U.S. Men’s Team to play in Gold Cup match July 13 at Sporting Park in KCK

Tickets go on sale Thursday morning

Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., will be the host for the Group A finales of the CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader on July 13.

The international doubleheader will feature two match-ups:
Game 1: Honduras/French Guiana vs. Haiti at 6 p.m.
Game 2: United States of America vs. Panama at 8:30 p.m.

The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup will be held in the United States and Canada from July 7-26 with the top 12 national teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

All tickets will provide entry to both matches with prices starting at $35 for general admission seating in the South Stand or Members Stand at Sporting Park.

Sporting KC could feature players on three of the teams competing at Sporting Park that evening — Matt Besler and Graham Zusi on the U.S. Men’s Team; Haitian midfielder Soni Mustivar and Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza.

The Gold Cup is the region’s marquee national team tournament and the headline competition for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2015.

This year’s tournament carries additional significance as it will determine CONCACAF’s representatives at the Centennial Cup America in 2016 and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017.

Tickets for the Gold Cup doubleheader July 13 at Sporting Park go on sale at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, via Ticketmaster.com.

Honduras and French Guiana are in a playoff March 25 and 29 to determine who will advance in the Gold Cup competition.

Honduras:
Los Catrachos – ranked No. 77 by FIFA — represented CONCACAF at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and has reached the semifinal round in four of the past five Gold Cup tournaments. Led by head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, the Honduran roster may feature Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza.

French Guiana: Aiming for its first Gold Cup berth, French Guiana was the top scoring team at the 2014 Caribbean Cup where it earned a 1-1 draw against Cuba and a 4-1 victory over Curacao to advance to this month’s playoff series.

Haiti: Making its sixth Gold Cup appearance, Les Grenadiers is No. 78 in the FIFA rankings and could have a third straight group stage meeting with Honduras on the horizon. Haiti’s roster may feature midfielder Soni Mustivar, who joined Sporting KC last month after playing professionally in France and Romania.

United States: The U.S. Men’s National Team – ranked No. 31 by FIFA – is a five-time Gold Cup champion and reached the knockout round at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the country’s 10th appearance at a FIFA World Cup. Led by Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. roster may feature Sporting KC defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi.

Panama: Third-place finishers at the 2011 Gold Cup and runners-up in 2013, Los Canaleros is ranked No. 61 by FIFA. Panama featured two of the top players at the 2013 Gold Cup in LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (Golden Glove winner) and Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres (Golden Boot winner).

– Information from Sporting KC

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Sporting KC falls 3-1 on road at Dallas

Sporting Kansas City suffered its first loss of 2015 in a 3-1 defeat at FC Dallas on Saturday.

Panama international Blas Perez scored twice for Dallas at Toyota Stadium, giving him eight goals in his last eight regular season games, while Roger Espinoza struck for Sporting Kansas City’s only tally.

The two sides exchanged early scoring chances in back-to-back minutes of the Western Conference match-up, which Sporting KC played without captain Matt Besler, who was serving a one-game suspension.

Rookie right back Amadou Dia beat two defenders along the endline before having his shot stopped by FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz from close range in the sixth minute. On the opposite end of the field, Fabian Castillo showcased a dribbling display of his own only to be turned away by Chilean goalkeeper Luis Marin.

Perez opened the scoring in the 17th minute, starting the play with a flick forward at midfield then sprinting into the penalty area to receive a pass from reigning Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele. Perez made no mistake with a first-time finish inside the near post for his second goal in as many games after scoring a stoppage-time game winner in his team’s 1-0 season-opening victory last week.

Sporting Kansas City came close to equalizing in the 27th minute when Graham Zusi’s corner kick connected with Week 1 goal scorer Ike Opara. The centerback re-directed the service toward the target but his right-footed attempt rolled wide of the post.

The game-tying goal came in the aftermath of a Zusi corner kick, initially cleared from danger but ultimately buried into the back of the net on a 20-yard strike from Espinoza in the 44th minute. The Honduran received a pass from fellow World Cup veteran Benny Feilhaber and took two touches into space prior to unleashing a left-footed effort for his third career MLS goal and first since 2011.

