Hello fellow soccer watching friends! I hope you are all enjoying the 2019 version of the FIFA Women’s World Cup! I know that I am!
Since I am part of working America, I have been doing a lot of my World Cup consumption through the radio when I am driving to and from my job. Thank goodness for satellite radio, am I right? So far everything had worked out well. There has been plenty of coverage for every game and I have been extremely pleased. Until today.
Backstory: I’m driving home from work on Saturday June 22nd listening to the first half of Norway vs Australia during the first day of the knock-out round. I stopped off by my house to do some stuff and made it back into my car for extra time. I got to listen to a good chunk of extra time before I had to run to Target and get a birthday card for my boyfriend’s sister and a wine for me. I got back into the car to soccer playing on the radio but it was not women’s soccer nor was it a shootout.
My satellite radio had betrayed me! It was now playing the beginning of the Guyana vs Panama Gold Cup game. So the CONCACAF Gold Cup is also an important competition but it also happens once every two years and only includes North and Central America. The World Cup, men or women’s, only happens once every four years and includes…the world…or at least the world that qualified.
Now this probably has to do with broadcasting contracts or something but it sure feels like the WWC is getting the slight for a second level men’s competition that happens twice as often. If it was the USMNT game, it might make a little more sense, but it wasn’t!
Two games, where none of the participants were US teams, which one should get precedence? Probably the more important competition. If you don’t agree, that’s okay because we are all entitled to our own opinions (these are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of MLSFemale as a whole). It is common practice in both college and professional sports to finish a game then move to a game in progress. This would be a completely acceptable thing to do in this situation. But this leans to the already open can of worms that women’s sports being seen as second rate to men’s sports.
Frankly, I think that we can do better. Fox Sports Radio satellite affiliate, we can do better. Am I going to keep listening to your WWC coverage, yes, but am I going to be wary as we get into the quarterfinals or semifinals when games go up against the Gold Cup? Absolutely. This is an easy fix, guys. So maybe we should fix it.
Again, all of my opinions are my own and do not reflect upon MLSFemale as a whole. If you agree, disagree, or want to chat about it, you can drop a comment or tweet me.
Hey MLS Female fans, it’s been a hot minute but I’m back! (I have a habit of saying this every article…sorry) In all honesty, it has been really difficult to keep up with being a writer for a team that is halfway across the country. I don’t know how Araceli does it, but she’s great at it! So, I have stepped down from being the Sporting KC reporter. I still plan on writing, just different types of articles. This will also hopefully give you, our readers, some fun content that might not be team specific.
Now, down to business. It’s 2019 and we have new kits to critique! First thing though, I have a bone to pick with MLS and Adidas. Long-sleeved jerseys have been taken from us, and that means all of us. Ilie Sanchez now must bare his arms to the world and I’m not okay with that. Now how will you get you someone who loves you like Ilie loves his long-sleeved jersey? This is a travesty!
Atlanta’s color combo is really solid. The red and black look sharp together, and the gold accents pop and add a touch of class. My favorite part of the jersey is the jock tag in the shape of Georgia. That is classy.
There is a slight problem though. Adidas has introduced this new back panel on some jerseys (the giant black thing) and it makes the Atlanta players look like they’re old-timey prisoners with striped shirts and a cape plastered to their backs.
Oh…and there’s a star now.
My first reaction to these jerseys was not good. Every continued reaction was…not good. These are rough. They’re not that different than the old Valspar design, but something about the Motorola logo makes them look weird. The secondary kit is definitely not as good as the grey ones introduced in 2017. These are both far better than the Quaker jerseys of 2014…yikes.
Chicago, you have one of the coolest city flags. People love it so much! (If you think city flags are cool, check out this Ted Talk) I love it and I’m not from Chicago. You’re our rivals. We frequently chant to burn your city down. Again! (We don’t really mean it) Why can’t you do something cool with that? The Bulls did it, and it was amazing!
Welcome to the league, boys! Let’s see what you brought to the table.
Ummm…these are fine, I guess. Blue and orange is a super cool combo, there is so much potential! But there are a lot of these weird pixelly, stripey, not solid design elements in jerseys this year, and I’m not a big fan. Back in 2017 when Cincy surprised Chicago in the U.S. Open Cup, their jerseys were so good! Everyone loved the USA Bomb Pop jerseys and they were the same, just blue and orange! Bring those back!
…are beautiful! Wear these all the time! I can’t say anything bad about these. The Mercy Health logo is sleek, the inaugural season patch is visually interesting, and the subtle striping is lovely. Well done!
Colorado is only getting new secondary jerseys this year, and they also went with a mostly white design. I don’t like these near as much as the Cincinnati jerseys. The accent at the cuffs and neck along with the burgundy make it look more retro. If they lost the weird grey stripe it would probably be better.
Borussia Dortmund…I mean Columbus Crew
Fun fact: I’m blonde. Another fun fact: I look terrible in yellow. Kate Hudson, I am not. Another fun fact: I love Borussia Dortmund’s jerseys and will stare at them longingly while I wear their black secondary that is far more complimentary to my skin tone.
This is a Borussia Dortmund jersey. They must be moving to MLS and we should all be scared for theirs will be a dynasty for the ages. But, since this looks exactly like a BVB jersey that means I like it.
FC Dallas’ new secondary is way better than their weird half and half ones from last season. Like waaaaaaay better. The Lamar Hunt patch continues to be a nice touch while also looking exactly like the EPCOT ball. I am not a fan of the half collar and cuff. It makes it look like their moms ran out of trim and decided no one would notice the insides of their arms.
