Dynamo to visit Sporting KC on Friday

Sporting Kansas City will play host to the Houston Dynamo in a nationally televised rivalry match at Sporting Park on Friday night.

The Eastern Conference clash will kick off at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network with radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish). A limited number of tickets for the game can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com until they are sold out.

A rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship, Friday’s contest features two familiar foes.

Sporting KC (12-7-6, 42 points) is second place in the conference, one point behind D.C. United and three points behind Seattle Sounders FC in the Supporters’ Shield race.

Houston (7-13-4, 25 points) is ninth in the East and six points out of playoff position. Since joining MLS in 2006, the Dynamo have qualified for the postseason in eight of their nine seasons.

The clubs have met in each of the last three postseasons, with Houston eliminating Sporting KC in 2011 and 2012 before Peter Vermes’ team prevailed in the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship.

Winners of two MLS Cups each, Sporting KC and Houston have met 15 times during the last four seasons in all competitions, including five playoff tilts and one U.S. Open Cup qualification match in 2011.

Sporting KC holds a 6-3-6 edge during this period and is unbeaten against the Dynamo in seven straight matches dating back to July 2012.

– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting Park in KCK to hold women’s soccer qualifying tournament

The women’s soccer qualifying tournament is coming to Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Oct. 15-16.

The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship will directly qualify three teams to go to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Tickets will go on sale to the public for the first-round games at Sporting Park at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 29, according to an announcement from Sporting Park.

Because of an expected high demand, purchases are limited to series tickets only, according to Sporting Park. A series ticket includes all four games played at Sporting Park.

Fans may purchase series tickets for the Oct. 15-16 games at Sporting Park through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at Ticketmaster ticket centers in the Kansas City area. Tickets will not be sold at the Sporting Park ticket office.

Sporting Park, home to Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, will play host to doubleheader events on consecutive days. Four sides from Group A (including the USA in the featured game) open the competition Oct. 15, followed by the four Group B squads each playing their first match Oct. 16. The draw to determine the exact match-ups will be held Sept. 5 in Miami.

Eight countries are competing in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship: the United States and Mexico from North America, Guatemala and Costa Rica from Central America, and four countries from the Caribbean in Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago. The tournament’s top three teams will directly qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup from June 6-July 5 in Canada, while the fourth-place team enters a playoff with a team from South America for the final World Cup slot.

Ranked No. 1 in the world, the U.S. Women’s National Team returns to the Kansas City area for the sixth time and will play a second international match at state-of-the-art Sporting Park. In 2011, the U.S. WNT played their first match following the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup at Sporting Park in a 1-1 draw against Canada.

Kansas City, Kan., will serve as host for a senior U.S. National Team for the fifth time since Sporting Park opened in June 2011 — more than any other city in the country over that period. The $200-plus million, award-winning venue is also the only stadium to play host to the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team in each of the last four years.

U.S. Women’s National Team in Kansas City:
• Oct. 7, 1999 – U.S. Women’s National Team defeats Finland 6-0 at Arrowhead Stadium in Nike U.S. Women’s Cup 1999 doubleheader
• Aug. 20, 2000 – U.S. Women’s National Team draws Canada 1-1 at Arrowhead Stadium in Nike Road to Glory for 2000 Summer Olympics
• Oct. 22, 2003 – U.S. Women’s National Team draws Italy 2-2 at Arrowhead Stadium in international friendly
• Oct. 16, 2004 – U.S. Women’s National Team defeats Mexico 1-0 at Arrowhead Stadium in international friendly
• Sept. 17, 2011 – U.S. Women’s National Team draws Canada 1-1 at Sporting Park in international friendly
• Oct. 15, 2014 – U.S. Women’s National Team at Sporting Park in 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship

