Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sporting Kc Lose Against New York Red Bulls

It's good that Sporting has a week off before they play LA Galaxy because after their 1-0 defeat against New York, they'll need it to address some issues. 

Sporting KC played like the last place team in MLS tonight. Which they they still are. But, there are positives. 

Quick Wrap Up:
The last place team in the MLS took on the first place team in the Eastern Conference. And as you would expect, the last place team lost. Specifically to a 22' minute goal by Englishman Luke Rodgers. But, SKC was arguably the better team in the second half. 

Lineup Changes:
There were some major changes in the lineup for SKC tonight. Specifically, Aiyegbusi for Espinoza at left back, Cesar for Besler at central defense, Zusi for Stojcev at center attacking mid, and Auvray for the suspended Diop at center defensive mid. Originally I thought the reason Vermes had started Aiyegbusi at left back was meant to match the pace of Dane Richards, which Aiyegbusi did. But, as we learned later in the game, it was because Espinoza had contracted some type of flu at the last minute. The switch at center back was because Vermes thought that they needed a calmer center half to deal with NY's attack. The other changes were due to suspension and the need to freshen up the team that had lost two times in a row before coming into Red Bull Arena.

Player Performances:
You have got to give the man of the match to Jimmy Nielsen. He was absolutely sensational back there, making some very, very crucial saves when SKC needed them the most. That's what you need in a goalkeeper, someone that can keep you in the game and provide inspiration to the rest of the team. The other top performers for SKC would have to be Smith and Collin. Smith because, after he came in for the non-existent CJ Sapong, he was brilliant and provided the width and dribbling that SKC needed. And Collin because he was a commanding presence at the back and provided some nice blocks and the energy that KC have desperately needed the last couple of games. Also, I give a nod to Julio Cesar who, after some terrible performances earlier in the season, came into his own this match.

  • Defense definitely looked more improved this week
  • Smith is back in the squad and is looking very good
  • Collin is the answer to our defensive woes
  • Diop didn't play...
  • We only lost 1-0
  • We lost
  • Sapong looked like a ghost
  • Bunbury tried to do it all on his own
  • Midfield underperformed
  • We are still last in the MLS

Final Summary:
In the end it's another loss. There's no way of sugar coating it, in the end we're in last place, in the end we didn't score. But, in the end we're one game closer to our home opening, in the end we can know that Bravo is closer to the starting XI every week, in the end we know that not many other teams, in fact, none have to start the season with a 10 game road trip. So yeah, we lost to the best team in the East 1-0. But that's just it, who else can say they went to Red Bull Arena and lost by only one? No one. Certainly not the San Jose Earthquakes who were thrashed 3-0 a week ago. 

The best thing SKC can do now is, reorganize and maintain the goal set before the season, that is, to come back home with a minimum of 10 points. Luckily we have a chance to do that, with the bye given to us this week, we can refocus and try and get results in the final stretch of this away trip. I just hope that in two weeks time when we face LA Galaxy and David Beckham, we're ready.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sporting Kc To Take On Red-Hot New York Red Bulls

The Set Up
As mentioned in the title, NYRB is on fire. They've scored 7 goals in the past 2 games, 3 of those goals coming from French International Henry. And now, a tired Kansas City defense that has let in 2.4 goals per game, will try and stop the likes of Henry, Rodgers, and De Rosario. Furthermore, how good of a forward line do you have when Juan Agudelo is coming off of the bench for you? A pretty good one.

But, there is hope. Aurelien Collin, for me, played very well last week. That is, until the whole red card disaster that arguably gave New England the advantage over SKC. Also, who else thinks Besler is making very good progress at center back? I do. He's started every game this season and has really improved since last year's campaign.

New York's Threats
This game will be the toughest game SKC have played this season. There is no question about it. For starters NYRB's new defender and Norwegian International Jan Solli is in fine form. Along with De Rosario who will play in the CAM role for NY and will definitely look for his first goal of the season. Richards is always a threat on the right wing, as is the highly underrated player, and Estonian International, Joel Lindpere.

The Projected Starting Lineup


Sapong                                                                                     Kamara

                             Arnaud                           Stojcev


Espinoza                                                                                 Harrington

                             Besler                              Collin        
Subs: Kronberg, Myers, Thomas, Rocastle, Zusi, Aiyegbusi, Smith

Smith could definitely start over Sapong, but unfortunately he's not 100%. Those who are for sure out of the game are as follows: Diop(suspension), Bravo(injured), Warzycha(injured). Also, Lorenz could be in the subs in place of Myers. Other than that the most powerful, athletic, and fastest front line in MLS should be firing on all cylinders. Smith is the only forward out of 4 to not score, which is a good sign.

