Sporting KC atop East with late 2-1 win in Columbus

Benny Feilhaber

Sporting Kansas City won its fourth consecutive road match, a new single-season club record, in dramatic fashion on Wednesday with Benny Feilhaber’s goal in the final minute of second-half stoppage time securing a 2-1 victory at the Columbus Crew.

C.J. Sapong opened the scoring for Sporting Kansas City, who re-claim first place in the Eastern Conference with the team’s sixth road win of the season.

Without Graham Zusi — named an MLS All-Star on Wednesday along with captain Matt Besler — in the lineup, Feilhaber was the fulcrum in the Sporting KC midfield and assumed responsibility for the team’s set piece chances. The World Cup veteran created numerous chances from dead ball situations in the opening 45 minutes.

At the seven-minute mark, his corner found Olum at the top of the six-yard box and the Kenyan international forced a save from Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark to push the header over the crossbar. Five minutes later, Feilhaber’s free kick from the left flank skipped off Wil Trapp near the top of the penalty area and carried inches wide of the far post.

Sapong, making his first MLS start since the team’s home opener in March, nearly opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Olum kept the play alive and Sapong’s sliding shot was deflected by Crew captain Michael Parkhurst before being cleared in front of the goalline by Trapp.

The former MLS Rookie of the Year buried his next opportunity, hammering home a header off a Feilhaber corner kick in the 42nd minute. The goal, his first of the year and 19th regular season strike of his career, ties him with Teal Bunbury for 10th most in club history.

Feilhaber claimed his team-leading fifth assist of the season and 20th of his MLS career (including postseason) on the play, while Sapong became the 11th different goal scorer for Sporting Kansas City this season. The reigning MLS Cup champions also improved to 9-0-4 when scoring first in 2014 and 17-0-2 in MLS competition all-time when Sapong scores thanks to the team’s sixth headed goal of the season.

Momentum swung in favor of the home side early in the second half when Aurelien Collin was sent off in the 55th minute by referee Edvin Jurisevic — who incorrectly showed Collin red on his MLS debut in 2011 — after an aerial collision with Adam Bedell. The 6’7″ rookie then earned the Crew’s first shot on goal of the game in the 61st minute, but Andy Gruenebaum — playing against his former club for the first time since being acquired prior to the 2014 season — was up to the task and turned away the near post attempt.

Columbus capitalized on the man advantage and drew level in the 69th minute through an own goal credited to Igor Juliao. The Brazilian outside back was goalside of Federico Higuain as the cross came in from Chad Barson and the clearance attempt ended in the back of the net following contact with Higuain.

The Crew, now winless in its last six against Sporting KC, continued to push forward for the go-ahead goal. Higuain sent his effort narrowly wide in the 80th minute and Gruenebaum made his second save of the match on Bedell in the 87th minute.

The mid-week match came to life in the closing minutes, beginning with the game’s second ejection in the 89th minute. Trapp was sent off for the second time this season against Sporting KC after being booked twice in the final 40 minutes on Wednesday.

In the third of three minutes of stoppage time, Juliao worked his way up the right touchline and cut the ball back toward the top of the penalty area. Jacob Peterson did well to re-direct the pass with a slight touch en route and set up Feilhaber for a first-time shot off the underside of the crossbar that stands as the club’s latest game-winning goal of the season.

Sporting Kansas City now returns home to play host to the LA Galaxy at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The game will be live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes. A limited number of tickets are available to purchase via Ticketmaster.com and the first 5,000 fans will receive a Sporting KC cooler bag courtesy of Providence Medical Center.

– Story from Sporting KC

BPU discusses customer service

by William Crum

At the work session, the Board of Public Utilities members talked about ways to improve customer service.

At the regular session, Mike Caudle and Chris Collins received Linemen certifications from Bill Johnson, head of the electrical side of the Board of Public Utilities. Linemen go to many hours of training, both in the classroom and in the field, and this is an honor.

BPU general manager Don Gray gave a report on the Western Fuels resolution which deals with alternating fuel sources for the future.

The BPU received a safe drinking water five-year director’s award, which was presented by D.J. Johnson. This is an honor that few utilities receive.

Sporting KC signs midfielders Claros, Steuble

Sporting Kansas City announced today the signing of Honduran midfielder Jorge Claros and Swiss-Filipino midfielder Martin Steuble.

Claros has been added to the team’s roster and will be available for selection this weekend, while Steuble has been added to the team’s roster and will join the squad in the near term.

“We are always looking for players to enhance our roster,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “Not only is the quality of Jorge and Martin high, but obviously with the injuries and things we have dealt with this season adding them will be a great benefit for the second half of the season.”

Claros has featured 53 times for the Honduras Men’s National Team and has scored three goals since making his debut on Aug. 16, 2006. The 28-year-old midfielder appeared in eight matches during Honduras’ successful World Cup qualifying campaign as well as in all three matches for Los Catrachos at the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside former Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza.

“I am very happy to be here,” Claros said. “This is a big opportunity for me and I am thankful to Major League Soccer and to Sporting Kansas City. I hope to reward them for their faith in me with my play on the field.”

The 5-foot-9 defensive midfielder began his career with Honduran club C.D.S. Vida in 2004 before joining Club Deportivo Motagua a year later. Following successful appearances at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2008 Summer Olympics, Motagua loaned Claros to Scottish first division club Hibernian. Claros spent one-and-half years with Hibernian, leading the club to the 2012 and 2013 Scottish Cup Finals.

After returning to Motagua in the summer of 2013, Claros appeared in four matches for Honduras at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring the game-winning goal against El Salvador in the group stage. Claros started Honduras’ 1-0 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica as well as the team’s 3-1 loss to the U.S. Men’s National Team in the semifinal round of the tournament.

Steuble joins Kansas City after seven years of professional soccer in Switzerland, most recently with Swiss Challenge League club FC Wil 1900. The 26-year-old Swiss-Filipino made five appearances in the Europa League, while playing for FC Lausanne-Sport and scored a goal in a 3-3 draw against AC Sparta Praha on Oct. 21, 2010.

“I am really excited to join Sporting KC,” Steuble said. “I was there for a trial and loved what I saw. I felt good from the beginning and am honored that they offered me a contract. The team is doing very well right now and I’m just going to do whatever I can to help.”

Steuble has featured nine times for the Philippines national team under head coach Thomas Dooley. He made his international debut on March 1, 2014, and opened his international scoring account in a 3-0 win over Nepal on April 11, 2014.

Sporting Kansas City now has 30 players under contract with the addition of Claros and Steuble to the team’s roster. Two players (Christian Duke and Jimmy Medranda) are currently on loan to USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC and four players are unavailable due to injury (Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Peterson Joseph and Eric Kronberg).

– Story from Sporting KC