Archive for Sporting KC

Besler, Zusi to join U.S. Men’s Team for World Cup qualifiers

Matt Besler

Graham Zusi

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of crucial World Cup qualifying matches against Honduras on March 24 and Panama on March 28.

Besler is added to head coach Bruce Arena’s 25-player roster alongside New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who is a replacement for the injured Bobby Wood.

Besler will be joined on the U.S. MNT squad by Sporting KC teammate Graham Zusi, who replaced the injured Fabian Johnson in a roster change.

The United States will now prepare for an all-important World Cup qualifier versus Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza and Honduras on Friday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. The contest will kick off at 9:30 p.m. on FS1, UniMas and UDN. Four days later, the Americans will travel to face Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, live at 9 p.m. on beIN SPORTS, Telemundo and NBC Universo.

The U.S. MNT is off to an 0-2-0 start in the Hexagonal, which serves as CONCACAF’s final qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Eight games still remain for all six teams in the Hex, with the top three finishers automatically advancing to the World Cup and the fourth-place finisher meeting an Asian country in a two-legged playoff in November.

Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica at the end of 2016 have given Arena’s men extra impetus to #Get3 against fourth-place Honduras, which enters Friday with one win and one loss.

Besler, 30, has 39 career caps for the United States, including 10 international appearances in 2016. He earned two starts at the Copa America last summer before scoring his first U.S. goal in a World Cup qualifying win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in September.

A native of Overland Park and the first Kansan to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Besler has featured regularly along the Americans’ backline since debuting in 2013. The center back helped lead the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and started all four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as the MNT reached the Round of 16.

Besler joined Sporting Kansas City in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Notre Dame and has since become one of the club’s most decorated players. In addition to winning the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012 and 2015 U.S. Open Cups, Besler has garnered MLS Best XI (2012-13), MLS All-Star (2011, 2013-16) and 2012 MLS Defender of the Year honors during a successful professional career.

Now in his ninth MLS season, Besler has made 242 appearances for his hometown club in all competitions – fifth most on Sporting Kansas City’s all-time charts. Since 2011, no MLS player has contributed to more shutouts in the regular season than Besler’s 56. During the same timeframe, he also leads MLS in clearances and ranks second in interceptions.

Zusi, 30, has earned 44 caps for the U.S. since 2012, recording five goals and six assists. He most recently captained the side in a 1-0 friendly win over Jamaica last month, and also played five matches at the 2016 Copa America last summer. The Longwood, Florida, native tallied two assists in four appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and also competed at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

An eight-year veteran of MLS, Zusi joined Sporting Kansas City in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Maryland. He has amassed 29 goals and 60 assists in 229 competitive appearances for the club, ranking second on Kansas City’s all-time assist chart. He has started the first two MLS matches of 2017 at right back, helping Sporting KC to a pair of clean sheets.

In addition to winning the 2013 MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cups, Zusi has landed numerous individual accolades during his professional career. He notably received MLS Best XI (2012-13) and 2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year honors and was the only player to appear in every MLS All-Star Game from 2012-2015.

– Information from Sporting KC

Sporting KC wins, 2-1

San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham watched as the ball trickled in for an “own goal” after he mishandled a shot by Soony Saad. The goal gave Sporting KC a 2-0 lead. Sporting KC won the match, 2-1. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Photos copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel

Story by William Crum

The final score was Sporting Kansas City 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1.

The match’s first goal was by Benny Feilhaber. For the second goal, Soony Saad launched a ball toward the San Jose goalkeeper, it bounced off the goalkeeper and went in. The goal was credited as an “own goal” by David Bingham.

Florian Jungwirth came back to get San Jose on the scoreboard.

Sporting KC mascot Blue played peek-a-boo with a young fan before the game. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC defender Graham Zusi dribbled the ball away from San Jose forward Marcos Urena in the right corner. Sporting KC won the match, 2-1. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC defender Matt Besler slid in to defuse an attack by San Jose midfielder Simon Dawkins. The score at the end of the first half was Sporting KC 1, San Jose 0. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia pulled in a save in the first half. Melia nearly posted his third straight shutout before giving up a goal in stoppage time in the second half. When San Jose scored in stoppage time, it ended Melia’s regular season shutout streak at 456 minutes, the third longest run in Sporting KC history. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer took a shot on goal in the second half. The match was Dwyer’s 100th career start in an MLS regular season. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC teammates celebrated the “own goal.” While Soony Saad launched the ball toward the goal, it was wide, and it bounced off San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham into the goal. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Dom Dwyer signed an autograph for a young fan participating in Sporting KC’s Project Victory. Sporting KC has the next week off, then will visit Toronto on March 31. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC leads at halftime, 1-0

by William Crum

At halftime of the match between Sporting KC and the San Jose Earthquakes, the score was Sporting KC 1, San Jose 0.

The goal was made by Benny Feilhaber and assisted by Graham Zusi.

The match is being played at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.