Score Prediction
SKC 2 - NYRB 2,  (Kamara, Bunbury), (Henry, Agudelo)

Final Summary
Soccer is such a fantastic game because of one fact, any team can beat any team, anywhere. One thing is for certain though, this game will be a high-scoring match. Sporting enter as last in the Eastern Conference with 4 points and New York enter as top in the East with 11 points, however, SKC have scored a goal more this season than NY has. Honestly this game could end in a tie for either team, it just matters who will play with more aggression, let's just hope that it's our Mighty Blues that walk away with three points.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The History of the Horror Tackle

I will not be showing any pictures of any broken legs on this post, look it up on Google if you have a solid stomach.

Almost a week since Mullan's "horror tackle" on Seattle Sounder's midfielder Steve Zakuani and people are still trying to recover from the severity and horrendous nature of the tackle that snapped Zakuani's leg straight in half.
But this is, unfortunately, the nature of the game we love.

A couple of years ago there was major controversy in the EPL (English Premier League) that the FA (Football Association in England) was not doing enough to protect their players, something that Arsene Wenger has been arguing about for 3 years. The controversy came after one of the worse tackles that I've personally ever seen, i'm excluding David Busst's career-ending injury because I didn't witness it live. Anyway, like I said, a couple years ago I was watching Arsenal vs. Birmingham City and I witnessed a very, very sad thing to see. I saw one man (Martin Taylor) break another man's leg (Eduardo da Silva). I really would prefer to not describe the injury, as i'm sure many of you are OK with.

This however, began a debate that is still a hot topic around England and Europe, and something Arsenal has had to go through an astounding three times, Aaron Ramsey being the latest of the three. Other top professionals in the world of soccer have undergone the same terrifying injury and then the slow, painful recovery. Arguably, altering their careers forever, i.e.(Henrik Larsson, Djibril Cisse, and Preston Burpo).

Now the same freak accident that we've unfortunately seen one too many times in soccer, has happened again, as stated above. And now, Brian Mullan finds himself, according to, distraught and out of MLS action for 10 games. He won't be available for the Rapids until June 26th. 

The best explanation I can try and give for these types of "freak-injuries", is this:
This is somewhat of a natural occurrence in the soccer world (believe it or not, soccer is a contact sport), that in most occasions occur on accident and without pre-meditation.

Obviously there are things players can do to avoid getting in these types of challenges, here are a few:

  • For starters, no two footed challenges, ever. 
  • Also, never go after players standing legs when making a tackle. 
  • Furthermore, the player with the ball at his feet needs to stay on his toes, to avoid injury.
  • Stricter refereeing policies, after all their job is to protect the players. 
  • Referees need to realize when the game is getting out of hand.     

I realize that sometimes, players cannot avoid this. Sometimes these tackles are simply just part of the game.

But, if players and referees can try to follow these easy guidelines we will hopefully never have to see sensational footballers, like Zakuani, experience a season ending injury again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Real Salt Lake's Quest For CONCACAF Champions League Glory

Real Salt Lake's road in the CONCACAF Champions League will end tonight. Whether they win or lose, this is it, the final game. However, should they win against Monterrey tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, they will become just the third MLS team to win the tournament, following DC United's win in 98' and Los Angeles' win in 00'. 

But, they will become the first MLS team to play in the FIFA Club World Cup Championships, should they win. In 2005 after the FIFA added in the four other world football confederations, (including CONCACAF) to the previous competition which specifically was held just for teams in the UEFA and CONMEBOL champions league tournaments. Now, MLS teams can participate, although they are not given a bye straight to the semi-finals, like UEFA and CONMEBOL teams, they still have a chance to go up against the world's elite. 

This is what MLS side Real Salt Lake are trying to do. An obviously successful run in the tournament this year, saw them beat top sides like Columbus and Mexican giants Cruz Azul. 

After tying Monterrey down in Estadio Tecnologico exactly a week ago in the first leg of the final, RSL head into the final game brimming with confidence and having the away goal advantage on their side. 

RSL might just pull off something special tonight, which, by the way, will be broadcasted on FSC at 9pm CT.
Even if RSL don't win, they've shown that MLS is a successful and prominent league that is capable of producing world class teams. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sporting Kc Will Appeal Aurelien Collin's Red Card

Today Sporting Kc announced officially on twitter that they will appeal the red card that was given to their newly transferred defender, Aurelien Collin, on Saturday's match against New England, which Sporting lost 3-2.

