressure paid off with the game’s opening goal in the 17th minute when an entry ball from Morales led to an own goal by right back Igor Juliao. The Brazilian directed his header back toward net for the goalkeeper to collect, however Gruenebaum had come off his line and was unable to recover.

Vancouver’s attack made the most of the momentum and would have doubled the lead if not for saves from Gruenebaum in back-to-back minutes. Mattocks’ left-footed shot from 15 yards away was smothered in the 30th minute and Morales’ free kick was turned away superbly one minute later at the near post.

The scoreline went to 2-0 in the 39th minute as Mattocks scored his sixth goal of the season and fourth in the past five games. Morales led the counter — en route to earning his ninth assist of the year, second most in MLS — and found Mattocks in the 2-v-1 situation for his 16th career goal.

Sporting Kansas City entered halftime down by two goals for just the second time this season and needed a goal-line clearance from Aurelien Collin in first half stoppage time to prevent the team from trailing by three.

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin started the second half in net for his MLS debut, becoming the 30th different player to appear in an MLS match for Sporting Kansas City in 2014 (most among all teams).

After going without a shot on goal in the first half, Sporting Kansas City tested Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted in the opening minute of the second half. Jacob Peterson hit a well-struck effort on target but straight into the arms of Ousted.

In the 64th minute, Graham Zusi’s corner kick connected with Aurelien Collin at the top of the six-yard box but the Frenchman was falling away from goal and his header carried inches over the crossbar. The Whitecaps took their turn to threaten on a corner six minutes later as Johnny Leveron’s header was goalbound until headed off the line by Feilhaber.

The Sporting KC playmaker made his presence felt on both sides of the ball, bravely getting on the end of a cross from Graham Zusi three minutes later. Ousted reacted alertly, shuffling to his left to hold onto the header.

A stronger second half showing from Sporting Kansas City defensively meant only one save was required from Kempin but it would prove to be a memorable first MLS stop for the Leawood, Kan., native — who was named the MVP of the 2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game on Monday. The 21-year-old goalkeeper dove strongly to his right to push a Mattocks penalty kick into the post after referee David Gantar awarded the PK in the 84th minute.

The visitors came close to salvaging a consolation goal in the game’s closing minutes, however, were twice turned away in stoppage time as Vancouver earned its first win in over a month and remained unbeaten against Eastern Conference opponents (4-0-5). Feilhaber’s initial shot from the top of the area was blocked by Leveron, who then deflected the follow-up attempt from C.J. Sapong to preserve the shutout.

Sporting Kansas City returns home to play host to three straight MLS matches beginning with Toronto FC at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. A limited number of tickets are available for the match and can be purchased online at
– Story from Sporting KC


Lemurs take two from T-Bones

Laredo, Texas – After taking a suspended game from Kansas City earlier in the evening, the Laredo Lemurs completed a Saturday sweep over the T-Bones with a 13-5 win in the nightcap at Uni-Trade Stadium.

With Kansas City leading 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Laredo took advantage of a walk, an error and a three-run home run by Travis Denker off Kansas City starter Andy Noga (2-4), and never looked back. Laredo broke the game open with a seven-run eighth inning, with all runs charged to Kansas City relief pitcher Hamilton Bennett.

The game started with a bang, as the T-Bones struck for two runs in the top of the first, getting hits from T.J. Mittelstaedt, Danny Richar and Matt Padgett that gave Kansas City an early 2-0 lead. Mittelstaedt, Richar, Padgett and Ray Sadler each ended the game with two hits. Bryan Sabatella led the way with three of Kansas City’s 12 hits.

The Lemurs got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by former T-Bones infielder Devin Goodwin, who had two hits, two RBIs and scored two runs. The Lemurs would tie the game in the fourth on an RBI double from JP Ramirez against Noga.

Kansas City took its last lead of the night in the next frame, when Padgett’s sacrifice fly scored Richar and gave the T-Bones a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth.

Earlier Saturday, in the conclusion of Friday night’s game, which was suspended shortly after midnight because of the American Association’s curfew rule in a 9-9 tie after 10 innings, the Lemurs scored the winning run on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Nick Van Stratten, who finished the game with five hits and three RBIs.

Kansas City closer Kris Regas (6-2), who failed to hold the lead Friday night by giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth, gave up the winning run in the 10th on Saturday. During the game, Padgett homered for the 200th time in his career, and for the first time this year with Kansas City.

