Sporting KC distributes over 30,000 free meals to residents

In partnership with Operation BBQ Relief, Sporting Community Kitchen has distributed over 30,000 free meals to residents across Greater Kansas City affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sporting Community Kitchen launched on April 13 as the first major initiative of Sporting Serves, a newly established philanthropic platform in which Sporting Kansas City and The Victory Project — the club’s flagship charitable arm — unite with community partners to support families across the metropolitan area.

“Sporting Kansas City has been privileged to work alongside Operation BBQ Relief and provide thousands of free meals to families during this challenging and unprecedented time,” Sporting KC President and CEO Jake Reid said. “With generous contributions from countless volunteers and local partners, Sporting Community Kitchen is an initiative we are extremely proud of. Through the Sporting Serves platform, we look forward to supporting the Kansas City community well into the future.”

For the last six weeks, Operation BBQ Relief has partnered with two local restaurants and two food truck businesses to provide free meals for daily distribution at Sporting Community Kitchen, which served the public for the last time at lunchtime this Friday, May 22, at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting Community Kitchen received further support from volunteers, City Foods & Events — the exclusive catering operator of Sporting Kansas City — and multiple partners including Price Chopper, Heartland Coca-Cola, BODYARMOR and Sysco.

Founded in May 2011, Operation BBQ Relief has provided over 5 million meals throughout the United States and globally. In response to COVID-19, Operation BBQ Relief has piloted the Operation Restaurant Relief program to feed communities in need while supporting restaurants and their employees. The nonprofit organization has helped serve over 125,000 meals in the Kansas City area since March. To make a donation to Operation BBQ Relief, https://www.gofundme.com/f/operation-bbq-relief-serves-the-kansas-city-area.

Sporting KC duo defeats opponent in eMLS tournament special before falling in championship

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Wan Kuzain and eMLS player Alekzandur have earned a second-place finish in the inaugural eMLS Tournament Special, a high-profile FIFA 20 remote competition that concluded with Sunday’s championship episode on FS1.

Kuzain and Alekzandur won Week Two of the eMLS Tournament Special on April 26, scoring 11 unanswered goals to become one of four semifinalists competing for the title on Sunday.

The Sporting Kansas City duo claimed a 3-2 aggregate victory over LAFC forward Adama Diomande and eMLS player RemiMartinn in the semifinals, then fell to Atlanta United FC defender Franco Escobar and eMLS player Paulo Neto in the finals.

Kuzain, a 21-year-old Sporting KC Academy product, lost 2-1 to Diomande in the first leg of the semifinals, but Kansas City native Alezkandur rallied for a 2-0 second-leg win — striking twice with Mexican striker Alan Pulido — that vaulted Sporting to the finals with a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

The first leg of the championship match saw Kuzain fall behind 2-0 to Escobar, but the midfielder fought back with a pair of Gerso Fernandes goals to level the contest at 2-2. With all to play for in the decisive second leg, Paulo Neto beat Alekzandur 5-1 to give Atlanta the title.

Sporting KC eMLS Tournament Special Championship results
• Semifinal, Leg 1: Lost 1-2 (Kuzain vs. LAFC forward Adama Diomande)
• Semifinal, Leg 2: Won 2-0 (Alekzandur vs. LAFC eMLS player RemiMartinn)
• Championship, Leg 1: Tied 2-2 (Kuzain vs. Atlanta defender Franco Escobar)
• Championship, Leg 2: Lost 5-1 (Alekzandur vs. Atlanta eMLS player Paulo Neto)

With hosts from FOX Sports Stu Holden, Rachel Bonnetta and Rodolfo Landeros with color commentary from Mike LaBelle, the eMLS Tournament Special took place on an entirely remote basis with MLS and eMLS players competing from their homes.

Each episode featured four different clubs competing to win and matchups were contested over two legs. MLS players squared off in the first leg and eMLS professional FIFA players competed against each other in the second leg. The best aggregate score determined the victor.

The marquee tournament has served as part of MLS Unites, a league-wide platform designed to educate communities, entertain fans and elevate heroic efforts taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After each of the five episodes, MLS WORKS, the league’s social responsibility platform, and FOX Sports made a donation on behalf of the winning club to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. A total of $50,000 was donated to support frontline workers and feed vulnerable populations in the U.S. and Canada.

Benefiting two national hunger relief organizations, the eMLS Tournament Special has unfolded in conjunction with Sporting Serves, a newly launched philanthropic platform that unites Sporting Kansas City and The Victory Project with several community partners to provide relief to citizens across Greater Kansas City in a unified response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Blood drive scheduled today

A Community Blood Center blood drive is scheduled through 3 p.m. Monday, May 18, at the Budweiser Brew House at Children’s Mercy Park, One Sporting Way, Kansas City, Kansas.

Advance registration is required at https://donate.savealifenow.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/72115.