This comes after much speculation by fans of SKC and the poor decision by MLS to not include the replay of the incident with the highlight reel on

This follows a growing trend seen in Europe, mainly the EPL, to appeal red cards given to players on controversial calls. However, over there it's accepted, here in MLS the card can only be appealed if there was a mistaken identity of the player receiving the red card by the ref.

In SKC's case this might actually work, seeing as the card should have been given to Birahim Diop, after he lightly shoved Benny Feilhaber, not Collin. The team will know whether the league has accepted their appeal plea by midweek.(Wed.-Thurs.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sporting Kc Lose Against New England

Sporting KC are officially last in the MLS standings. After some other results around the league and a 3-2 loss to the New England Revolution tonight in Foxborough, SKC find themselves as the laughing stock of MLS. I never thought that would happen this season. Really sad to see that stat because to be honest, SKC deserve a lot better. However, even with a win Sporting would have only had 7 points. Bringing them to 6th in the Eastern Conference.

The Game
Tonight SKC will be kicking themselves. They had a chance to go to a scarcely populated Gillette Stadium and get a decent result. But, like last season, they didn't.  At halftime it was 1-1. By the 94' it was 3-2.

A couple days earlier leading up to the game New England received a boost to their midfield with the signing of Benny Feilhaber, who looks to create one of the best central midfield partnerships with Grenada international Shalrie Joseph. Feilhaber didn't look to good tonight except for his decent layoff to Perovic for the first goal of the game. Furthermore, there wasn't necessarily anything that KC did wrong in terms of defending that first goal. You can't blame every single goal on someone (EXCEPT HARRINGTON WITH A TERRIBLE ATTEMPTED CLEARANCE), sometimes it's just pure class.

Moving on, there were chances for both teams early in the game, Sporting set their tone early, but it was Perovic who struck a cracking goal to start the game off, as mentioned earlier. Then, two minutes later Kamara, with an entry pass from Bunbury, hit a beautiful skipping ball, beating Matt Reis to his near post, tying the game at 1-1. Not many chances for Sporting after the goal, or New England for that matter, except for a point blank shot that Davy Arnaud, who is still looking for his first goal this season, shot, and hit Reis in the legs, and so the teams entered the half all square.

 After the beginning of the second half Sporting got decent possession, as they did in the first half. But this half Sporting started the goal scoring fiasco first. In the 68th minute, after some decent possession and some Bunbury trickery, SKC were given a penalty. I will not discuss how the penalty was given because of what the ref does later on in the game that gives Revolution fans somewhat of an equal call. Anyway, Kamara stroked the penalty in beautifully to Matt Reis's right, and SKC lead for the first and last time in the game.

In the 71' SKC gave New England a goal. A free-kick was given in between the halfway line and the 18 yard box. Mansally curled it towards Joseph who was marked by Kamara but Kamara didn't do much in terms of showing the strength we all know he possesses to challenge for the ball with Joseph, but the big Grenadian turned it in with his head and it was tied up at 2-2.

The next thing that happened was so controversial it's funny. Off of a corner kick in the 76', taken by Zusi, Collin challenged high in the air for the ball when Matt Reis came out to clear it and the French defender collided with the Revs keeper. Both fell to the ground and there was immediately a mob of people around the two players. Feilhaber was pushed down and somehow Collin was sent off even though Diop was the one who pushed Feilhaber down, which I obviously felt was the wrong decision by the ref, who is trained by US reffing officials, not MLS, to overly-protect the goalkeepers, even though Collin committed no foul.

This card gave the Revs a way back into the game, and they sure did take it. A ball was played in on the right side from Zack Boggs who found Lekic perfectly and after a header from Lekic, beating Nielsen, the game was done and over. 3-2.


  • Sporting's newly signed defender, Aurellien Collin, brought more stability to the backline
  • Ryan Smith looked good after he was brought on as a sub in the dying moments
  • The "unprecedented" and "unheard of" road trip is half way done
  • Bravo's much needed return is getting closer every week
  • LIVESTRONGSPORTINGPARK is coming together quite nicely now


  • Sporting sit bottom of MLS after 5 games on the road
  • Collin will miss the next game against New York
  • Sporting lost, enough said
  • Sporting have to face SEA, COL, NYRB, and LAG in the next 5 matches
  • Nielsen looked seriously out of it tonight
Sporting's man of the match: Kei Kamara

Two goals to his name, some nice crosses, and a nicely converted penalty kick, Kamara was easily Sporting's man of the match.


