Eastern Conference contenders set for showdown tonight at Sporting Park

Atop the East, Sporting Kansas City hosts third place Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., in a clash of Eastern Conference contenders.

The match will be televised live locally on KMCI-TV 38 and across the Midwest on SKCTV. Fans can also listen to the match on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).

A limited number of tickets remain available, including standing room only tickets, which can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park box offices on game day.

Sporting Kansas City fell 2-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend after conceding a pair of first half goals. The loss snapped an eight-game unbeaten streak for the reigning MLS Cup champions that included five consecutive road victories.

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin made his MLS debut in the match after Andy Gruenebaum suffered a shoulder injury and could not return after the halftime break. Kempin’s first save of his MLS career came on a Darren Mattocks penalty kick attempt, which earned MLS Save of the Week honors.

Toronto FC concludes a four-game road trip on Saturday in Kansas City. After falling 3-0 at second place D.C. United to begin their travels, Toronto FC recorded victories against Montreal and Columbus in back-to-back weeks.

Both wins came without leading scorer Jermain Defoe as the English international remains questionable for tomorrow’s match with a right adductor strain. Defoe’s 11 goals in 15 MLS matches are fifth most in MLS and three behind Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer, who replaced Defoe on the MLS All-Star game day roster.

Fellow MLS All-Star Michael Bradley returns to Kansas City for the first time since the 2013 MLS All-Star Game while playing for AS Roma. A member of the United States Men’s National Team at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, Bradley was acquired by Toronto prior to the start of the season. Along with Defoe, the duo share the distinction as Major League Soccer’s highest-paid players with $6 million base salaries.

Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC have already met twice this season, including a 2-2 draw at Sporting Park on May 23 that kept the Manager Peter Vermes’ squad unbeaten at home (5-0-1) against their Canadian counterparts since 2010. More recently, Sporting KC earned a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC at BMO Field on July 26 with Graham Zusi and Jacob Peterson on the scoresheet.

Fans can get in-game updates online at SportingKC.com/GameOn or by following @SKCGameday on Twitter. Additionally, the match will also be available to watch live online as MLSsoccer.com’s Stream of the Week.

– Story from Sporting KC

Bougher stalls T-Bones bats

The T-Bones failed to get their offense going yet again off Gary SouthShore starter Stephen Bougher, as they fell 8-1 in front of 5,395 fans at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday night.

Bougher is now 3-0 against the T-Bones in four starts. Kansas City managed to get only one run off six hits in 6 innings off Bougher (7-5).

Gary SouthShore jumped on T-Bones starter Joe Van Meter out of the gates. Following back-to-back singles starting the game off, Ryan Babineau flew out to left bringing in Danny Pulfer from third.

Kansas City answered back with their lone run in the bottom of the fourth. With one on and two out, Bryan Sabatella sliced an RBI single toward second that scored Matt Padgett, who led off the inning with a walk. That base hit for Sabatella — one of his two in the game — extended his hitting streak to nine games.

After tacking on one in the fifth, the RailCats poured it on in the sixth when they scored three runs off four hits, forcing Kansas City to reach into their bullpen. Babineau drove in his second run of the evening with an RBI double into left-center.

Van Meter (0-1) allowed four runs off five hits and struck out seven batters over the course of 5 innings on the mound. His replacement, Hamilton Bennett, gave up four runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

With the loss the T-Bones fall to 37-46, while the RailCats improve to 44-40. Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday evening at 7:05. Tickets are available by calling the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 913-328-5618.

Box score: http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/boxscoretext.html?gameid=178148
– Story from T-Bones

T-Bones lose to Amarillo

Amarillo, Texas – The T-Bones held two leads Thursday night, but it was Amarillo taking the three-game series with a 7-4 win.

It was déjà vu for Kansas City, which scored first six out of the seven games in Texas, but claimed just one win. Thursday night was no different, as Kansas City scored two runs in the top of the first to take an early 2-0 lead off of Amarillo starting pitcher Anthony Figliolia. Danny Richar singled with one out and scored on an RBI triple from Ray Sadler. The next batter, Nick Schwaner got an RBI infield single that gave the T-Bones an early — albeit short-lived — lead.

The Sox rebounded with a run against Kansas City starting pitcher Andy Noga in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Derrek Perren doubled and was driven home by Andres Rodriguez. Amarillo took the lead in the bottom of the second with two runs as the first four batters reached in the inning (three singles and a walk).

The T-Bones, down 3-2 in the third inning, tied the game at 3-3 with Matt Padgett’s second home run of the season. They took their last lead of the night in the next inning when Robby Kuzdale knocked in Vladimir Frias and gave Kansas City a 4-3 advantage.

Amarillo re-took the lead and chased Noga (2-5) out of the game in the fourth with another two-run inning. Noga allowed five earned runs and seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. Kansas City used three relievers to pitch the remaining 4 2/3 innings.

Amarillo pitcher Kristhiam Linares, who started the season with Kansas City, pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief of starter Anthony Figliolia, and got the win for the Sox.

After going 1-6 during this Texas trip, the T-Bones (37-45) return home for a six-game homestand beginning Friday night against Gary SouthShore at 7:05. For tickets, call the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 913-328-5618.

Box score: http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/boxscoretext.html?gameid=178142

– Story from T-Bones