Espinoza celebrated in front of more than 800 traveling Sporting KC supporters who made the eight-hour drive from Kansas City for Saturday’s away match.

It was another Espinoza run through the midfield that nearly gave Sporting Kansas City the lead in the 47th minute. He weaving his way through 35 yards in the attacking half and picked out Krisztian Nemeth at the edge of the penalty area. The Hungarian striker cut inside to set up a right-footed shot that missed the near post by a narrow margin.

FC Dallas, which is now 12-1-2 in its past 15 home games across all competitions, seized control of the match with a controversial game-winning goal in the 52nd minute. Michel’s corner kick was sent back to the Brazilian, whose second service into the penalty area found Perez in an offside position. However, no whistle came and Perez calmly chested the ball down for a simple finish from five yards out.

Sporting Kansas City threatened to pull level again in the 69th minute when Zusi split two defenders with a clever pass for Paulo Nagamura on the right side of the penalty area. Nagamura sent a tantalizing cross into the path of Dom Dwyer, whose sliding shot was saved by Seitz.

Castillo, a 10-goal scorer a year ago, then put the game out of reach with his goal in the 73rd minute. Michel earned another assist, threading a pass forward for second-half substitute Ryan Hollingshead who played the ball into the path of Castillo to cap the counter attack with a touch around Marin and emphatic finish into the empty net.

Tied with Feilhaber for the League lead in assists, Michel was inches away from putting an exclamation point on his two-assist performance only to see his free kick rattle the crossbar in the 76th minute.

Down two goals, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes inserted 2015 acquisition Bernardo Anor with 15 minutes to play. The move paid dividends two minutes later when the Venezuelan was fouled inside the penalty area while challenging to get on the end of a free kick from Zusi.

Dwyer stepped to the penalty spot – where he was successful in seven of his eight attempts last year – however Seitz extended powerfully to his right to make the stop. Seitz has now conceded only six of the 10 penalties he has faced in his MLS career, including none of the past three over the last four seasons.

Sporting Kansas City will now return home to play host to the Portland Timbers at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. A limited number of tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com while supplies last and the match will be shown live on SKCTV with pregame coverage starting at 7 p.m.

– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC on road tonight against Dallas

sporting kc logo
Sporting Kansas City opens its 2015 MLS road campaign against F.C. Dallas at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The match will be televised locally on KMCI-TV 38 The Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Radio broadcasts will also be available on 102.9 FM (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).

Saturday’s match is the first for Sporting KC against a Western Conference opponent since Sporting KC re-joined the West for the 2015 season. Sporting KC finished the 2014 regular season with a 5-2-2 record against Western Conference opponents.

The Western Conference battle features the team with the most road wins from the 2014 season visiting the team with the most home wins a year ago.

Sporting KC has recorded eight road wins in each of the last three regular seasons — double the league average — and leads MLS with 24 road victories since the beginning of 2012. FC Dallas finished the 2014 season with a 12-4-1 record at home and the club is 11-1-2 in its last 14 home games in all competitions.

Sporting KC and FC Dallas will meet three times this season after playing to draws in their last two matches in the series. In 2013, the two sides played to a 2-2 draw in Frisco, Texas and again split the points in 2014 following a 1-1 result at Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City captain and 2014 FIFA World Cup veteran Matt Besler will miss Saturday’s match after receiving a pair of yellow cards in Sporting KC’s season opener against the New York Red Bulls last weekend.

Despite playing shorthanded for the game’s final 20 minutes, Sporting Kansas City secured a point courtesy of Ike Opara’s goal in his return from a season-ending ankle injury suffered in early 2014.

FC Dallas opened the season with a dramatic 1-0 home victory against the San Jose Earthquakes. Blas Perez scored the game-winner, directing his header past David Bingham in the 92nd minute.

Sporting Kansas City will bring more than 800 supporters to this weekend’s match, one of the largest groups of traveling fans in club history.

In-game updates will be available at SportingKC.com/GameOn and by following @SKCGameday on Twitter.

– Story from Sporting KC