Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who Should Mark Who? (Portland Timbers Version 3.0)

I know I haven't updated "Who Should Mark Who?" in quite a few weeks but today I just wanna do a quick post. This time however it will be pre-game. As opposed to post-game. 

If you've never read this segment of the blog yet it's basically just a list of Sporting players along with who I think they should mark on the opposing team, mainly off of set-pieces. I generally match players up according to height and aerial ability. 

Obviously I won't list all the players. Just the ones that pose the biggest threat in the air for Sporting Kc.

The List

(KC Player) Name - Height - *Position*/(Portland Player) Name - Height - *Position*
*If you're new to soccer and don't understand what certain positions stand for look over on the left hand side, there's a list.*

Birahim Diop - 6'3 - CDM/Kenny Cooper - 6'3 - ST
CJ Sapong - 6'2 - ST/Mamadou Danso - 6'3 - CB
Aurelien Collin - 6'2 - CB/Eric Brunner - 6'4 - CB

Auvray To Leave Sporting Kc?

Stephane Auvray

Although it is still just a developing story Stephane Auvray may leave Sporting Kc in the upcoming summer transfer window. James Starrit over at "" announced on twitter today that he talked to Peter Vermes at training, James asked if Auvray was injured because he wasn't at training, and this was Peter's response, "It's just something i'm not going to comment on right now, just because there are some other things happening."

Now from that statement it seems as if there are some other developing stories going on, possible transfers? Maybe. But why would Sporting Kc sell/let go a Defensive Mid when the midfield is a little short(Rocastle injured, Arnaud injured). Well they could possibly be bringing in another Designated Player at Center Defensive Mid? Also, Auvray has under-performed since returning from the Gold Cup with Guadalupe, and he's pretty much at the bottom of the list when choosing CDM's for the starting 11. Behind Cesar, Diop and Sassano.

Like I mentioned before, this is all just a developing story. Auvray may not leave at all. But I would expect a couple of buys/trades for Sporting Kc before the end of the summer transfer window.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Breaking Down the Last Half of Sporting Kc's Season

It's hard to believe that it's already been a fantastic 15 weeks of soccer for Sporting Kc. The weeks always go by so fast during the season don't they? Now Sporting Kc find themselves 6th place in the East with 17 points, and look to be a good bet to make the playoffs in what has been an under performing Eastern Conference so far.

Although it is not exactly half way through the season (in terms of weeks)(32 weeks this season but 34 league games), I will be cutting down the rest of the season, looking at points Sporting can gain, and whether or not KC can make the playoffs.

So let's dive right into this and look at the month of July.

Peter Vermes will have almost all of his players available for in July, except for Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith and Konrad Warzycha. July won't be much of a test for Sporting Kc, as only two of all the 6 games played in July will be away, Houston and Portland. However, both fixtures will be tough.

July will be one of the longest months for Sporting, but it may also be one of the easiest months for soccer. As they will welcome three of the "easier" teams in MLS to LSP.(New England, Toronto, and Chivas.) So I expect a decent amount of points from July, I think expecting 10-15 points isn't out of the question.

In August Sporting Kc will play all 5 of their games at home. But they will also be hosting the likes of Seattle, Real Salt Lake, and FC Dallas at LSP. It could mean a lot of losses under the hot Kansas sun. Or it could provide Sporting Kc with a lot of valuable points.

Sporting Kc could see a semifinal in the US Open Cup on the 30th. If they were to win that game they would only be a win away from silverware.  And just a touch away from the CONCACAF group stage.

To get 8-12 points from this month should be expected.

September will be yet another tough month for Sporting Kc, but all 5 games except for 1 will be at home. KC will welcome Philly, LA, Houston and Columbus to LSP. LA and Philadelphia will be the hardest games at home. But the hardest match will be away at Real Salt Lake. There will be no Open Cup games or Friendlies for Sporting Kc in this month, even if they do make the finals of the Cup, the final isn't till October. Just a regular month for Sporting Kc, which means more consistency in terms of the lineup.

Sporting Kc should be able to get within 7-10 points in September. 