The D.C. United jersey took its senior photos in its aunt’s backyard in the ‘burbs, obviously. Regardless of the location, these new secondary jerseys are really good. I love the white and silver. It reminds me of the Sporting KC argyle third alternates from 2015, and those are my favorite. The thing I don’t like is not the jersey’s fault, but the crest is big and obnoxious.
How is DeMarcus Beasley still playing? Does he never age? Will he somehow make the next World Cup roster much to the chagrin of everyone?
It’s hard to make a completely orange jersey look good, and Houston did not succeed. The tiger stripe is weird and the three stripes on the side, paired with the wrong design, makes it look like a jersey for a kids team from the 90s. Just wear the cool black chevron secondary jersey a lot.
This is a birch tree. Why are they cosplaying as birch trees?
What is wrong with Los Angeles? Are they trying to see how bad they can make their jerseys before their ridiculously rich fan bases stop buying them?
The lighter blue vs darker blue works really well, but this pixelated look is not good. Why would you want to purposely make it look like the game feed isn’t buffering correctly? Oh, and the jock tag is so tacky.
Minnesota United is heading into their third season, and they have yet to disappoint on a jersey. Though the Target logo is kind of obtrusive, it never looks bad. The light blue with the white is clean and sharp. This half collar here looks nicer than Colorado’s because it doesn’t have that awkward extra color in there. Nice job, Minnesota. Now give back Ike.
Is this the season of not finishing designs? This looks like they were painting their siding and let the brushes get dry. Lucky for Montreal, this looks better than the Galaxy, Cincinnati, and the fighting Ents (LoTR joke, anyone?…anyone?) The blue with the black is a great color combo. I just wish the stripes went all the way down.
The BMO logo would be better if it was just the letters. The large white circle is rough. The jock tag in the shape of the North Star Bell is a really cute touch.
New England Revolution
I have, in the past, mentioned that The Revs aren’t real. They don’t actually exist, but that’s probably just because they’re living back in 1996 with their crest.
This jersey is so cluttered. The UHC logo is huge! It’s also not interesting in the slightest. It was designed by a robot who had access to two fonts, and it used one for the big letters and the other for the small. He also didn’t understand the spacebar. The weird color sandwich of pastel blue and white looks weird.
So, I just talked about the Revs, but I guess they’re back because these are their primary uniforms in blue, navy, and orange. I do think the stained glass pigeon jock tag is a nice touch. I just don’t know what it has to do with New England…oh this is NYCFC…oops
New York Red Bulls
If you look at the upper third of the front of the jersey and the upper two-thirds of the back then this is workable. Unfortunately, they let the designers from the Matrix put weird unreadable words on the front. They’re supposed to be glitchy, but the only time I want to see a glitch is during a speed run on Twitch.
Oh, and if you forget who they are, you can read their name on the back of their jerseys as they are walking into the off-season after losing in the quarter-finals of the playoffs. As is tradition.
Orlando City is really hoping their fans dig the pattern on their jerseys because that is all they have. That’s not true. These aren’t polos, and that is the best thing about them. They also don’t have the ugly gold shoulder stripes that last year’s jersey had. So I guess I don’t mind these simply because they are not last year’s.
I am torn on these guys. The more I look at them, the more I think they’re alright. I wish there was one more color in either their crest or the sponsor logo. But the light blue rays radiating from the little snake look pretty cool.
This is also the first MLS jersey with a customizable back tag. The back tag is the little guy above the player’s name. The Union held a competition and the fans voted on the winners. Nifty.
The Timbers are masters of camouflage. It is next to impossible to see them when you watch on tv. These do look more vibrant in the light. If you check them out in the promo pictures in front of the Alaskan Airlines plane you can see.
The hoops are a really classic silhouette, and it’s refreshing to see a team use a full accent and not a weird incomplete thing. The gold is rough. Atlanta does gold really well, but they manage to get a real gold color and not the weird off-yellow. This is probably the best jersey Portland has ever had.
Real Salt Lake
Guys, someone spilled spaghetti sauce on my clean white jersey. At least they kept the sleeves clean. They also managed to pull all the color out of the crest. That’s weird. Must be some fancy spaghetti sauce.
San Jose Earthquakes
I give San Jose some flack for naming themselves after a natural disaster that ruined their city (I’m also looking at you, Chicago), but this jersey is really good. I like the clean lines and the one separate stripe at the bottom. I can’t say anything bad about it. Except for the jock tag. It’s dumb.
Seattle is a lesson that a change in sponsor can ruin a moderately okay jersey. Zulily is a great website. I look at it at least once a week, and I buy something from there about once every 50 times I look at the site. Their shipping is too expensive!
So, the primary basically just changed the logo, and now it’s bad. The new secondary is kind of cool if you know the backstory or care about a Cascadia Cup game from five years ago. The pink is an interesting change. I can’t tell if I dig it yet or not, but it is better than the primary.
And now for my boys in blue, Sporting KC. My favorite thing about this jersey is that it has a crew neck. Sporting hasn’t had a crew neck jersey since the hoops in 2014, and as a person who likes neither polo necks nor henleys I think this is a great move.
The light blue is always a good color. They’ve paired it with a color they call “raw grey”. This jersey has gotten a lot of criticism from the SKC faithful, mostly because all the players look like they’ve been run over. I can’t tell if I like it or not. Sometimes I do and other times I don’t, but I do wonder what it would look like with long-sleeves…
The winner for least original jersey combo goes to Toronto FC. They come to the field in 2019 with a red mock turtleneck and a Real Salt Lake secondary that someone scrubbed the spaghetti sauce out of.
