Sporting KC signs midfielder Victor Munoz

Sporting Kansas City announced on Tuesday the signing of 23-year-old Spanish midfielder Victor Munoz.

He will be added to the team’s roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

“Victor is a player we saw in college and had train with us last year,” manager Peter Vermes said. “What we liked about him was that the style of play that he played over in Spain is something that definitely fits in with the way that we play. It’s a good addition to our team and a young kid who we hope can grow into our system.”

“I am very excited to join Sporting Kansas City,” Munoz said. “I trained here last summer and enjoyed everything about it, from the players to the environment. The team understands how to play the game the right way and I think this is the perfect place to continue my development.”

A native of Madrid, Munoz spent eight years in the Real Madrid academy system and was a member of Spain’s under-15, under-16 and under-17 youth national teams. After being recruited to Celta de Vigo’s academy, Munoz moved to the United States in 2010 to pursue a college education.

As a freshman at Iona College, Munoz was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year with five assists for the Gaels. Munoz then transferred to UCLA and helped the Bruins reach the NCAA College Cup with eight assists in his sophomore season en route to recording three goals and 26 assists during his collegiate career. His eight assists in 2013 led all UCLA players and he earned second team All-Pac 12 recognition as a senior.

Following his participation in the 2014 MLS Player Combine, D.C. United traded up to draft the left-footed Munoz in the second round (No. 29 overall) of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. He appeared in four games for D.C. United during the 2014 preseason but was released by the club last month.

Sporting Kansas City’s roster will feature 28 players under contract upon the addition of Munoz.

Zusi voted MLS Player of Week

Graham Zusi

Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City has been voted Major League Soccer Player of the Week.

Zusi, a midfielder, scored the opening goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Colorado before providing the game-tying and game-winning assists in the come-from-behind road victory.

The 27-year-old put Sporting KC ahead 1-0 in the 50th minute, beginning the scoring sequence by winning the ball inside the defensive half and outracing Rapids defender Marvell Wynne over the course of a 60-yard run for a first-time finish inside the six-yard box.

Zusi has 18 career goals in MLS competition and Sporting KC improved to 14-0-1 when he scores in the regular season.

Zusi has 33 assists in his MLS regular season career, fourth most in club history, and his 0.34 assists per 90 regular season minutes played ranks second best among Sporting KC players all-time.

Since the start of the 2011 season, Zusi is one of only two MLS players with at least 30 assists and 15 goals along with Houston Dynamo captain Brad Davis.

On Sunday, Zusi joined the U.S. Men’s National Team along with Sporting KC captain Matt Besler ahead of Wednesday’s international friendly against Mexico.

Sporting KC rallies for 3-2 road win at Rapids

Dom Dwyer
Graham Zusi

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer scored in the second minute of second-half stoppage time to give Sporting Kansas City a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Goals from Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber canceled out a pair of penalty kicks from Colorado Rapids midfielder Vicente Sanchez as Sporting Kansas City earned their first regular season win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with more than 800 traveling supporters in attendance.

Across all competitions, Manager Peter Vermes is now 6-0-5 during his coaching career against the Rapids and Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in the team’s last 11 matches in the series.

The first three shots of the match all came in front of Rapids rookie goalkeeper John Berner. The St. Louis, Mo. native came off his line in the 13th minute to thwart Paulo Nagamura.

The ensuing corner kick from Graham Zusi connected with Sal Zizzo at the far post, however his header was off target. Ike Opara threatened then with a header of his own five minutes later off a Matt Besler throw-in only to see it carry over the crossbar.

The Rapids responded in the 22nd minute through Sanchez. The Uruguayan playmaker evaded Oriol Rosell and slipped a pass to Nick LaBrocca inside the six-yard box. The first-time shot had Eric Kronberg beaten but was cleared in front of the goalline by Besler.

Kronberg made two saves in as many minutes to deny Colorado the game’s opening goal.

In the 30th minute, he dove low to his left to corral a free kick from Dillon Powers only to then be tested by Edson Buddle moments later that required a sprawling stop to his right on a shot from 20 yards out.

After a scoreless first half, Saturday’s contest came to life with five goals in the second half. Sporting Kansas City took the lead in the 50th minute on a well-worked combination that started with Paulo Nagamura’s through ball for Zizzo on the right flank. The Sporting KC newcomer delivered a pinpoint pass for Zusi to tap in at the backpost.

With the goal, Sporting Kansas City improves to 14-0-1 in MLS competition when Zusi scores. The sixth-year pro will now join the U.S. Men’s National Team, along with Besler, for Wednesday’s international friendly against Mexico.

Sporting Kansas City’s lead would last only 10 minutes as Colorado was awarded the first of two penalty kicks on the night. Sanchez stepped to the spot and powered his penalty kick off the hand of Kronberg but into the back of the net.

Aurelien Collin replaced Opara due to injury before the restart and nearly scored on his first touch of the game. Zizzo’s volley from outside the area came to Collin inside a congested penalty area and was re-directed just wide of the far post with a hopeful backheel.

Powers came close for Colorado in the 73rd minute on a cross from Shane O’Neill and five minutes later it was O’Neill who was brought down inside the penalty area to set up the Rapids fifth penalty kick in their opening three games of the season. Sanchez again proved successful, converting his fourth PK of 2014 to take the lead in the Major League Soccer goal scoring chart.

Sixty seconds later, Sporting Kansas City equalized through the foot of Feilhaber. Zusi’s left-footed cross was met at the backpost by Zizzo, who played a header back toward the goalmouth. Feilhaber’s persistence paid off, sending his shot off the hand of Berner and across the line with a second attempt.

Colorado would play the game’s final 10 minutes shorthanded after Marvel Wynne was sent off upon receiving his second caution of the match in the 85th minute. Sporting Kansas City capitalized on the advantage and it was Dwyer that provided the offensive spark after entering in the 83rd minute.

His first shot of the game curled inches wide of the far post in the 88th minute and his second was the game-winning goal in the 92nd minute. Feilhaber split two Rapids players with a pass centrally to Zusi, who spun and fed Dwyer at the left corner of the 18-yard box.

Dwyer dribbled at Rapids captain Drew Moor, creating enough space to unleash a shot beneath the crossbar and into the top of the netting at the near post for his second straight MLS match with the game-winning goal.

Sporting Kansas City, atop the Eastern Conference pending other Week 4 results, will next play host to Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, in an MLS Cup rematch at Sporting Park.