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Sporting KC home Sunday for Retro Night

A pair of MLS originals will square off at 5 p.m. Sunday when Sporting Kansas City (7-2-3, 24 points) welcomes Columbus Crew SC (7-3-3, 24 points) to Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas.

The interconference clash will be televised nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes, pitting two teams tied for second place in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings. Local radio broadcasts will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM, while the Sporting KC Uphoria mobile app will provide live updates.

A limited number of tickets for Sunday’s match, including standing-room only tickets, are available on SeatGeek.com.

Retro Night will pay homage to the club’s roots, and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a free retro jersey koozie.

Entering Week 13 with a four-point lead atop the Western Conference, Sporting KC is looking to bounce back into the victory column after settling for a 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC last Sunday.

Forward Khiry Shelton scored his first goal for the club in the eighth minute off a Johnny Russell corner kick, but the Loons responded 12 minutes later with an equalizer from Darwin Quintero to split the points in a game that was otherwise dominated by Sporting KC.

Manager Peter Vermes’ men enjoyed 61 percent possession and outshot Minnesota 24-6, forcing goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to make a career-high nine saves.
Arguably no team has enjoyed a better month of May than Columbus, who will go into Sunday’s match unbeaten in six games and boasting a 405-minute shutout streak that ranks as the longest in MLS this season.

Guided by fifth-year head coach Greg Berhalter, Crew SC has posted four straight clean sheets for the first time since 2011 and has allowed a paltry two goals in six road games.

Anchoring Crew SC’s stout defensive form is 23-year-old goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who owns a league-best six shutouts and a 0.75 goals against average. And while the Columbus backline has been miserly, striker Gyasi Zardes and premier playmaker Federico Higuain have been equally dangerous going forward.

Zardes is tied for the MLS lead with eight goals at his new club, having scored eight times in the previous two seasons combined as a member of the LA Galaxy. Higuain leads MLS with 41 chances created, including a league-best 16 chances created from set pieces, and has chipped in three goals and five assists.

If any team can rival Columbus’ recent defensive dominance, it might be Sporting KC. With center backs Matt Besler and Ike Opara marshaling the squad, the club has conceded just four goals in its last eight matches.

On the other side of the field, Sporting KC has also maintained an impressive scoring clip at two goals per game – thanks in large part to a balanced attack led by wingers Russell (five goals, three assists) and Daniel Salloi (three goals, four assists).

Russell’s strong performances in his first MLS campaign have helped him earn a call to the Scotland Men’s National Team, where he will join following Sunday’s match for a friendly against Mexico on June 2.

Recent meetings between the clubs have favored Sporting KC, who are 6-1-1 versus Columbus since 2013. Vermes’ side has also won each of its last four home games against Crew SC, who last prevailed at Children’s Mercy Park on July 28, 2012.

As two of Major League Soccer’s original 10 franchises, these teams have met 54 times in the regular season. The series has unfolded evenly with Sporting KC holding a 25-22-7 record.

Sporting KC enters Sunday without influential midfielder Felipe Gutierrez, who will miss the next several weeks after undergoing successful sports hernia surgery on May 1. Joining him on the club’s injury report are defender Jimmy Medranda (knee) forward Diego Rubio (back), who are both listed as questionable for the match.

On the opposite sideline, Columbus will likely have to cope with the absence of designated player Pedro Santos. The Portuguese winger started in the team’s first 10 games of the season, but a thigh injury has limited him to just 25 minutes played over the last four games.

– Story from Sporting KC

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Program encourages students to grow in a healthy way

Brendan Irving, top right, program manager for the Learn to Earn program, talked with students who graduated from the program on Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

Graduation day for children in the Learn to Earn program and after-school program was Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club, 1240 Troup, Kansas City, Kansas.

Students enjoyed a lunch and received certificates of graduation at the event, which was sponsored by the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association. Students in the group this year have been working on designs for a new community mural, according to Rachel Jefferson, executive director of HNMA.

Rachel Jefferson is the executive director of the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association, which sponsored an event Saturday for Learn to Earn and the after-school program. (Staff photo)

“We’re trying to teach kids to engage with the community in a healthy way, to teach them to take control, to grow in a healthy way,” said Brendan Irving, program manager for Learn to Earn.

The after-school program is grant-funded through HNMA. The after-school program currently is a pilot program, which is expected to have 50 to 60 students this summer. Irving said the Saturday event was a combination of different community programs.

Steve James, with the T.H.R.Y.V.E. (Together Helping Reduce Youth Violence for Equity) program, said a grant through the University of Kansas funds an effort for different grassroots organizations to work together instead of apart, sharing resources.

Karen White, an artist, has been working with children on designing a new community mural. The children’s designs will be used in the mural. (Staff photo)

Karen White, an artist, has been working with students in the program on a mural design. A new mural is planned at 18th and Parallel in Kansas City, Kansas.

White, who has worked with the Boys and Girls Club in Greater Kansas City and YouthFriends, also has worked in the past with the Nelson-Atkins museum programs.

She said drawings made by children in the community are being compiled. The drawings reflect what the children see in the community, she said.

Many positive and creative drawings of flowers, rainbows and other subjects have been made for the mural, which is in the planning stages, she added.

They are currently placing children’s ideas on a wall pictorially to get a visual idea of what the final mural will look like, she said.

Students in the Learn to Earn and after-school program enjoyed a lunch and graduation program Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club, Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

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Bishop Ward baseball state runners-up

Senior Donovan Corrigan Jr. batted in the 6th inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Bishop Ward baseball team lost in the final round of the KSHSAA 4A Division 2 tournament to Iola, 11-6, bringing home a trophy that wasn’t the one they wanted, but that nearly every other team in Kansas would envy. The game was played at Dean Evans Stadium in Salina.

Ward got in a hole early when the Mustangs put up 6 runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Cyclones battled back in the third to pull within 1 run at 6-5. Senior Mikal Whisler’s 3-RBI triple was the key hit in the inning.

Iola extended its lead with 3 more runs in the bottom of the third inning, and although Ward scored again in the fourth, the Cyclones weren’t able to muster another comeback.

Ward finished the regular season 13-7, winning the Kaw Valley League title in their first year under head coach Matt Carpenter.

At the state tournament, Bishop Ward defeated Rock Creek High School of St. George, Kan., in the quarterfinals on Thursday, and then defeated Parsons High School in the semifinals earlier Friday.

Mikal Whisler hit a 3-RBI triple in the 3rd inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Junior Javier Torres-Osuna (22) slid into home plate ahead of the throw from the outfield. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Junior Jacob Nevels fought back from 0-2 to earn a walk in the 4th inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

As the cloud of dust cleared, Senior Mikal Whisler celebrated his bases-clearing triple in the 3rd inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Vincent Esparza pitched in relief in the 4th inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Junior pitcher Vincent Esparza got some encouragement before the final inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Sophomore Zach Brown pitched in the third inning. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Head coach Matt Carpenter addressed the team after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

The Iola Mustangs celebrated after the final out. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

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