Where is the person who designed the 2015 Vancouver jersey? Please find them, bring them back, and let them fix this, or just bring back the 2015 jerseys. So polo collars are bad. These weird jerseys where it looks like they’re wearing a v-neck over a polo are worse. This is literally the worst neckline possible. If you changed up the neckline, Vancouver could go hang out with Chicago in the giant chest hoop club.
I’m just upset with you, Vancouver. You can do so much better. You have done so much better.
The Top Five
5. Columbus Crew Primary 4. Minnesota United Secondary 3. D.C. United Secondary 2. San Jose Primary
And the obvious winner 1. FC Cincinnati’s Secondary
The lesson here: if you have a really clean white jersey with a smart accent color it will be a hit.
The Bottom Five
This one is way harder… 5. Tie: Real Salt Lake’s super fancy ‘sketti sauce 5. Tie: The bottom two-thirds of the new Red Bull’s jersey 4. Vancouver’s unfortunate new collar 3. Houston’s response to William Blake’s “The Tyger” 2. Seattle’s over-priced shipping primary
The obvious loser 1. LAFC ode to a birch tree
There you have it folks, an obnoxiously long article talking about every jersey and TL;DR-ing the ranking at the very end with no pictures. Sorry.
I hope you at least had a chuckle. See you next time!
One of the biggest questions that Sporting KC fans have had for the past few seasons is, “When will Peter Vermes sign a proven goal-scorer?” Well, guys, I think we’re good.
We’re ten games in (oh man…look at those recap articles…insert sad-disappointed emoji here) and not only are we in first place in the west…say that again for the people in the back…FIRST PLACE IN THE WEST! but we are averaging just over two goals per game, and have a +9 goal differential. All of these things are quite awesome. So let’s discuss these guys, and see what might be in store for the rest of the season.
The Top Guys
Johnny “Russellmania” Russell
Johnny Russell came from Derby (Darby) County, and he hit the ground running. If you haven’t seen this guy score in person, then you are missing out. Though I live super far away from KC now, I was able to take a spur-of-the-moment trip up to Chicago to see SKC win against the Chicago Fire. His goal was not only his first for the boys in blue, but it was also gorgeous. Just watch him blast the ball between three Fire defenders, not that anyone would have been able to stop it…
Clinical finishing from SKC's new man, Johnny Russell! And a terrific assist from @DanielSalloi.
That was his first goal, but Russell’s crowning glory so far this season was the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps where he became the 8th player in SKC history to score a hat-trick. The coolest part though is that he is the fastest player to ever get three in one game, clocking in at 48 minutes.
He could have probably scored more, but the Verms subbed him out in the 52nd minute for Cristian Lobato…who scored another goal. A 6-0 win was pretty sweet, guys. When you score three goals in one game you are almost guaranteed to be MLS Player of the Week, so naturally, that happened. Please enjoy this goal-a-palooza.
So, Felipe Gutiérrez was the leading goal-scorer in the league, then he got injured and he was still the leading goal-scorer for another two weeks. That’s what happens when you score five goals in the first five games. Quick side-note: Sporting didn’t score in their first game, so it’s basically five goals in four games.
I would like you to ignore the obnoxious music in this video and watch his field awareness. He knows exactly where the defenders and his teammates are at all times. The goal off of the backheel from Daniel Salloi should have been the goal of the week, but Atlanta United fans stuff the ballot box any time one of their guys is nominated…cough cough.
His reaction time is also crazy. The two goals off of rebounds are sheer perfection. Felipe has been injured basically since March ended. He subbed in against Vancouver but wasn’t on the field for that long, and he’s out now after sports hernia surgery. Depending on how quick he’s back, and how prolific other scorers are, he could possibly still end the season near the top of the leading scorers.
Do you need a guy to take a penalty? (Which SKC are magically getting this season. Not bitter, but we didn’t get one until almost the All-Star break last year. Pepperidge Farm remembers.) Well, we have a guy that can take your penalties. Not only will he make said penalty shot, but he won’t even make a big deal out of it. I wish he could score more, because The Cauldron has a new cheer for Ilie this season, and it is my absolute favorite thing.
My name is…
I’m from Barcelona
I play defensive-mid for the Wiz (THE WIZ)
When I walk down the street
Everyone that I meet
Says, “Hey, Muchacho, what’s your name?”
My name is…
Young Daniel has worked his way back into the starting lineup since Felipe’s injury, and if Saturday’s game was any indication, he’ll fill in fine. Daniel has scored twice so far this season, and he didn’t play at all in one game since he was coming back from international duty in Hungary. I refuse to do a Hungary pun. Refuse!
This guy is still young, and even if he’s not scoring, he provides a spark on the offensive end. He has four assists on the season including a beautiful backheel on one of Felipe’s goals from above. Check out his goal from the game against Colorado Rapids. Not only is the finish great, but literally every single piece of this puzzle is bomb.
So, friends, it’s March. How is it already March? In a week and a half I’ll be on spring break again, but this time I’ll be on spring break in the place where everyone else goes for spring break. So no Disney for me for awhile. Read more here
Also, I’m really sorry I’ve been AWOL for the past few months. This transition to a new school hasn’t been difficult, per say. I have just been far busier than I was at my old school. I promise that I will be here for the season, so if you look forward to my ramblings they will be there.