With the two losses, for the second time this season Kansas City has dropped four in a row and, at 36-41, is five games below .500 for the first time this year. The T-Bones and Lemurs (44-32) are scheduled to play game three of the four-game series Sunday night at 7:30. That game can be heard on 1660-AM in Kansas City or online at

Box score from Friday:

Box score from Saturday:

– Story from T-Bones


Lawsuit will continue to try to fill 1st District, at-large seat

Human rights activist Alvin Sykes said that the lawsuit asking the Unified Government to fill a vacant 1st District at-large seat will continue, despite the failure of a vote taken Aug. 7 on reopening the process.

Sykes said the effort to fill the seat is picking up steam. The seat has been vacant for more than a year.

During the Aug. 7 meeting, Mayor Mark Holland said, in his view, this would be the last opportunity to address the issue before it goes to the voters at the polls next spring.

Now that the commission has not voted to move the process forward, state Sen. David Haley will be calling a community meeting of area state legislators, commissioners and others on the issue, Sykes said.

A case has been filed by a 1st District at-large resident, Carolyn Wyatt, asking a court to order the UG to fill the position. Recently, Wyatt asked for summary judgment.

On Aug. 7, the vote was 5-4 in favor of reopening the voting and leaving out the top two vote-getters, but six votes were needed for it to pass. While UG officials said that the vote last week was a good-faith effort to fill the seat, the statement that this would be the last vote drew a reaction from Sykes.

“It’s now crystal clear they have no intention of filling the seat,” Sykes said.

Sykes said that “quality justice” in this case would mean that a coin toss is used to select one of the two finalists, Don Budd Jr. or Nathan Barnes, or that commission voting continues on Budd and Barnes until the tie is broken.

“Practical justice” would be starting all over and allowing anyone in the 1st District, at-large, to file for the seat, whether they are on the previous list or not, Sykes said.

“We’ll take either one” (practical or quality justice), he added.

Sykes cited several cases of municipal governments that had continued voting until the tie was broken and someone was selected to fill a vacancy. One city in Maryland took more than 100 votes before someone changed a vote. It took Wichita 38 votes before it filled a vacancy.

There were fewer than 10 separate votes to fill the vacant seat on the UG Commission. The commission could not get six votes, the majority that is needed, for one of the candidates on any of the ballots. Three votes were taken on June 20, 2013, with five votes for Budd and four for Barnes each time, with the mayor then voting for Barnes, ending 5-5. On July 11, 2013, another vote was taken, with the same result. Then, the mayor made a motion on July 11 to set the top two finalists aside and choose two others from the 15 finalists. That motion was defeated 7-2.

The UG charter says the vacancy “shall” be filled by an appointment by the commission, but it did not say when the position must be filled, and neither did it say how a tie could be broken. The charter does not say that a special election can be held to fill the vacancy.

The UG answered Wyatt’s court request for filling the seat by saying that it is “discretionary.” The UG answer also said the mayor and commission made a good-faith effort to fill the seat, but no candidate received the six votes necessary. The UG stated the appointment was a political question, and that the UG had the authority to determine the manner of selection under the state’s home rule amendment. The UG also stated that the plaintiff lacked standing to show that any injuries were specific and peculiar to her.

Besides being disappointed that the proposal for filling the seat at the Aug. 7 meeting did not include Budd and Barnes, Sykes said he is also disappointed that other UG commissioners did not use their authority to introduce other motions once the mayor’s motion failed. He said he believed that once a discussion is started on an item, any of the commissioners could then introduce alternative motions that are on the topic. While the mayor sets each agenda, runs the meeting and recognizes commissioners who want to speak, Sykes said he believes commissioners could introduce the topic at later meetings under the category of “old business.”

While there was a remark made at the UG Commission meeting about a lawsuit not being the way to resolve it, Sykes said that all citizens have the constitutional right to seek redress and petition the government for justice. He added the UG Commission had given very little opportunity for citizens to speak their minds at the UG public commission meetings about how they felt about this position not being filled yet.

“It’s a shame that we had to file a lawsuit for the public to have an opportunity to get their point across,” Sykes said.

“Citizenship is based on equality for everyone,” Sykes said. “The 2nd District at-large has the mayor, the at-large position and the district representative. People in the other district (1st District at-large) are still one short in terms of representation. Ultimately, everyone suffers.”

He said that “taxation without representation” hits the core of the issue. In some state legislatures in other states, if a representative position has been vacant for a prolonged time, there have been proposals for tax credits to be given to residents as a remedy for being without representation, Sykes said. However, that idea has not yet been implemented in the other states.

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