Sporting KC ties Toronto FC

Sporting KC vs Toronto on May 23 in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by William Crum)

by William Crum

At last night’s game Sporting Kansas City tied with Toronto. The score was Sporting Kansas City 2 and Toronto 2.

One of the reasons the game ended in a tie was that two of the key players were away training with the World Cup championship to be held in Brazil.

According to coach Peter Vermes, “With what we had to work with, I’m really proud of the guys. They all did a fantastic job. I’m really proud of them.”

The player that made the goals for Sporting Kansas City was Dominic Dwyer, No. 14.

“The whole team tried as hard as they could. We all work together to get the job done, however Montréal is a tough team to beat. This is why the game ended in a tie match. I’m really proud of my team members,” Dwyer said.

The next game will be next Tuesday night and Sporting KC is getting prepared for it. Vermes said he hopes Sporting KC will win that match.

The next game will be held at 7 p.m. May 27 at Sporting Park. They will play against the New York Red Bulls. This game is expected to be one the most challenging games ever in the history of Sporting Kansas City, as the team is without two of its key players.

(Photo by William Crum)

Sporting KC takes on Toronto Friday in KCK

Sporting Kansas City (5-4-2) plays host to Eastern Conference opponent Toronto FC (4-4-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The match will be broadcast on KMCI 38 The Spot and SKCTV with coverage beginning at 7 p.m., as well as on Univision Deportes nationally in Spanish. A limited number of tickets are available for fans to view the match live from Sporting Park and those can be obtained by visiting Ticketmaster.com.

Friday’s match is one of seven in the month of May for manager Peter Vermes’ side and the first of two at home during a five-day span. Sporting KC will welcome the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Sporting Park in a clash of the top two teams from the 2013 MLS regular season.

Heading into Friday’s contest, Sporting KC sits in third place of the Eastern Conference despite dropping back-to-back matches for the first time since August of 2013. Most recently, Sporting KC fell 2-1 at Chicago after conceding two first half goals from the penalty spot and playing a man down for the final 26 minutes of the match.

Dom Dwyer put the visitors on the board with his 68th minute goal, just four minutes after 17-year-old centerback Erik Palmer-Brown was ejected for his second yellow card. Palmer-Brown became the youngest player in MLS history to start a match on defense and will miss Friday’s match as he serves his mandatory one-game suspension.

Dwyer leads Sporting KC in goals this season with eight, one behind League leader Bradley Wright-Phillips (9) for goals scored in MLS in 2014.

Toronto FC is seeking its first postseason berth in 2014 and was extremely active in the offseaon after the hiring of new general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, who spent the past three years as the senior director of player relations and competition with MLS. Bezbatchenko played a major role in acquiring three new designated players: U.S. Men’s National Team standout Michael Bradley, former West Ham United FC striker Jermain Defoe and Brazilian striker Gilberto. Defoe leads the team in goals scored with four this season, including the game-winner in Toronto FC’s 2-0 victory on Saturday over the New York Red Bulls, while Gilberto is seeking his first goal of the season.

U.S. Soccer announced its final roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Thursday, with Bradley selected alongside Sporting KC’s Matt Besler and Graham Zusi on the 23-player squad. All three are with the National Team in Palo Alto, Calif., and will be unavailable for Friday’s MLS match-up.

– Information from Sporting KC

Besler, Zusi named to U.S. final roster for World Cup

Matt Besler

Graham Zusi

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi were named to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s final roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday.

“There is no surprise on my end. They have proven themselves over the course of qualifying that they have been integral parts of getting the team to Brazil,” said Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes. “Since we drafted both players, you always knew the potential was there to be high level international players. The most rewarding aspect is that because of the effort of both players year after year and their constant pursuit of excellence has paid off in a fantastic way in that they will have the opportunity play in the biggest sporting event in the world.”

The United States began preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on May 14 with a training camp at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. The United States will next play three matches as part of the team’s Send Off Series: Azerbaijan on May 27, Turkey on June 1 and Nigeria on June 7.

The U.S. MNT will arrive in Brazil on June 9 ahead of the 32-team tournament, to be held from June 12 – July 13. Ranked 14th in the latest FIFA rankings, the U.S. was drawn in Group G of the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside Germany (No. 2), Portugal (No. 3) and Ghana (No. 38).

Besler, 27, has made 14 appearances for the United States since debuting in January 2013, including six FIFA World Cup qualifiers and all three knockout round games en route to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship. He most recently appeared alongside Zusi in the United States’ 2-2 draw against Mexico on April 2, and the U.S. is 9-1-3 with Besler in the starting lineup.

The Overland Park, Kan., native was named Sporting Kansas City’s captain prior to the 2014 season, his sixth as a professional after being selected eighth overall in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame. Besler has appeared in 145 MLS matches (including postseason) in his career, earning MLS Best XI (2012, 2013), MLS All-Star (2011, 2013) and MLS Defender of the Year (2012) honors.

Zusi has earned 20 appearances for the United States with three goals and four assists in his international career. He scored in the final two FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, highlighted by the game-winning goal against Jamaica at Sporting Park, to secure a first place finish in the Hexagonal for the United States.

Over six professional seasons, the 27-year-old playmaker has played in 142 MLS matches (including postseason) with 18 goals and 40 assists. Zusi recorded a career-high six goals and a team-best 12 assists in all competition in 2013 and was the top-rated midfielder in the MLS Castrol Index. The Maryland alum was an MLS MVP finalist in 2012 and nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS to go along with MLS All-Star (2012, 2013) and MLS Best XI (2012, 2013) recognition.

U.S. 23-player World Cup roster

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

All-time KC players at FIFA World Cup
1998: Preki (USA), Uche Okafor (Nigeria)
2002: Tony Meola (USA)
2006: Eddie Johnson (USA), Jimmy Conrad (USA), Josh Wolff (USA)
2010: Roger Espinoza (Honduras)
– Information from Sporting KC