I could also treat you to a paper on the history and rise of LGBTQ culture in American musical theatre, or a theoretical comparison of Max Richter’s Recomposed and Vivaldi’s La Primavera…if you’re interested. I can also clinic your concert band. But back to soccer.
Sporting KC has made a good bit of movement during the offseason. We lost Latif Blessing to the Expansion Draft, Benny Feilhaber is gone to LAFC for allocation money, and Andrew Dykstra is off to Colorado for a pick in the 2020 Super Draft.
We picked up quite a few players as well. We drafted Eric Dick a goalkeeper from Butler who was born in Roeland Park, KS, and Graham Smith (yes, we have two Grahams) from the University of Denver. We also signed homegrown player Matt Lewis, a defender from Fordham. Lewis, Dick, and Smith seem like they can be solid loans to Sportings USL affiliate the Swope Park Rangers so they can continue to grow and improve.
There are also three new International Players with some serious soccer chops. Yohan Croizet is a midfield/forward transfer from Belgian side KV Mechelen. He has scored 31 goals since beginning his professional career in 2011.
Another new midfielder is Chilean national team veteran, Felipe Gutierrez. Gutierrez has featured in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 Copa America Gold Medal Team, the 2017 Confederations Cup, and 2018 World Cup qualifying. Last season he was on loan to Brazilian team Internacional from Real Betis.
The last international player is forward Johnny Russell from Scotland. He is a proven goal-scorer with 94 professional goals in both England and Scotland. He has spent the last five years at Derby County in England’s second-division. In addition to his 94 professional goals, he has one international goal in his four caps for Scotland.
Many Sporting fans have been worried about having a consistent goal-scoring threat up front. It seemed like Dom Dwyer was going to be that type of player, but he was never able to recreate his success from his pair up with Kristian Nemeth. Diego Rubio and Gerso Fernandes are both working their way toward that level, but neither has quite reached where the team needs them to be yet.
Russell could be that guy. He has the experience, so if he can translate those skills to MLS he could be a major threat.
Another player to be excited about is veteran MLS player Brad Evans. He comes to SKC as a free agent from the Seattle Sounders where he was part of four Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Championships and one MLS Championship. He is also a former member of the US Men’s National Team having started five matches in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying and competing in two CONCACAF Gold Cups. He will add some depth to a defensive line that took a hit with the departure of Saad Abdul-Salaam to NYCFC and the waiving of Kevin Ellis.
I am optimistic about the season. SKC’s defensive line plus Tim Melia was the strongest in the MLS last season and with the growth of Gerso and Diego Rubio and the addition of Johnny Russell I can see this being a successful season for boys in blue. Ben Baer from MLS.com thinks we’ll finish 3rd in the West. Let’s show him what’s what, guys. Oh, Captain My Captain, Matt Besler says it’s time for more trophies, so let’s bring some cups home to KC.
The new alternate jersey is straight fire. I’m 100% serious. The Men in Blazers even think so.
Trust @MenInBlazers when they say you need to get your hands on this new kit. Must be the English accents.
Good evening, Sporting KC fans! It’s been a bit hard for me to write articles during school season, so I decided that I would let you in on what goes through my brain while watching a game on TV. This is roughly what I do on Twitter, but I might ramble because I have more than 140 characters so… oh, and I was at a concert for the first half, so this is only the final 45 minutes. We’ll see if that turns out to be a good thing.
If you don’t want to read my rambling thoughts then you can TLDR to the end for some takeaways.
How did we spend the entire season near the top of the table, and then at the end sink to fourth? That is unacceptable. We need to get back ahead of Seattle and Seattle South (Portland).
Peter Vermes is the best-dressed coach in the league. If you disagree you can @ me, and we can have a grown-up discussion about it.
Second half underway. Leonardo Machado may have pushed Zusi out of bounds, but whatever.
BENNY! Ugh, so close. Jimmy Medranda feeds the ball straight to Feilhaber who kicked it into the shin of the keeper, Mr. Beard Man. He looks like he needs a razor and a What Not to Wear makeover.
They keep showing the Houston coach. He looks a little bit like an angry uncle.
Benny yelling a bad word on camera. I’ll let you guess which one.
There is going to be a fight by the end of this game. I can feel it.
I have said this before, and I will say this again. If your name is really common (like Alex) you can’t just put that on the back of your jersey. There are too many Alexes for you to claim it for just you.
I wonder what Tyler Deric‘s middle name is? I love when people have first names as all of their names.
Ilie won Sporting KC’s Newcomer of the Year, and there is no one more deserving. This team would not be the same without him.
“This ball falls to Medranda” who then promptly actually fell.
I love when soccer commentators say “Went to ground” when someone falls like the players are plants or something.
How is Mr. Beard Man in the way of every shot? Move Beard Guy! I would like a goal please. Also, VAR, that ball may have been in.
Roger Espinoza almost killed a guy. It was kinda awesome.
Benny’s ankle turned in a way that ankles are not supposed to turn. He has had some bad luck with ankles this season.
Sidenote: husband just returned with Chinese food!
Jimmy Medranda with a great chance, but his cross is missed by both Rubio and Salloi. Besler‘s pass to Medranda was a beauty!
The ref just got nutmegged. That was kinda funny.
An SKC player ends up on the ground in the box, and there is no call. Half of the season in a sentence. The other half would be: Sporting made 3 million shots on goal, and none went in, but they were really good at passing.
Why is Tyler Deric Tim Melia-ing tonight? Geesh!
Diego Rubio just had a gorgeous strike, but it was deflected off Machado and flew over the bar. The bad words are happening in the Arpin household.