Friday, April 22, 2011

The Future Sporting Fans of Kansas City

It occurred to me yesterday that there are people out there, who are as old as MLS(like me) (14-16 years old). Hence, we've never known anything else besides MLS. We've never known previous leagues in the USA like the NASL. This generation of fans will one day be the leaders of supporter groups across the nation.

Currently the largest and most known group of supporters here in KC are the KC Cauldron. They are a vibrant and well organized supporters group and attend every SKC home game, they also have cheers and chants that they boast and yell loudly so everyone in the stadium(including the players) can hear.This group has been around since the days of the original "The Wiz" and have since represented KC soccer in the best way.

The group of supporters, such as the Cauldron, have obviously known many different leagues here in the US. But have also known MLS. Like I stated earlier, the newer group of supporters are reaching "reasonable" age to actually chant and be with the Cauldron. This is exciting because the newer group have also only ever seen the Cauldron, which is great because the bar for supporting Sporting, as a fan, has been set.

Who knows where our club will be in twenty years. They could be competing in one of the best leagues in the world (future MLS). They could be producing the next international soccer star from their youth system. They could and will be bringing home the MLS Cup every year. As far as the Cauldron goes, most of them will be in between the ages of 40-60. Although they will still be in the Cauldron until they are bedridden the current members will also make room for the newer generation that bring with them the memories of their forefathers and brethren (current Cauldron members) but also the memories of only watching the MLS which, will in turn, spread the game throughout the country and help bring KC soccer to a new level that has never been seen before.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MLS Check Up 5 Weeks In

Yesterday (Wednesday) marked 5 and a half weeks of MLS action since the opening weekend on March 19 (I'm excluding March 15, the actual start of MLS). So far we've seen a lot, even though we're only about 15 percent of the way into the 2011 regular season.

 MLS players have already scored for a combined total of 107 goals in 44 matches. An astounding 2.43 goals per game so far. Sporting KC surely have had something to do with that ratio, on both ends, attacking and defending.
Top Goal Scorer: Charlie Davies(DC)(5 goals)
Most Assists: David Chiumiento (Van)(4 assists)
League Leaders: Real Salt Lake(12 points)
League Losers: Chivas USA(3 Points)
Largest/Lowest Attendance: La Galaxy @ Seattle Sounders (36,433) / Portland @ New England (7,114)
Average Attendance: 17,529

Best Team So Far: Real Salt Lake
Currently sitting at the top of the MLS conference, RSL have been one of the more dominant teams thus far in the season. Real's home has again proved to be a fortress, as they went undefeated in Rio Tinto last season and are undefeated so far this campaign. They are currently in the CONCACAF Champions League Final against Mexican Side Monterrey. A huge accomplishment for the club and MLS. If that doesn't persuade you into thinking that they are truly the best team in MLS, well, consider this: In 4 games this season RSL have won all of them, conceded just 1 and have scored 7.

Worst Team So Far: Chivas USA
At least there's no relegation(as SB Nation puts it) is the best way to describe Chivas dismal season so far. Bottom of the league with 3 points(all from ties) and just 3 GF(goals for) thus far justifies my pick of Chivas USA for the unwanted title of "Worst Team So Far". If Chivas are to turn their season around they must find a focal point for there attack, and soon. Justin Braun will not be the answer this season.

Most Interesting Storyline And Most Impressive Player: Charlie Davies
9 months ago Charlie Davies was involved in a terribly horrific car crash which almost took his life. Now after painful recovery and a somewhat of a failed Sochaux career, he's back in the US playing for DC United. Although a large chunk of them have been penalties Davies has scored a league leading 5 goals. Which has helped his club tremendously after a disappointing season last year for DC. His road back has been very impressive and he deserves to be at the top of the goal scoring charts.

Most Disappointing Player: David Beckham 
I know, I know, "How could you possibly put David Beckham as the worst player this season?", "He's the best on the Galaxy for sure!" is what some of you are thinking right now. But notice, the title isn't worst player, it's "Most Disappointing". Beckham has had 3 assists thus far in 6 games and no goals. He has received an astounding 5 yellow cards. For a DP that you're going to pay 6.5 million annually for, and who was at one point arguably the best player in the world, this just isn't good enough. His match fitness has been poor, and it's just sad to see him play sometimes, hobbling up and down the sideline with the acceleration speed of a cow. My un-pro and amateur advice on how to get back into the form we saw two seasons ago? Play more of an attacking right mid role, shoot from outside the box more often, and don't track back as much to cover Franklin at right back. 

