Sporting KC plays host to Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup rematch on Saturday

Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake meet on Saturday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., for the first time since MLS Cup 2013 last December.

Saturday’s match will be televised on 38 The Spot and SKCTV across the Midwest with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. Additionally, ESPN 102.9 FM (English) and La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish) will provide live broadcasts from Sporting Park.

Heading into week five, both teams currently sit in second place of their conferences with four games played. Real Salt Lake (2-0-2) remained unbeaten under new head coach Jeff Cassar by handing Toronto FC their first loss of 2014 last weekend, defeating the Canadian side 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium courtesy of goals from Alvaro Saborio (2) and Luis Gil.

Sporting KC also scored three goals in its last outing to secure a 3-2 road win over the Colorado Rapids. Graham Zusi had a goal and two assists in the victory, earning MLS Player of the Week honors, while Dom Dwyer’s stoppage time game-winner was named MLS Goal of the Week on Friday.

Sporting KC edged out Real Salt Lake 7-6 in the longest penalty kick shootout in MLS Cup history last season, after a 1-1 draw through extra time. Of the 22 starters from MLS Cup, all but Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, who retired two days after hoisting the Philip F. Anschutz trophy, have returned for the 2014 season.

Sporting KC is 5-1-3 (including playoffs) all-time against Real Salt Lake in Kansas City, with the lone loss in August of 2009, and hold an 8-5-3 advantage in the regular season series. The visitors will be without forward Robbie Findley (R knee) as well as the MLS Castrol Index’s top-ranked player in 2014, Joao Plata (L hamstring), while Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong (neck strain) is also sidelined due to injury.

On Wednesday, five players from the two teams started for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a 2-2 draw against Mexico. Sporting KC’s Matt Besler and Graham Zusi earned caps in the international friendly alongside Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Tony Beltran. All are expected to be available for Saturday’s match.

For ticket information, visit or the Sporting Park box offices.

Police investigate shooting of two persons

Police are investigating the shooting of two persons in the 2700 block of North Early Street.

According to a police spokesman, officers responded at 11:49 a.m. April 5 to North Early on a report of a shooting.

They found two gunshot victims, a male in his 30s, and a male juvenile. Both were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, the spokesman said.

The police are asking anyone with information to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

School finance bill passes House

While the Legislature returns to session on Saturday, April 5, to finish its work, including work on school finance, some progress was made on Friday night.

The House passed a bill Friday that was a compromise endorsed by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Democrat.

The bipartisan effort on Senate Bill 218 passed 91-31. Rep. Broderick Henderson and Rep. Valdenia Winn, Democrats from the Wyandotte County delegation, voted against it.

“The school finance bill that passed the Kansas House today (Friday) with bipartisan support increases funding to Kansas schools by $83 million and includes $74 million of property tax relief,” Gov Brownback said in a statement. “I am pleased with the broad bipartisan support for a plan that puts money into the classrooms where it best benefits students and teachers.

The bill as passed made cuts to programs that assist students older than 19 and students who are part-time.  Rep. Jim Ward, a Democrat from the Wichita area, said that even though he voted for the bill he was disappointed in the elimination of the at-risk services for these students, and he hoped that the conference committee would restore these funds.

“Poor urban school districts spend a great many resources keeping at risk students in school. Many of these students have to work. These students take an untraditional route to graduation but they do graduate. The finance formula should not punish districts that help these kids,” he said in a statement in the House.

The House also changed its plan to dip into retirement funds from the schools to pay for school finance, and also restored proceeds from the sale of Rainbow Mental Health facility in Kansas City, Kan., to mental health services. Instead, funding for school finance is coming from the state’s general fund.

The Kansas National Education Associated stated that it had opposed a change to licensure that would “lower the standards for teacher licensure in Kansas” and had opposed the expansion of the “innovative district” program. Those provisions were left in the version the House passed.

The House and Senate will work on their differences in the bill in a conference committee.