Ilie fashion update: After a season of black boots Ilie has moved to a pair of bright orange ones. He is also still in his trademarked long sleeved jersey. Find you someone that is as dedicated to you as Ilie is to not showing his arms.
So in the 82nd minute, Sporting was making an attacking run, and the ref got in the way and made us lose the ball. Not cool man.
22 shots so far. None in the goal. #2017
Bes motioning for the ref to hurry up and pull the yellow card is my new spirit animal.
Ike Opara just headed the crap out of a Dynamo corner kick, and it was the bravest move I may have seen all year. He had that terrifying concussion earlier this season. There is a good amount of concussion checking for both SKC and Houston.
Sporting needs to get their crap together because Seattle and Seattle Jr. are both killing it tonight. At least Vancouver drew.
Hey Houston, want to actually throw the ball in? Do you need a handwritten invitation?
Go go go go go go go go go…or kick it to the goalie. That’s cool too.
This ref has been so in the way!
Please score. Please! Just something! Anything! How is everything such an almost?
And there was almost another fight!
Ball right in front of the ball twice and no goal! How?!? Why?!? I am disgusted and annoyed at Sporting’s inability to score.
So here are my takeaways from this game, and the last game, and the majority of this season.
If we can’t start scoring goals we will not make it far into the playoffs. I don’t understand how SKC can score in the US Open Cup, but not in any other game. It’s not for lack for putting the ball on goal, but it’s about getting it past the keeper. There is no excuse for what is going on. Sporting can defend, pass the ball, dominate possession, anything but score. It boggles my mind.
The defense was on it tonight. Besler came back from the Men’s National Team with a score to settle, and he was holding it down. He was getting the ball to Zusi and Medranda all night, but unfortunately, nothing came of them. Zusi was controlling the game from the wing, Ike was a commanding presence in the middle, and Lobato was alright… Dykstra did a great job tonight too. There was rarely a time when I felt the goal was threatened.
With the draw tonight, Sporting KC has officially qualified for their 7th straight playoff appearance which is the third-longest streak in the MLS. SKC fans are looking forward to the next game against RSL to hopefully clinch home-field advantage for at least the first playoff game.
INTO THE PLAYOFFS THE DUMBEST WAY POSSIBLE LETS GOOOOOO
Hello. I’m Kirsten Arpin, and I am a fan of Sporting Kansas City. I was born in Topeka, KS, and moved to Kansas City, MO when I was 11 years old. I have also lived in Lawrence, KS, Manhattan, KS, and Lee’s Summit, MO. None of these places are farther than an hour and a half from Kansas City.
This summer I moved to Orlando, FL for school. Orlando is 18 hours away from Kansas City, without stopping. It has been a huge change from what I’m used to. I used to be able to go to any Sporting game I wanted! Now I’m relying on my in-law’s cable subscription to watch via the interwebs.
This may have been the hardest part of the move for me. I mean, I miss my family, and I miss my friends but being a Sporting KC fan is part of my identity. It is so important to me. I didn’t get to be a part of any of the U.S. Open Cup games this season, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have great memories that they have brought me.
When SKC took on Minnesota United on June 14th I was in Colorado for the University of Colorado’s conducting symposium. It was an amazing experience! I watched that game on my phone in a bar while eating a pulled pork sandwich and donut holes from a food truck. Shoutout to the Sporting KC Uphoria team who gets the game up on the website so we can watch from afar.
This can’t be just me, but whenever I’m by myself in public and following games I am accidentally loud. There are quite a few looks in my direction, and then I have to explain myself to people who are not Sporting KC fans. My husband was at this game, and he said the atmosphere was absolutely crazy. When you can get that many fans to the stadium for a USOC early round game it is pretty awesome. They also got to see a 4-0 win, so that’s not too shabby.
The next home game was against FC Dallas on July 11th. We finished packing our moving truck and left for Florida on the 10th, so we were still driving when this game kicked off. We got to my cousin’s house in Windermere (about 10 minutes from the Magic Kingdom) by the time the game actually started.
For those of you who didn’t watch, this game didn’t start until extra time. That was when the magic happened. We got to see the two goals by Latif Blessing, Ike getting kicked in the head, and Daniel Salloi sealing the win in the 118th minute. It was my husband’s birthday, and SKC clinching a trip to the USOC semi-finals was one of the best presents he could have gotten. That and the Sporting dress socks I got him.
For the semi-final game against the San Jose Earthquakes, we watched at our new apartment in Winter Park. Sidenote: Florida, for having no winter, sure puts it in a lot of its city names. Winter Park, Winter Garden, Winter Haven, Winter Beach.
This game was tough because Sporting was playing from behind almost immediately thanks to a goal by Danny Hoesen. Luckily, Diego Rubio brought SKC even about half an hour in. The rest of the game was super stressful, but all that stress was for naught because it ended up in penalty kicks.
In Kansas City, there is a love-hate relationship with penalty kicks. They do well with them in USOC games though, and this game was no different. After an uncharacteristic miss by Benny Feilhaber, Sporting made the rest of their PKs including one where Matt Besler slid to the ground afterward.
The hardest part of this game, personally, was how late it was. I’m still not used to this Eastern Timezone thing. The USOC games were starting at 9:00pm here and, with extra time and PKs, the win came around midnight. Trying to unwind after that made for a long night and an early morning.