Most Interesting Stat
Remember that one guy that scored 18 goals last season, was nominated for MVP of the season, and was rewarded with a USMNT appearance? Ya him, Chris Wondolowski.
He hasn't scored a single goal this season.

Well, that's the short and dirty summary of an interesting MLS season so far. Check back in at the halfway point and we'll have an update on the season's progression then too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

EA Sports FIFA 12

As some of you know I am an avid FIFA 11 player. I don't care about my online rank, virtual pro rank, offline stats or Ultimate Team leader boards. Well, maybe just a little bit.

Last Monday EA Sports released this

The first screenshot ever of FIFA 12, which confirms what many people already knew, there will be another FIFA installment in the already large and popular FIFA game franchise.

The new game is huge for Sporting fans because of the new logo, kits, players, and stadium that EA will be adding into the game. If you've been on FIFA 11 lately you should have noticed that several players are missing (Stojcev, Cesar and Collin to name a few) from the Sporting Kc squad. This is largely do to the fact that EA just simply hasn't updated the latest squads.

This can be really frustrating as the April/Spring/MLS transfer window recently closed on April 15th, and I would've expected EA to at least update the players we got in late Feb and early March. If you looked at LA Galaxy's squads or NYRB's squads, you'll notice they've all been updated and are current. I wouldn't be surprised if EA updated the squads before June. I'd be even more surprised if EA doesn't update them before FIFA 12 comes out in late September/ early October which is about a month after the larger Summer transfer window closes.

Either way FIFA 12 should be just as good, if not better than its previous installments.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Arsenal vs. Liverpool Game Recap

6th place Liverpool took to the pitch this morning at Emirates Stadium to face 2nd place Arsenal for an absolute dramatic and head-turning Barclays Premier League match. The setup and pre-match hype could not have been better, Andy Carrol scored two goals last weekend at Anfield was rewarded with a start for his newest club Liverpool, and 1st place chasing Arsenal looked to close the 5 point gap between them and league leaders Manchester United. 

There were plenty of chances for both teams throughout the game, which was expected, as both teams have built somewhat of a rivalry between the two clubs, who have been in the top 4 of the Premier League together for many seasons, set a fantastic high tempo match. Some crucial saves from Reina to deny Robin Van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner late on and a header from Laurent Koscielny hitting the bar in the first half were the only "major" goal scoring oppurtunities. Until stoppage time when the real fun began.

If you turned off the TV or switched the channel because of boredom you missed out on a treat. Because of injuries to Jamie Carragher and some other Liverpool defenders earlier in the match, there was an unprecedented 8 exuberant minutes of stoppage time added on to the second half. In the seventh minute of stoppage time Arsenal were awarded a penalty as Jay Spearing brought down Cesc Fabregas in the penalty box. Robin van Persie stepped up to take the penalty kick and slotted it to Reina's left beautifully. The commentators and spectators had dubbed the goal as the last kick of the game and gave Arsenal the win that would put them within touching distance of league leaders Man United. 

But there was more, some clever passes from Luis Suarez and Dirk Kuyt edged Liverpool into the final third and their trickery was rewarded, a Liverpool free kick was given just outside the penalty box. Suarez tried to bend the resulting free kick around the 7 man Arsenal wall, but was blocked. Then, after the block from the free kick, the ball was bouncing in Arsenal's penalty box and Lucas Leiva reached it first, ahead of Emmanuel Eboue who clobbered over Leiva and Liverpool was given a penalty kick in the dying moments of the game. With literally the last kick of the game Dirk Kuyt converted the penalty for Liverpool and broke Arsenal's fans   hearts as thousands in Merseyside  cheered on the Dutch captain. 

This goal may have just broken Arsenal's hopes of a Premier League title this season but all is not lost as Arsenal will take on Manchester United in 2 weeks time. If Manchester United drop points and Arsenal win their remaining five games (including the match against Man U) the may have a shot at winning the title.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sporting KC Lose Against Columbus

I know it's early in the season but Sporting KC just looked bad tonight against Columbus, whom they lost 1-0 too, off of a 53' minute Robbie Rogers goal. The game was back and forth up until the goal and after that the chances for SKC were limited. Some really bad individual performances from some of the Kansas City players tonight in the cold, rainy Crew Stadium led to the end result.

