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Sporting Kansas City puts its four-game winning streak on the line Friday when the Philadelphia Union visits Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The 7 p.m. match will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network, with additional radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).

A limited number of tickets are still available on Ticketmaster.com. The first 10,000 fans to Sporting Park will receive a pair of Sporting KC spirit sleeves.

Atop the Eastern Conference standings, Sporting KC (11-5-5, 38 points) will look to avenge its 2-1 home defeat to the Union (5-8-8, 23 points) on May 14. Peter Vermes’ men are undefeated in seven MLS matches and have surged into a first place tie in the Supporters’ Shield race with Seattle Sounders FC.

During this unbeaten stretch, the MLS champions have secured five consecutive road wins, tied for the second longest MLS road-winning streak during the non-shootout era (2000-present).

The Philadelphia Union have just one loss in 10 games across all competition and rank first in the Eastern Conference with 33 MLS goals.

Since taking over as interim manager on June 10, Jim Curtin is 2-1-2 in the League and has led Philadelphia to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals with three wins in the tournament.
- Story from Sporting KC

Sporting Club announced on Tuesday the three newest members of Sporting Legends.

Peter Vermes, Jimmy Conrad and the late Lamar Hunt will be inducted into the hall of honor during an on-field ceremony at Sporting Park during halftime of Sporting Kansas City’s match against the Philadelphia Union on Friday.

An initiative launched in 2013, Sporting Legends pays tribute to club icons and provides a platform for inductees to re-engage with the local soccer community. Vermes and Conrad were selected among five finalists via a weighted vote through social media and SportingKC.com.

Sporting Kansas City’s manager for the past six seasons, Vermes is the second-longest serving head coach in team history. He has won two major trophies – the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2013 MLS Cup championship – as well as two MLS Eastern Conference regular season titles (2011, 2012). He owns a .570 winning percentage as manager, best among any coach in club history.

As a player, Vermes was one of the team’s most imposing defenders. He anchored the backline from 2000-2002, starting 78 games and garnering MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2000. Kansas City allowed just 29 goals in 32 regular season games that year with 17 shutouts en route to winning the MLS Cup and MLS Supporters’ Shield. He earned 67 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1988-1997 and competed at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. Vermes, the only person to win the MLS Cup as both a player and a coach with the same team, was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013.

“To be honored as a Sporting Legend is not only a proud moment, but a humbling accolade from the perspective of all the great people that have been involved in shaping this organization,” Vermes said. “I thank all those that voted for me and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this organization for as long as I have. I have never and will never take the opportunity to represent Kansas City for granted.”

Conrad made 204 appearances for the club from 2003-2010 and scored 17 goals, the most by a defender in team history. He guided Kansas City to the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and an appearance in MLS Cup later that season. The centerback was a six-time MLS All-Star (2004-2009), a four-time MLS Best XI selection (2004-2006, 2008) and the 2005 MLS Defender of the Year. He also captained the club from 2006-2009.

Conrad earned 27 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2005 and competing at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. He won MLS Cup in 2001 with the San Jose Earthquakes.

“After plying my trade for eight years in a city that I came to know and love, I am incredibly honored to be recognized as a Sporting Legend,” Conrad said. “I want to thank everyone along the way who gave me the confidence to become that caliber of player and I can’t emphasize enough how much this induction means to me and my family.”

Sporting Club selected Hunt as an honorary inductee for his pivotal role in founding Major League Soccer, the Kansas City professional soccer organization and pioneering the sport’s growth in the United States. The Hunt Sports Group owned the Kansas City Wizards from their inaugural 1996 season until 2006, as well as the Columbus Crew (1996-2013) and Dallas Burn/FC Dallas (2003-present). A 1992 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Hunt was awarded its Medal of Honor in 1999. Clark Hunt, chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs, will attend Friday’s ceremony on his father’s behalf.

“My family and I are thrilled that my father Lamar will be inducted into the Sporting Legends hall of honor this weekend,” Clark Hunt said. “Although he always shied away from individual accolades, I know that this honor would have been especially meaningful to him, because of his unwavering affection for the sports fans in Kansas City and his unbridled passion for the sport of soccer in the United States. We are very grateful to our partners and friends at Sporting KC for recognizing Lamar, and we look forward to the ceremony at beautiful Sporting Park this Friday.”
- Story from Sporting KC

The American Red Cross is facing a looming blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give, according to Red Cross officials.

Donations through the Red Cross are down approximately 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The number of donors continues to decline, and the shortfall is significant enough that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.

In addition, the Independence Day holiday falling on a Friday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July. Many sponsors did not hold drives because people took vacations either over the long weekend or for the entire week. In an average summer week, about 4,400 Red Cross blood drives are scheduled, compared to Independence Day week when only 3,450 drives occurred.

“Hospital patients continue to need lifesaving blood this summer, and they’re relying on the generosity of volunteer donors to give them hope in the days and weeks ahead,” said Scott Caswell, CEO for the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “Please, consider giving the gift of life. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for patients in need – and you never know when it could be your loved one needing blood.”

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed at this time. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand, Red Cross officials said.

The summer can be among the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they take vacations and participate in summer activities. When school is out of session for summer break, donations from those who normally give on campus tend to drop by more than 80 percent.

Every day this summer is a chance to give hope to patients in need and their network of family and friends. July 13 marked the half-way point for the Red Cross campaign “100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.” Blood and platelet donations are needed now and for the rest of the summer. Individuals who donated blood earlier this summer may now be eligible to donate again and help patients such as accident victims, heart surgery patients and children with blood disorders.

A Red Cross blood drive will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Sporting Park, 1 Sporting Way, Kansas City, Kan. To schedule an appointment, call 800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org/

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