Besides March this is the shortest month of soccer for Sporting Kc. There will be only 3 games played in October and only 1 one of those will be at home. Something that could seriously hurt Sporting Kc if the playoff race comes down to a couple points in late October and KC are looking for them. But that doesn't mean the single home game will be easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. As Sporting Kc will host the New York Red Bulls at 3:00 pm on Sat. the 25th.

Furthermore, on October the 4th the US Open Cup final will be played. Should Sporting Kc qualify for that, (which is a long shot) it could make for a more congested last month.

Getting 3-6 points out of October should be expected.

The End
On October 22 the regular season will end for Sporting Kc, whether or not we're in the playoffs is squared solely on the player's shoulders. I think we should be able to creep into one of the final playoff spots in the East.

Do you think Sporting Kc will make the playoffs? And potentially win the US Open Cup? Tell me in the comment section below.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kc Beat Vancouver Whitecaps In A Convincing 2-1 Win

After a 2-1 win against Vancouver, Sporting Kc find themselves undefeated in 7 league games. One of the best, if not the best record in the league. The unbeaten run that KC have enjoyed over the past month have seen Sporting gain points and move up to 6th place in the East. Not where Vermes and the club's owners had envisioned their team to be after 15 games, but still. Sporting Kc are out of last place and almost all of the rest of the season's games are at home, meaning a high percentage of points will be gained before the end of the regular season.....Playoffs anyone? 

The First Half
Sporting Kc put out a lineup that excluded star players such as Davy Arnaud, Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury. Having said that, I can see why the coaching staff didn't want to field Bunbury and Kamara, the two forwards have been out of form the past couple games and Kei seemed fatigued. However, keeping out Arnaud was most likely due to some sort of injury picked up in training, nothing major.

Sporting Kc seemed the more dominant side in the first half. But after 15 minutes of play Vancouver found themselves with the shocking 1-0 lead from a set piece. Chiumiento played in a curling ball from the left-hand side that Camilo flicked on beautifully into the right-handed side of the goal, well out of Nielsen's reach.  

Sporting Kc didn't equalize until about 15 minutes later when designated player Omar Bravo was taken down in the box and the home side earned the first ever penalty kick at LSP. Bravo stepped up to take the ensuing PK and buried it into the right side of the goal, sending Cannon the wrong way. 

Just 8 minutes later and Sporting Kc were ahead. Some decent pressure from the home side resulted in just one of many corner kicks Kc had that night. Graham Zusi played a good curling ball towards the back post that found the on-coming Omar Bravo who headed it back into the danger area only for Julio Cesar to volley-slide it into the back of the net. Giving the Brazilian his first goal of the campaign.

The Second Half
Vancouver came out of the half time break with a game plan to attack, and attack they did. The Whitecaps had some decent possession in the first half, but failed to really test Nielsen with any of it. CJ Sapong nearly doubled KC's lead in the 65'. After a cross was played in from the wing that found the head of Sapong, but the ball flew past the top of the cross bar. Neither SKC or Vancouver had any real clear-cut chances to score in the second half after that.

Player Ratings
Nielsen 7, Sinovic 7, Collin 7, Besler 7, Myers 6, Espinoza 6, Cesar 8, Stojcev 6, Zusi 7, Bravo 8*, Sapong 7
*Denotes Man of the Match

**Special Note: I just posted some neat and interesting stats on my twitter about the game, via Chalkboard. Go look at them and give me a follow while you're at it.**

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sporting Kc Set to Battle Last Place Vancouver

The Vancouver Whitecaps will travel to LSP on Saturday night to face Sporting Kc at 7:30 CT, and will look to pass on the unwanted MLS "wooden spoon" to Sporting Kc. Both teams are currently in last place of their respective conferences and will look to climb up the league standings. A win for either team could potentially see them move up at least 1 space to 8th place(Vancouver), or up 4 places to 5th place(Sporting Kc). It's a huge game for both teams.

Sporting Kc seem the more dominant side heading into the game,  going undefeated the past 6 games and letting in only 2 goals in those games. Meanwhile, the Whitecaps are coming off of a huge 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union last Saturday and will look to test Sporting Kc.