There are so many aspects of tonight's game that it's hard to pull together an overall summary, so let's just start from the 1st min. and work our to the 90th.

In the beginning of the game both teams found it hard to keep the ball down and get some decent possession. It was really sloppy on both sides of the field, Sporting KC had some early looks but Hesmer came up big with some crucial saves. Up until the half the game was really pretty open, both teams had an equal amount of chances but SKC were not on the same page with each other.

After the second half started up I began to feel that Columbus was getting some decent possession and some decent shots. Then Robbie Rodgers scored. After re-watching the goal I noticed a couple things. First off, I absolutely dread having Diop play in the CDM role, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Auvray or Rocastle start there next game against New England. Anyway, the goal is set up after a half-hearted clearance by Besler, falls to the feet of Kevin Burns, Burns crosses to Duka who cleverly flicks it on to the path of Robbie Rodgers who slots it in from a tight angle just out of Nielsen's reach. If you look at the replay our two holding midfielders, Arnaud and Diop, are standing literally a yard away from each other and neither of them attempts to close down Burns.

After the goal the game spiraled downward from there for SKC. Bunbury looked completely lost up top and had few chances to shoot. Nielsen had a terrific point blank save that kept us alive in the game, and i'm gonna tell you right now that that will be a save of the week nominee. Julio Cesar had a horrid night and was ejected in the 72' minute because of a handball that apparently blocked a dangerous scoring opportunity for Columbus. After that, and the substitution of our captain and leader Arnaud, you just sort of knew we weren't gonna get another one to tie it all up.

Usually I don't like to blame the referee for a loss. But tonight you kinda have to. It wasn't just calls that didn't go our way, there were questionable calls favorable for us that we didn't deserve. I'm all for getting new refs into mls and growing a new generation of referees for FIFA, but that was just terrible reffing tonight. Now, when I watch an SKC game I expect the best referees, not some young guys that are given my favorite teams' game as a chance to prove themselves and get some experience in th league. I don't even think he reffed in the reserve league before today.

Well, disappointing loss tonight, as they always are. Some of the worst performances in my opinion were those of Cesar, Diop and Bunbury. The best performers were Nielsen, Thomas, and Besler. One more note to add: after the half I didn't even notice that Espinoza was on the field.

The best thing SKC can do now is lift their head up and look to an easier game at New England where we should have the services of speedy winger Ryan Smith and recently transfered defender Auerelien Collin.

Sporting Kc vs. Columbus Game Preview

Tonight at 6:30 pm central time on KSMO the Mighty Blues will take on the Columbus Crew. The crew have been in somewhat of a rebuilding period, they've either traded or lost Hejduk, Padula, Schelotto, Moffat, and Lenhart, some of the best performers from last season. However Renteria and Marshall have turned in good performances the last couple of games as has Columbus' star player Andres Mendoza.

The unbeaten Crew will face a rested and re-energized Sporting Kc. Sporting will definitely look to win this game but traditionally Columbus' stadium is a very tough place to go to and get something out of, it should be interesting.

Now then, we turn our attention to SKC's lineup. Sporting haven't had too many injuries this week, although I   definitely know Bravo is still out. My best guess at a lineup would be this:

                     Sapong                                                                      Kamara

                                        Stojcev                            Arnaud


                    Espinoza             Besler            Cesar            Harrington

Subs: Kronberg, Shavar, Sassano, Rocastle, Zusi, Diop, and Myers

At the weekly press conference Vermes expressed concern about Marshall on set pieces. Marshall is a massive athlete and I honestly have no clue who would mark him on set pieces. This is where I think we could use a guy like Collin who we recently bought in the April transfer window. He's 6'2 and good in the air, our tallest outfield player is Kamara and he's 6'3 but not the best jumper. Unfortunately neither of our starting center backs are too tall, Besler(6'0) and Cesar (6'.5), and neither have shown that they are areal threats. Too bad Collin won't be traveling with SKC this week.

A win would move SKC into 2nd in the East, yes second! (with a game in hand). A win for Columbus would see them move up into second place in the East as well.

Overall it should be a great Eastern Conference match-up and should be very intense. My final (sorta bias) prediction: SKC take it 3-2. Goal scorers: for SKC, Bunbury(2) and Kamara(1), for The Crew, Mendoza(2).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Breakdown of Sporting KC's Goalkeepers

Tonight we have a guest blogger on Sporting Blue KC. His name is Johan Englen he is a goalkeeper himself, hence I find it proper for him to break down Sporting Kansas City's goalkeepers.

