Sporting defender selected to under-30 national roster

Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown was selected to the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team roster on Thursday for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, to be held from May 30 – June 20 in New Zealand.

“I could not be more excited to be named to the roster for the U-20 World Cup,” Palmer- Brown said. “We have an exciting group of players and I cannot wait to get to New Zealand to compete against the best U-20 players in the world.”

“I’m very excited about this particular group,” said U.S. U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos. “It was very difficult making the final decision because there were quite a few players who deserved to go to the World Cup. Unfortunately, in the end I can only select a certain number and I’m very happy with the selections that we made.”

Palmer-Brown has appeared in seven matches for Sporting Kansas City across all competition, including the team’s 2015 season opener, since signing as a homegrown player in August 2013. He made his MLS debut in 2014 at age 17 and remains the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer match in club history.

A Lee’s Summit, Mo., native, Palmer-Brown is a product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy and will graduate from Archbishop O’Hara High School this month. He is the third player in Sporting KC’s history to represent the U.S. at a FIFA U-20 World Cup while playing for the club along with Francisco Gomez (1999) and Mikey Lopez (2013).

Palmer-Brown made his debut with the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team as a 16-year-old in January 2014. He participated in the 2014 Dallas Cup with the U-20’s and has since participated in three of the team’s international training camps in Argentina (September 2014), England (March 2015) and Austria (April 2015).

In 2013, Palmer-Brown attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., for the spring semester and he was named one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer’s 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year.

The United States is one of 24 countries to qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, a biennial competition that celebrates its 20th edition this summer after first being played in 1977. A total of 52 matches will be played in seven host cities across New Zealand.

The U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside Myanmar, New Zealand and Ukraine. The top two teams in each of the six groups – along with the top four overall third-placed teams – advance to the Round of 16 in the tournament’s Knockout Stage.
– Story from Sporting KC

Feilhaber named MLS Player of Month

Benny Feilhaber
Benny Feilhaber

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber was voted MLS Player of the Month for April.

The veteran midfielder finished the month with two goals and three assists including the first brace of his five-year MLS career.

“It’s an honor to be nominated alongside a great group of MLS players and I’m humbled to have won the award,” Feilhaber said. “It’s great that our team is improving throughout this stage of the season and I’m pleased to have been able to play my part.”

Feilhaber, 30, is tied for first in MLS with five assists in 2015 after logging three in the month of April.

During a month in which Feilhaber played every minute in Sporting Kansas City’s four games, the World Cup veteran started strong by setting up two goals with corner kicks in a 3-2 comeback victory over the Philadelphia Union on April 5.

After Dom Dwyer headed home his service in the 16th minute, Feilhaber delivered the game-winning assist on the club’s 1,000th goal in all competitions when Sporting KC scored their second of two goals in stoppage-time.

Named the Man of the Match in a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake on April 11, Feilhaber then became the second fastest KC player all-time to reach the five-assist mark in a season — doing so in his seventh league appearance — when he provided the final pass for Krisztian Nemeth’s equalizer at the LA Galaxy on April 18. He also entered the club’s record books as only the second player to assist on five of the team’s first seven goals in a season.

Feilhaber capped off April with his first two-goal performance in a wild 4-4 draw against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Down 3-2 in the 80th minute, Feilhaber leveled the match with a well-placed penalty kick past goalkeeper Tyler Deric. After the Dynamo regained the lead minutes later, Feilhaber’s stoppage-time blast, which was voted MLS Goal of the Week, gave Sporting KC its fifth consecutive result in Houston.

This is the second MLS Player of the Month award in Feilhaber’s career after earning his first award in July 2014. Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer and former Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg were also voted Player of the Month last year in May and June, respectively. Voting for MLS Player of the Month is open to the public on MLSsoccer.com.

After a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at Sporting Park, Sporting Kansas City will hit the road this weekend to take on D.C. United. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. with coverage available locally on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV.
– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC wins 1-0 over Chicago Fire

Paulo Nagamura
Paulo Nagamura

Sporting Kansas City moved into fourth place in the Western Conference with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Sunday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Paulo Nagamura came off the bench to score the game’s lone goal with a header in the 75th minute, while Tim Melia made three saves for his first career MLS shutout and first career MLS win in his Sporting KC debut.

Sporting KC took the field for the first time in the team’s new all-white third kits – in front of the stadium’s 58th consecutive MLS sellout crowd and a national television audience on ESPN2- for the 50th all-time regular season meeting against the rival Fire.

Chicago entered with wins in each of their last three matches, but saw that streak snapped by a Sporting KC side that has held the Fire scoreless in four of the past five meetings in KC.

Melia played a starring role in the clean sheet as he made his first appearance since being acquired in the offseason after five seasons split between Real Salt Lake (2010-2011) and Chivas USA (2012-2014).

The 28-year-old was called into action in the eighth minute to thwart a goalward cross from David Accam, then again five minutes later to push away Guly’s left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area and a third time to smother a header from Eric Gehrig in the 19th minute.

Sporting Kansas City’s best two scoring chances of the first half came two minutes apart on headers from Dom Dwyer and Kevin Ellis. Benny Feilhaber’s chipped cross in the 31st minute was met by a diving header from Dwyer that carried over the crossbar from six yards out.

Dwyer, who leads MLS with 30 fouls won in 2015, earned a free kick a minute later that Feilhaber placed perfectly into the path of Ellis only to see the header hammer off the crossbar.

After attempting 11 shots in the first half, Sporting Kansas City was limited to only three shots in the second beginning when Seth Sinovic forced a strong save from Sean Johnson in the 50th minute.

Manager Peter Vermes inserted Nagamura as his first of three substitutes in the 65th minute and the move paid dividends 10 minutes later as the Brazilian provided the breakthrough moment with the first headed goal of his 11-year MLS career.

Fellow newcomer Jalil Anibaba delivered the cross from the right flank and Nagamura did the rest, snapping his header inside the far post to finish off a 12-pass sequence for the 13th goal of his career and his first game-winning goal since 2009.

Graham Zusi was credited with the secondary assist on the play, claiming sole possession of second place on the club’s all-time charts with 17 game-winning assists.

Chicago’s bid for a late equalizer became a taller task when Accam, one of three designated players for the Fire, was sent off in the 89th minute with a straight red card issued for a foul on Anibaba.

Chicago captain Jeff Larentowicz was at the center of his team’s final two forays forward, looping a header wide in the 93rd minute off a corner kick from Shaun Maloney and then going down after a collision with Matt Besler inside the penalty area on the final play of the game.

Sporting Kansas City will now travel to the nation’s capital to face Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United at 6 p.m. on Saturday at RFK Stadium. The match will be shown live locally on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m.
– Story from Sporting KC