D.C. United visits Sporting KC tonight in clash of Eastern Conference leaders

Sporting Kansas City will play host to D.C. United at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

The match will be televised on KMCI’s 38 The Spot and SKCTV. Fans can listen to the match on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM. A limited number of tickets are available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or the Sporting Park box offices on game day.

Sporting KC has earned victories in six of its last eight matches against D.C. United including an undefeated record at Sporting Park (4-0-0). In those four matches, Sporting KC has secured three shutouts and conceded just one goal.

With 42 points, Sporting KC (12-6-6) is tied for first place in the Supporters’ Shield standings with the Seattle Sounders. D.C. United (12-7-4) boasts 40 points.

The match also features the two best defenses in Major League Soccer. Sporting KC leads MLS with 23 goals allowed and a 0.96 goals against average in 2014, while D.C. United ranks second with 26 goals conceded and a 1.13 goals against average.

Both teams are projected to start homegrown goalkeepers on Saturday. Twenty-one year-old Jon Kempin has appeared in Sporting KC’s last two matches earning back-to-back Save of the Week honors and Bill Hamid leads MLS with a save percentage of .758.

Fabian Espindola’s 16 combined goals and assists (eight each) are fourth-most in MLS entering the weekend behind only Robbie Keane, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer. The English striker has16 goals (second most in MLS for goals scored) and one assist in 2014 including two penalty kick goals in Sporting KC’s last MLS match, a 4-1 victory over Toronto FC. D.C. United earned a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium in the team’s most recent MLS outing.

Both teams are coming off midweek CCL matches. Sporting KC earned a 1-1 draw in Nicaragua against Real Esteli FC with Toni Dovale’s leveling the match in the 16th minute. D.C. United earned a 1-0 victory against Jamaican side Waterhouse FC, with Eddie Johnson scoring the lone goal in the contest.

Johnson will be unavailable for selection by head coach Ben Olsen as he serves the second of a two-game suspension for violent conduct toward defender Carlos Salcedo in the 30th minute of D.C.’s match against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 9.

Fans are encouraged to allow additional time for parking on Saturday due to Throttle Fest KC. Visit SportingKC.com/parking for an updated parking map. Additionally, the first 10,000 fans to arrive at Sporting Park will receive a roller banner. Supporters are permitted to bring one 20-ounce sealed water bottle due to heat advisory. The bottle will be uncapped at the gate.

For in-game updates, visit SportingKC.com/GameOn or follow @SKCGameday on Twitter.

– Story from Sporting KC

T-Bones beat Sox in slugfest

Kansas City outlasted Amarillo on Wednesday night in a 7-6 victory at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.

The T-Bones took an early lead in the second inning of what would turn out to be a back and forth ballgame. Following a Ray Sadler single, Bryan Sabatella wasted no time extending his 13-game hitting streak, shooting a double to deep center field and scoring Sadler. With his hit, Sabatella matched Robby Kuzdale for the longest hitting streak on the club this season.

The T-Bones tacked on three more runs in the third. Vladimir Frias led off the inning with a triple and later scored when Danny Richar grounded out. Matt Padgett and Ray Sadler then hit back-to-back solo home runs, extending the Kansas City lead to 4-0.

Amarillo stormed back in the fifth, scoring five runs on Kansas City starter Joe Van Meter (1-1). Former T-Bones player Kyle Nichols put an exclamation point on the frame, crushing a three-run home run to left field and putting the Sox in front, 5-4. It was the 200th career home run for Nichols, who spent part of 2013 with the T-Bones.

Kansas City took the lead right back in its half of the fifth. T.J. Mittelstaedt led off with a walk and then scored when Richar doubled to left field. Sabatella grounded into a fielder’s choice later in the inning, scoring Richar and putting Kansas City back in the lead. The T-Bones tacked on another run before the inning came to a close with Kansas City in the lead, 7-5.

Van Meter’s only hiccup was Amarillo’s five-run fifth. He tossed 6 innings and picked up his first win with Kansas City. Ryan Rogers (1-1), who came on in relief in the fifth and only threw seven pitches, took the loss. Kris Regas allowed the tying run to reach third base in the ninth, but managed to secure his 18th save.

With the win, the T-Bones move to 40-48 on the season, while the Sox fall to 31-55. Kansas City begins a four-game series at Gary SouthShore (47-42) Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 1660-AM or watched live online at tbonesbaseball.com.

Box score: http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/boxscoretext.html?gameid=178183
– Story from T-Bones

Sporting KC plays to 1-1 draw with Real Esteli in CCL action

Sporting Kansas City recorded a 1-1 road result against Real Esteli FC on Tuesday night in its opening game of the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League at Estadio Independencia in Esteli, Nicaragua.

After conceding in the sixth minute, Sporting KC leveled the score 10 minutes later with a perfectly placed free kick from Antonio Dovale in his CCL debut.

Real Esteli FC now leads Group 2 with two points from back-to-back home draws while Sporting KC and Deportivo Saprissa share second place in the standings. The group winner, determined after the four-game round robin group stage, advances to the quarterfinals.

Having traveled more than 2,000 miles from Kansas City to reach the Central American destination, Sporting KC fell behind early when Daniel Da Silva found space behind the backline on the left side of the penalty area.

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin — making his third consecutive competitive appearance in the aftermath of injuries to Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum — slid low to make the initial save but the rebound ricocheted off the body of Jorge Claros amid his recovery run and carried across the goal line.

The visitors quickly earned the equalizer within 10 minutes time on a free kick drawn by Graham Zusi. The MLS All-Star stood over the ensuing set piece as a decoy while Dovale struck a bending, left-footed shot over the wall and inside the near post.

The 24-year-old now has two goals in all competition for Sporting Kansas City since signing from Spain’s La Liga earlier this year. Dovale becomes the 18th different goal scorer for Sporting KC all-time in international competition.

Real Esteli FC nearly capitalized on a dead ball opportunity of its own in the 27th minute only to see Eduardo Praes’ header carom off the outside of the post. The Nicaraguan champion outshot its MLS counterpart 11-5 on the artificial surface but failed to find a breakthrough goal for its first-ever win in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Kempin — the fifth goalkeeper to appear in a competitive international match for the team in club history — made two strong saves to preserve the point, including a sprawling stop in the 53rd minute to deny Da Silva from close range. The Leawood, Kan., native was called into action again in the 81st minute to push away Juan Barrera’s first-time volley at the far post.

Sporting Kansas City’s best opportunity to claim the game’s decisive goal came in the 74th minute. Second half substitute Benny Feilhaber delivered a free kick into the penalty area that twice changed directions due to deflections but was eventually smothered in front of the goal line by Real Esteli FC goalkeeper Justo Lorente.

Tuesday’s 1-1 draw was a repeat result from the previous meeting between the two sides on Sept. 17, 2013, at Sporting Park in the 2013-2014 edition of the competition. Sporting KC is now 6-4-5 all-time in the CONCACAF Champions League with three games remaining in the group stage: Sept. 18 vs. Deportivo Saprissa, Sept. 23 vs. Real Esteli FC and Oct. 23 at Deportivo Saprissa.

Sporting Kansas City will return home to resume the MLS regular season at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Aug. 23, when the league leaders play host to D.C. United at Sporting Park in a clash of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. A limited number of tickets are available for the match and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com.
– Story from Sporting KC