First off Sporting Kc's Goalkeepers are Jimmy Nielsen, Eric Kronberg, and Jon Kempin. Personally, I would like to see Kronberg given more playing time seeing as he needs the in game practice, plus he's 28 years old so it's not like they're sending a rookie out there to marshal over the back line. However Jimmy Nielsen is the starting and definitely the best goalkeeper.

Jon Kempin: This seventeen year-old is the first ever home grown player signed by Sporting Kc. This young player looks quite promising and could one day be a starting keeper either for SKC or another mls team. Jon has also been called up for the U-18 USA men's national team. I have not had the pleasure of watching him play too much yet so I can't say much but from what I have heard I can say that he looks like he has a lot of potential and if any injury disaster strikes in the goal keepers department he would be a suitable replacement for Kronberg or Nielsen.

Eric Kronberg : He is currently the substitution goal keeper for Sporting KC and stands at an impressive 6 ft., 5 in. which makes him the tallest keeper on the team and one of the tallest in the league. He has been with Sporting since 2007 and has waited very patiently to play on the starting XI. He was on loan to Miami FC in his first season and has been on the team ever since. Kronberg is a good, strong goal keeper and I think he has waited long enough and I would like to see him start in a few games, US Open Cup would be most likely for him to start in. His height allows him to stop the higher balls and allows him to be very potent in the air and commanding in the box on set pieces.

Jimmy Nielsen: The Great White Puma, Jimmy Nielsen is a Danish keeper who has had experience over in European leagues and has shown to be a prominent Danish footballer and earning Danish Keeper of the Year honors in 2004. Jimmy is currently 33 years old but he seems to not display his old age in high fast tempo games. He has an amazing sense of positioning when it comes to shot-saving. He has a great kick save which has become somewhat of a trade mark for him which I find is very important in a keepers arsenal. Jimmy also has safe hands (never fumbles) and good grass cutters. Unfortunately you just won't see him fly across the goal or make a long jump save, I'm not saying he doesn't ever make any of those saves it's just that 9 times out of 10 he won't make it there in time, furthermore when he's one-on-one sometimes he tends to run out of the box or gets out of position to soon.

Overall SKC has some of the best keepers in MLS whether it be seasoned veteran Nielsen or 18 year old Kempin. I have spoken with these great athletes at public gatherings before and I've uncovered that they are very nice and down to earth people. They are all great keepers at there own levels and I see them as a giant impassable wall that should strike fear into any forward's heart.



Sporting Kc Sign Aurélien Collin and More

On literally the last day possible Sporting Kc have signed French defender Auerelien Collin. The terms were undisclosed as the transfers in mls almost always are, if mls hopes to step up and really try to become an internationally recognized league they need to start "undisclosing" the terms of the contract. But that's a different story.

Anyway, Collin most recently played for Vitoria Fc in the Portuguese Liga but has been training with Sporting Kc since March. He is a central defender but can also play right back. He is 6'2 and from what I've read and seen he seems to be a very commanding, physical presence that Sporting KC definitely needs. It will be interesting to see him play but I wouldn't expect him to travel to Columbus this weekend as the team is already there and he is not. But he could feature against New England along with Ryan Smith.

We are currently about 5 hours away from the April transfer deadline, and I would not be surprised if SKC confirms a signing of at least one more player before that deadline.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

UEFA Champions League Semifinals Set

After Wednesday night's Champions leagues matches the semifinals are set.The 1st leg of the semifinals will be on the 26-27 of April, the return leg will be on the 3-4 of May and the final will be on the 28th of May. The match ups are Schalke 04(Ger.) vs. Manchester United(Eng). The other game is Real Madrid(Spain) vs. Barcelona(Spain) (Classico!). I presume that Manchester United will prevail over Schalke but Schalke have upset the big boys, knocking out Inter, the defending champions, in the quarterfinals. The other game is pretty much up for grabs in terms of advancing to the final at Wembley Stadium. Although I have a feeling Real Madrid will play defensively against Barca and might be able to shut down Messi and score one of there own goals.

Either way the two best players in the world will play each other for all of us to watch. If Real Madrid and Schalke were to face off in the final it would be an interesting storyline as Raul (one of the best CL scorers of all time) would play for his new club Schalke against his old club Real Madrid whom he scored an astounding 228 goals for.

I am looking forward to the emotions of the fans and his own as he just left the club back in 2010. He was a bit of a forgotten figure then and Real Madrid brought in an influx of Strikers, hence taking over the aging Raul's starting position, hence his trade to Schalke.