I was looking forward to the final for weeks, and I was even more hyped after Sporting’s win against New England Revolution the week before. My colleagues got to hear about my love of Sporting for days, and they are probably sick of it. This game was perfectly timed after marching band rehearsal, and both my husband and I were able to get home in time to watch almost all of it. I would like to point out that marching band rehearsal here lasts until 8:30pm, which is so crazy late! Coming from Kansas City where rehearsals happen in the afternoon it was a big shift.
There were so many emotions coming into this game. My little sister got to go and did an awesome Instagram story for MLSFemale. My husband and I were watching from home wishing we were there. When that final whistle blew it was so emotional.
Seeing a team that I love so much win the cup was amazing, but knowing that I couldn’t be there to see it in person hurt. I miss Kansas City every single day, but on SKC gamedays I miss it so much more. That’s my home. That’s my city. That’s my team. I cried that day, and I’m crying now while writing this.
There are some awesome friends back home who know what we’re going through. Big shoutout to our Twitter diva Dayna for going live on Periscope during the trophy celebration and while Bes was painting the wall. It gave me all of the feels.
Hey MLS fans! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a month or so. If you’ve read some of my past articles then you know that I moved to Orlando this summer to continue my Master’s Degree in Wind Band Conducting. Well, since my last article, I have worked four weeks of band camps, and am getting ready to start school.
Sporting KC is also back! They were in a bit of an MLS slump with two draws against beatable teams, a loss, and a 3-2 win against Chicago Fire. The results of these four games led them to fall from first place in the Western Conference. But guess what? Sporting is back, baby! With Saturday’s win against conference foe, FC Dallas, Sporting has reclaimed some of their US Open Cup magic for the MLS season, and landed back at the top of the table!
Throughout the trials of the season, the one place Sporting hasn’t let up is in the US Open Cup. There are many teams that don’t put their all into the US Open Cup. They see it as an annoyance as opposed to an opportunity; which is something that Peter Vermes will never do. If Sporting is going to go for something then they are going to go all in. There was another team that went all in, and it was Cincinnati FC. Sorry New York Red Bulls, but no one wanted you to win that game. I do understand though that if Cincy had won that game, no one would want us to win the final… so hopefully we get the Cincinnati fans behind us on this one! I bet Mitch Hildebrandt and Tim Melia would be super good friends, so for that reason, cheer for Sporting! *wink wink
Sporting’s last game against FC Dallas came after a tough loss to Seattle Sounders. When Sporting went to Seattle, Vermes decided that it would be a good idea to rest a good chunk of the starters, and despite the result, I agree with his decision. The players that started all three games in the 8/6-8/12 span (Tim Melia and Matt Besler) ended up playing 300 minutes in one week. That’s pretty insane. Looking at the Starting XI that Sporting fielded against the Sounders and seeing the 1-0 scoreline makes me feel pretty good. Vermes can field a team that is not his best and can go into the game knowing that they can hang with the reigning MLS Champs at their house.
Now to the awesome game against FC Dallas! Sporting has been relatively weak against crosses this season, so it was finally time for them to get one of their own. In the 42nd minute, Graham Zusi‘s feed from the corner found its way to Diego Rubio and into the back of the net! I’m going to put this video in here…mostly because the background music makes it way more lit.
Two of the five @MLS Goal of the Week nominees came from @cmpark on Saturday!
Zusi assisted again on Gerso’s stoppage time goal that solidified a Sporting KC win! Last Saturday was a pretty special day for Sporting. It was their 100th straight sellout at Children’s Mercy Park, and they celebrated the whole week by getting different players’ favorite games at CMP. If you go back through Sporting’s media based tweets from the past week you can find all of them, but I’m going to go with Benny‘s game because it is the best.
Graham Zusi’s birthday was last Friday! He celebrated by winning! The MLS gave him a great present by putting him and his best friend forever, Matt Besler, on the Team of the Week!
Speaking of Zus, his stat line from Saturday was straight up fire: 2 assists, 7 key passes, 73 touches, 49/50(98%) passes, 7 crosses, 8 recoveries, 3 clearances, 2 tackles. He was named Man of the Match, btw.
Another awesome thing about the game against FC Dallas is that both of the goals were nominated for Goal of the Week!
This weekend Sporting starts a streak of three away games at Houston, NYCFC, and Columbus. It will be a tough test, but Sporting has been pretty alright away from home this season. They’ll get to come home again in mid-September for three straight home games and the US Open Cup final! To get you hyped up for that, here’s the video that US Soccer made of the game!
If you’ve been to a Sporting KC game then you have surely heard the Cauldron sing:
“Oh when the Wiz go marching in. Oh when the Wiz go marching in. Oh how I long to be in that Cauldron when the Wiz go marching in.”
“Ooooh KC Wiz! KC Wiz! KC Wiz! KC Wiz! Vamos KC!”
These chants echo back to a single season from the beginnings of a humble little sporting association called Major League Soccer.
The MLS was officially founded as an LLC in 1995. The reason for founding the league was because the United States promised to start a Division 1 professional league as a stipulation of their successful bid for the 1994 World Cup. It would have been pretty silly to have the World Cup in a country without a highly competitive professional league.
Kansas City sportsman extraordinaire Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, was one of the founding investors of the MLS, and he owned two of the original ten chartered teams. Hunt wanted to bring more to the sports culture of Kansas City, so he started the Kansas City Wiz. The Wiz even played their home games at the home of the Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium. Mr. Hunt also owned the Columbus Crew and in 2003 purchased the Dallas Burn who are now FC Dallas. Mr. Hunt was such an influential figure in the US soccer community that in 1999 the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) renamed the US Open Cup to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The Wiz were officially named a charter member of the MLS on June 6, 1995, and it took them four months to name former Crystal Palace player and Arizona Sandsharks manager Ron Newman as the first ever manager of the team. Newman was the first coach hired into MLS service, and he brought his son former San Diego Sockers (Major Indoor Soccer League) player Guy Newman with him as an assistant coach.