Sporting Kc will have Honduras international Roger Espinoza back from Gold Cup duty, but will likely not feature in the starting XI for Saturday night's game, while French CB Aurelien Collin should find himself back at the heart of defense after missing out on SKC's midweek game at Philly due to suspension. 

Predicted Lineup:

Important Match-Ups

Sassano/Diop v. Chiumiento 
The two Sporting Kc CDM's will look to stop any attacking play from the creative Swiss CAM, a player who has jump-started a lot of the Whitecaps attack this year.

Collin v. Hassli
Collin will again have to mark another big striker, and somehow prevent him from getting too close to SKC's goal.  

Sporting Kc - 3 (Sapong x 2, Bravo)
Vancouver - 1 (Hassli) 
-SKC's offense finally finds their stride and let's it rip on poor old Vancouver. But Hassli has another wonder goal.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sporting Kc Earn Important Road Point At PPL Park

Sporting Kc played a dirty, sloppy and hard-fought game against the Philadelphia Union in a midweek league game at PPL Park, and most importantly, walked away with a well deserved point. Now Sporting Kc find themselves with only 5 road games left in the entire season and 14 points through 14 games.

The First Half
Peter Vermes fielded a lineup that was somewhat identical to the one we saw at home on Friday night against the San Jose earthquakes, the two biggest changes were Cesar coming in at CB for the suspended Collin, and Bunbury in for Sapong, which was a surprise to say the least.

Sporting started the game relatively well, Kamara and Bravo had some early looks but both shots were off target. Then Philly got going and created some of their own chances, but none of them were converted.The high-pressure system that Philly used for much of the half was just a taste of what was to come for KC. Not much more to the first half than that, Bunbury was again trying to do it all by himself, and Cesar looked a little off balance. It was a really sloppy game from Sporting and Philly, but the latter looked by far the better team.

The Second Half
Sporting Kc made one change coming out of the halftime break. Sapong on for Bunbury, something that most fans were pleased with. Bunbury just hasn't looked himself these past couple of games, and I believe Sapong should have started. 

Sporting Kc came out with more intent in the second half but played with a lot less pressure than they did in the first. Mainly due to Vermes wanting to get something out of this game, a point at least. But Philadelphia showed why they're second place in the Eastern Conference and created A LOT of chances. One of those chances nearly payed off in the 72' minute when Sassano failed to close down Le Toux from a couple yards outside KC's box and the ensuing cross from Le Toux was nearly turned in by the unmarked head of Ruiz, but the crossbar came to Sporting's rescue once again. The last 20 minutes of the game Sporting Kc dropped almost all 11 men behind the ball to try and stop any attack from Philly. Hence, the Union went on to record 26 shots but only 7 of those were on target as compared to Sporting's 8 shots, out of those 0 were on target. But Sporting Kc did hold on, mainly due to the fact that Nielsen was a beast all night.

They earned a very valuable point on the road, and are now unbeaten in 6 games.

Player Ratings
Nielsen 8*, Myers 6, Besler 6, Cesar 7, Sinovic 5, Sassano 6, Diop 6, Arnaud 6, Bravo 5, Kamara 6, Bunbury 4.
Subs: Sapong 6, Harrington 6,  Auvray N/A.
*Denotes Man Of the Match

New Name, Same Game

Yes, it's official, I have changed my blog name. You may be disappointed, excited, or don't really give a crap, it's just soccer. Well, whatever you think about it, I just want to thank you for either voting on the poll or on twitter. I realize this choice was not on either of them but I had to go with my gut feeling and I liked this one the best.

Cool. So why'd you change it?
Well, basically I made the blog mid-April (obviously). Then about a month later I decided I should change my twitter name so that it correlates with my blog name. Unfortunately the name on twitter had already been taken and I got into a fight of epic proportions over the name to the rights of "SportingBlueKc" with another twitter user. But, I didn't win. So I decided that if I can't have the name on Twitter than it would be very confusing, and so I decided to re-brand my blog name and twitter name completely. Hence, the new name, The Front Men.

OK, but what does The Front Men Mean?
"The Front Men" is an ancient term traced all the way back to pre-renaissance age, used as a friendly word/saying when bantering with another person, The Front Men is derived from the Latin word soccer, meaning "playi.............