U.S. National Teams in Kansas City:
• Nov. 2, 1968: U.S. MNT vs. Bermuda (6-2 W at Municipal Stadium)*
• Oct. 7, 1999: U.S. WNT vs Finland (6-0 W at Arrowhead Stadium)
• Aug. 20, 2000: U.S. WNT vs Canada (1-1 T at Arrowhead Stadium)
• April 25, 2001: U.S. MNT vs Costa Rica (1-0 W at Arrowhead Stadium)*
• Oct. 22, 2003: U.S. WNT vs Italy (2-2 T at Arrowhead Stadium)
• Oct. 16, 2004: U.S. WNT vs Mexico (1-0 W at Arrowhead Stadium)
• June 14, 2011: U.S. MNT vs. Guadeloupe (1-0 W at Sporting Park)
• Sept. 17, 2011: U.S. WNT vs Canada (1-1 T at Sporting Park)
• Oct. 16, 2012: U.S. MNT vs. Guatemala (3-1 W at Sporting Park)*
• Oct. 11, 2013: U.S. MNT vs. Jamaica (2-0 W at Sporting Park)*
• Oct. 15, 2014: U.S. WNT vs. TBD (at Sporting Park)*
*World Cup qualifier

– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC drops 3-0 decision versus D.C. United

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 3-0 defeat against D.C. United on Saturday at Sporting Park in a match-up of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

First half goals from Fabian Espindola, Chris Rolfe and Perry Kitchen powered the visitors in Sporting KC’s second home loss of the season.

D.C. United, the reigning U.S. Open Cup champions, did their damage in a seven-minute span that started in the 24th minute when Espindola cut inside from the left flank and curled his shot inside the far post from the edge of the penalty area. The Argentine striker has now scored in both games against Sporting KC this season and has nine on the season, most among D.C. United players.

Just over four minutes later, Rolfe beat the offside trap en route to his sixth goal of the season. Sporting KC goalkeeper Jon Kempin came well off his line and was able to get a touch in the one-versus-one situation, but it wasn’t enough to keep the shot from finding the back of the net.

Rolfe and Espindola — who have a combined 107 MLS regular season goals between them in their careers — have each scored in back-to-back matches for D.C. United, who were playing without designated player and former KC forward Eddie Johnson (suspension). Luis Silva earned assists on both goals, doubling his total for the season to four.

Sporting Kansas City’s deficit stretched to three by the 31st minute when D.C. United again found space behind the backline. This time it was Kitchen on the break and the 22-year-old made no mistake in slipping his shot beneath Kempin, giving D.C. United goals on each of their first three shots on goal of the game. The offensive outburst was the first time in 2014 that Sporting KC had conceded three times in MLS play.

Three days after returning from a mid-week CONCACAF Champions League match in Nicaragua, Sporting Kansas City’s best scoring opportunity of the opening 45 minutes came in the ninth minute. Benny Feilhaber unleashed a shot from 25 yards out that forced a diving save from D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid to push it over the end line.

Hamid made three saves in the shutout, his sixth of the season and 26th of his MLS career. Saturday’s match was the first in MLS history in which both teams started homegrown goalkeepers, with Kempin making his second MLS start due to injuries to Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum.

A scoreless second half wasn’t without scoring opportunities for the two sides. Nick DeLeon struck his shot off the post in the 53rd minute and Sporting Kansas City responded with a pair of close chances on the opposite end.

Graham Zusi’s long-distance effort had Hamid beaten only to smash off the crossbar in the 60th minute. Then two minutes later, Soony Saad found space centrally and let loose an ambitious attempt that whistled inches wide of the post.

Dom Dwyer, the second leading scorer in MLS with 16 goals this season, connected on a cross from Igor Juliao in the 73rd minute and snapped his header on target from the penalty spot only to see Hamid go full extension to his right to make the sprawling stop.

The woodwork denied D.C. United a fourth goal in the game’s late moments. Second-half substitute David Estrada was on the end of a cross from Espindola and hit a first-time volley off the post from 15 yards out.

Entering the match with the League’s best goals against average, Sporting Kansas City has now gone nine MLS matches without a clean sheet. The stretch is the club’s longest span without a shutout since 2007. Additionally, Saturday’s loss was the team’s largest margin of defeat at Sporting Park and first three-goal loss at home since June 2010.

Sporting Kansas City now sits in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, one point back of D.C. United with nine games remaining in the regular season. The team will next play host to the Houston Dynamo at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, at Sporting Park in a nationally televised rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship. A limited number of tickets remain available via Ticketmaster.com.

– Story from Sporting KC