October of 1995 was an exciting month for the young MLS. The Wiz named Newman as a coach on the 11th, and MLS Unveiled, the first televised MLS programming, was simulcast to all ten MLS market cities on the 17th. At MLS Unveiled each team released their inaugural kits, colors, logos, and their first allocated player.
The event turned out to be pretty ridiculous. The league let the uniform manufacturers have too much say in the team names, colors, logos, and jerseys. That’s how the Tampa Bay Mutiny ended up with a mutant bat. Personally, I think The Wiz ended up as the winners of the name, color, and kit categories. There ended up being a problem with the name, but we’ll get to that later. The Wiz’s first ever allocated player was national team member and St. Louis native, midfielder Mike Sorber.
In December, January, and February, The Wiz were allocated one player per month. The player for December was former US national team forward Frank Klopas, January’s player was Zimbabwe national forward Digital Takawira, and the last allocated player was future Sporting Legend and future US national team member Preki. The rest of the players vying for a spot on a roster went to a combine and then to the draft where The Wiz drafted national team midfielder Mark Chung.
The Wiz’s first season was pretty exciting. In their April 13th home and season opener, The Wiz won their first ever game defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-0, with Digital Takiwara netting a brace. Three games later, on May 2nd, The Wiz and the Columbus Crew took part in one of the highest scoring games in MLS history. The two teams combined to score 10 goals with KC taking the win at 6-4.
Preki and Mo Johnston both scored twice with Sorber and Chung each getting a single goal. After losing their next four games, which took place over a 15 day streak, The Wiz traded wins with their opponents for the next eight games. That set of games was bookended by a game against future Sporting KC coach and player Peter Vermes and the NY/NJ Metrostars. The Wiz won the first game 2-1, but fell to the Metrostars 0-2 in the second game. The second game against the Metrostars also ended a five game scoring streak by Preki.
The Wiz had a successful inaugural regular season with 17 wins, 15 losses, and 0 draws as draws weren’t actually allowed in the first seasons of the MLS.
*Since the league was “experimental”, the founders decided to try a few rule changes from regular soccer. They thought that American fans would be bored by draws, so they implemented a shootout at the end of tied games. If a team won the game they would get 3 points, the losing team would get zero points, and the winning team in a shoot-out win would get 1 point. Another weird rule change was that the time clock counted down to zero as opposed to counting up to 90.
Their record qualified The Wiz for the playoffs. They defeated the Dallas Burn two games to one in the Western Conference Semi-finals before losing to the LA Galaxy two games to zero in the Western Conference Finals.
At the end of their first season The Wiz were in a bit of a bind. There was a company in a different industry that already had been named The Wiz, and they sued The KC Wiz for use of the trademark. After a little digging I found that the trademark was most likely held by a small electronics chain from the northeast called Nobody Beats the Wiz. Since they weren’t allowed to continue with The Wiz, Kansas City officially changed their name to the Kansas City Wizards at the end of their first season. Thus ending the short life of the KC Wiz, but laying the foundation for the Sporting KC we know today!
I’m not one for complaining about refs. It makes us (the royal us) sound like a bunch of whiny homers, but today I will represent whiny homers everywhere!
This season we have all been PROed! I don’t think this is a controversial statement. The MLS even has a whole youtube video series about missed/questionable calls!
This season has been fraught with PKs both warranted and unwarranted. There have been 68 PKs attempted so far, and of those 68, 53 have been made (Tim Melia has blocked 1/5 of the missed PKs btw. That’s pretty cool.)
A few PK stats: Teams with the most PKs attempted are Toronto FC and Portland Timbers (see the dive above) with 7. Teams with the fewest PKs attempted are Sporting KC and San Jose Earthquakes with 0, because you can’t attempt less than zero. Though if the refs found a way to give Sporting a negative PK then they would have. Sorry. That may have been a bit too on the whiny homer side.
Though there have been 68 PK attempts I bet we can all think of multiple times this season where our teams have deserved a PK that they weren’t awarded. One that really stands out to me was from Sporting’s game against the Timbers when Gerso was pulled down from behind when a Timber’s defender grabbed him by the shoulder.
Watching the play from the (extremely biased) Cauldron one could see that Gerso immediately puts his uninjured arm up to call for help. The referee though looked straight at him and waggled his finger no and ran off. The non-foul was so harsh that it dislocated Gerso’s shoulder. My sister, a certified athletic trainer, said that the hardest way to dislocate a shoulder is for it to be pulled out backwards. That is the direction Gerso’s shoulder went. He left the game, and didn’t start the next one.
Later that game though, Tim Melia was called for a penalty when he used his wizard powers to make Fanendo Adi trip. He must have used magic, because he sure didn’t touch him. Luckily, Timmy blocked the PK for his third PK save this season. It was a nice karma moment. If you believe in that sort of thing.
Now, I’m not saying that all the PKs given against Sporting are wrong. The call against Benny for his foul on Philly’s CJ Sapong was completely warranted. The call against Bes when he “pushed” Vancouver Whitecap‘s Fredy Montero was not. Tim Melia going studs up against DC United‘s Julian Buescher was also warranted. Tim saved those last two penalties as well, btw. Please feel free to share your opinions, thoughts, and commentary below.