My personal predictions would have to be Man United  faces off against Real Madrid in the final. It's a very, very, very early prediction but I think Real Madrid will win it all because of one simple man, Jose Morinho, Real Madrid's manager, and tactical mastermind.

A Deeper Look Into Sporting's Midfield

As you probably already know injuries have plagued Sporting Kc's early season. But most of those injuries have affected either the forward or back line players. However the midfield has seemed to hold it's own in terms of not getting injured. Although there were some cramping issues in the Vancouver game, nothing too serious except for Warzycha.

So let's break down Sporting's midfield. As far as players on the roster goes, here they are:

  • CDM (center defensive mids): Auvray, Rocastle, and Diop?
  • CAM (center attacking/aggressive mids): Stojcev, Zusi, Aiyegbusi, and Arnaud.
  • Injured: Konrad Warzycha
When it comes to the style of playing Vermes has played more of an attacking midfield. Two CAM (Arnaud and Stojcev). And one CDM (Rocastle, Auvray or Diop)

Zusi: Usually a sub that can provide an extra boost of energy to the tired midfield late in the game.
Auvray: One of the better signings Vermes brought in last season. Auvray has sensational tactical awareness but seems to take too long to figure out when to pass, if he passes at all.
Rocastle: Not as defensive as Auvray but more of the calm holding midfielder Sporting KC can look to when building an attack.
Stojcev: I've really liked Stojcev so far he looks like a very creative player that SKC missed last season.
Arnaud: The captian. Fantastic work rate and SKC's longest tenured player. Look for him to, when available, start every game for SKC in 2011.
Aiyegbusi: Can't say too much about him, but from last year in Toronto and the U.S. open cup game in Houston he seems like a very young, energetic player.
Warzycha: Son of an MLS coach he will miss out on almost all of Sporting Kc's games through injury. Can't rate him as I have never seen him play.
Diop: A newcomer to the midfield this season he looked decent in Vancouver but i'd much rather have him at  center-forward even if some people argue the front line is too congested.

Overall I haven't seen too much wrong with the midfield this season. We'll see what will happen in the long season ahead of them but they've looked decent. Although at some points, like in Chicago, they've been sliced right open with a simple step-over. 

Best player so far for SKC mids? 
Stojcev, he really does bring that little bit of creativeness to SKC's midfield, and has one of the most important things for SKC's midfield.....the final goal-assisting pass.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (and why he's so good)

Ever since I was a kid I always loved Henrik Larsson. Watching him score fantastic goals for Celtic and Sweden in the Euro and World Cup. After Larsson's retirement in 2009 after Sweden's dismal World Cup qualifying run,(they missed by a point). The spotlights have shifted to the infamous Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan combines power, pace, cleverness, flare, and sensational goal scoring into to one 6'5 super human. You can argue the fact that Ibra doesn't seem to show up in big games for Sweden, but for Barca, Inter, Juventus, and Milan, he has.

Zlatan was raised in Malmo, Sweden to Bosnian and Croation parents. Which has sparked an international debate over which country he should/should have played for. But in the end he was trained by Swedish trainers and grew up in the foreign infested slums of Malmo.

He is somewhat of an idol for Swedes. The only major known Swedish player around the world, we take pride in him. Of course Elmander, and Kallstrom are also known, but not internationally recognized. Zlatan is 29 and has signaled he might come to the states after his four year contract is up in Milan.

Henrik will always be my Celtic Braveheart from generations past but Zlatan is here now and is taking Sweden and  Europe by storm.

Welcome to the blog

Well, this is my first post. So exciting! I've always wanted to blog and it combines my two favorite things. Soccer and blogging. On this blog I will be blogging about the news and events of Sporting Kansas City (The Mighty Blues). I will also cover world and regional Kc soccer. Mostly the US men's national team and the Swedish Men's national team.

The people I would credit to getting me interested in blogging would have to be downthebyline and TheFull90. They really are just pure class. Excellent excellent excellent bloggers. So talented. I aspire to be like them. Go check them out, but don't forget to come back!

You can check me out on twitter at Evergeen138. You'd think it'd be Everblue138 but whatever. I am really looking forward to blogging, should be really fun!

On the blog you can expect game previews, transfer news, player injuries, and general good old Sporting Kc banter. I will strive to produce the best content humanly possible. Well guys thanks for checking this post out I'm sure this will be an exciting and rewarding experience. So that's all here guys, check back soon.