Sporting defender, Ike Opara, was kicked in the side of the head by FC Dallas forward Max Urruti. We thought Ike was finally going to have a full healthy season after being plagued with injuries throughout his career, but that is obviously not the case. When you watch the play you can see Ike immediately go limp in the air, and fall to the ground.
We received some information that the kick was so severe that Ike may have been seizing on the pitch before he was stabilized. After being strapped to a stretcher, he was able to give a quick thumbs up while he was taken off the pitch. Urruti went to the SKC locker room post game to check up on Ike’s condition which was a pretty classy move.
Ike was released from the hospital on Wednesday morning, and he had his sense of humor back per his tweets. He was diagnosed with a grade 3 concussion, and the team trainers don’t expect him back for at least a month.
Soooo…what'd I miss? 😉
Big thanks to the EMTs, KU med, trainers, doctors. Thank you to all for the love and support. Always means (1/2)
Sporting KC has a starter in the All Star Game! Defender Graham Zusi was selected by the fans to the All Star Starting XI. His defensive compatriots, aka one of the best centerback duos in the league, Ike and Matt Besler, were not selected, but could still be named to the full roster along with Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer, Gerso, and Tim Melia. Can we all agree that Tim Howard being in the Starting XI over Tim Melia is absurd? If you check out this article right here, you can see that everyone loves the good Tim. The right Tim. The Tim you could take home to your mother.
American Citizen Dominic Dwyer has scored two goals for the USMNT in two games. He is basically killing it. Dom, Zus, and Bes all started the first two games of the friendly + Gold Cup schedule, and were effective. There were some defensive blunders in the Panama game, but it was insanely hot in Nashville. Hopefully, the guys get back in for the game against Nicaragua. But since none of them played on Wednesday no one can blame them for the mediocre showing the US had against “international soccer powerhouse” Martinique.
Adorable Hot Take:
Watch this Instagram slideshow of Latif Blessing hugging people! It’s adorable!
I have officially moved to Orlando, Florida. It is so hot and humid here! If it wasn’t for the rain (every damn day) the temperature would be unbearable. Luckily, the rain cools it down…at least until the sun comes back out and makes it all steamy again.
Sporting KC doesn’t play again until July 22nd when they take on Real Salt Lake in Utah, so the guys have been getting a much needed rest.
Oh man! It has been quite a month, guys! The hubs and I are packing to move from Kansas City to Orlando, and in the middle of that I spent a week in Colorado for a conducting symposium. Not going to lie, but Colorado was AMAZING! I did have to miss the first US Open Cup game, but Sporting KC handled that pretty easily…and Andy Edwards said that I got the good side of the deal, so I’ll take it.
Since it’s been awhile, and we have a lot of ground to cover…here are some Top Fives of June!
Top Five Games
5. June 17, 0-0 Draw at San Jose Earthquakes: No offense, San Jose, you’re not very good. This should have been a win for Sporting, but one point is better than no points.
4. June 10, 1-1 Draw against Montreal Impact: Sporting was ahead in this game thanks to Gerso, but a careless pass by sub Soni Mustivar led to a goal by Manteo Mancuso. Augh!
3. June 28, 2-0 Win at Houston in the USOC: The first half of this game was pretty boring actually. There was one great chance with Gerso crossing a ball in from the end line, but Jimmy Medranda‘s shot went off the crossbar and Cameron Porter‘s rebound shot went over. Things we found out…Cameron Porter has mad ups. Ike Opara‘s 4th shot in the last 6 games, and Gerso’s stoppage time goal sealed this game for SKC.
2. June 24, 2-1 Win at LA Galaxy: This game had a lot of highs, and one really big low. Roger Espinoza smashed a shot from 30 yards out, and Diop decided that punching the ball away would be smarter than catching it…he was wrong. Then 5 minutes later, the #IkeBike happened! LA’s goal in the 77th minute was not enough to get them back in the game. The worst thing that happened in this game was the Nathan Smith‘s egregious tackle on Benny Feilhaber. Smith somehow escaped with a yellow card, and Benny thankfully escaped with only a sprained ankle.
1. June 3, 3-0 Win against Minnesota United FC & 4-0 Win against Minnesota United FC: Both of these games were awesome! I also like winning by a lot, so there’s that. In these games we had Saad Abdul-Salaam‘s first ever MLS goal, Daniel Salloi‘s first goal for SKC, Roger Espinoza’s 200th game for SKC in all competitions, Dom Dwyer becoming SKC’s leading goalscorer in the US Open Cup, Erik Palmer Brown‘s 2017 debut, and the most important, Soony Saad Abdul-Salaam! June 3rd was also our Pride Night!
Those were actually all the games in June…I cheated a little…
Top Five Facts and Tidbits
5. Nathan Smith received an after-the-fact red card for his tackle on Benny Feilhaber in the game against the Galaxy. This is the fourth time that a red card/suspension has been given to a Sporting opponent after the game. That sucks.
4. Sporting had three players called up to the USMNT for the Gold Cup! This is not the greatest thing for the team, especially when we’re making a big push in the US Open Cup and Benny Feilhaber is out for who knows how long. It is still a compliment to your team and your players. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi got called up again, and American Citizen Dom Dwyer was called up for the first time as one of three forwards. They play on July 1st, 8th, 12th, and 15th.
3. Sporting is still doing their theme nights! The last one I shared was their Russell Westbrook night, which was epic. In the past month they have done both Hat Night and Jorts Night.