Haha just kidding.

I decided to use The Front Men because it sounded somewhat catchy and people could easily put it on Twitter. As a side note if you're new to soccer "The Front Men" is used when describing the attackers on the team. Get it?

*Alright guys, thanks for all the support you've given me over these past couple months, keep checking back here for the best coverage on Sporting Kc. The Front Men FTW*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sporting Kc Face Off Against The Philadelphia Union

*First off before you read this article check out the poll to the right, it's extremely important that you vote for the one you think is the best name, thanks guys! Enjoy.*

Sporting Kc head north to face off against one of the newer teams in the league, the Philadelphia Union. Although they are one of the most recent expansion teams in MLS they've done quite well this season, netting 16 goals and only conceding 12.They also have a solid 22 points in only 14 games, giving them 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.

Sporting Kc will be without some of their marquee players. Including Ryan Smith and Aurelien Collin. Meaning that we should see the same formation we've seen the past few games, except Collin comes out and Cesar will come in, along with fellow CB Matt Besler.

As far as the game itself goes I think Sporting Kc have a chance. They're on a role and the're defense is looking very good (we'll see what effect Cesar has on that). Philadelphia on the other hand are win-less in three and seem to be having trouble scoring goals. But Philly are undefeated at home this season so let's not get too excited.


Sporting Kc - 2 (Sapong, Bravo)
Philadelphia - 1 (Mwanga)

Ryan Smith Leaves Sporting Kc

Ryan Smith has left Sporting Kc for the rest of the 2011 season. The speedy winger appeared 6 times for Sporting Kc this season and scored once. The club released a statement on Tuesday saying that Ryan Smith will not return for the rest of the 2011 season. According to Sporting Kc's website he has left for family reasons.

Although I do not expect him to retire, I remain skeptical as to whether or not he will return to KC for the 2012 season. 

This is truly a disappointing day for Sporting Kc fans, but I hope Ryan Smith continues playing soccer, wherever and whenever that may be. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sporting Kc Get First Ever Win At LIVESTRONG Sporting Park

Sporting Kc earned their 3rd win of the season when they beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Friday night. But maybe more importantly, Sporting Kc won their first ever home game at LSP. CJ Sapong will go down in the history books as the first MLS player ever to score at LSP, along with Zusi, who gave Sapong the game-winning assist in the 31st minute.

First Half
At the start of the game you could see that Sporting Kc had a game plan. A game plan that essentially came down to man-marking Lenhart and feeding off of Sapong's flicks. For the first 30 minutes most of the attacking play and possession came from SKC. But then the goal came. Davy Arnaud was working hard on the right-hand side and drew a free-kick that Zusi stepped up to take.(It should be noted that I yelled "SHOOT" very loudly, but Zusi ignored my useful and well-worded advice). Anyway, Zusi curled in the most beautiful ball and Sapong connected sweetly with a left-footed volley/strike, giving SKC a well deserved lead and sending the capacity crowd into shock and amazement . There weren't many clear-cut chances for either team after the goal and the half ended with Sporting Kc heading into the break with their head held high.

Second Half
The second half started with San Jose looking the more dangerous side. Hence, they created some decent chances and got a couple of corners. SKC had trouble holding off the ensuing pressure from San Jose until about the 65th minute when Vermes brought on Cesar at CDM to hold off some of San Jose's pressure. I really like Cesar in his new role but because Collin will miss the next match due to suspension we may find Cesar back at CB, meaning that SKC will not have a traditional CB on Wednesday when they take on PHI. Anyway, after Cesar was brought on SKC found themselves with decent possession and created a few chances but nothing too major. Then, in the dying moments of the game former KC striker Scott Sealy found himself behind SKC's defense with a lot of space to run into. But Collin showed some excellent defending by stepping in at exactly the right time, essentially winning the game for SKC.

Sporting Kc are still bottom of the Eastern Conference with 13 points, but now find themselves 2nd to last in MLS (only Vancouver have less points). But it's worth mentioning that a win at Philadelphia (who are undefeated at home) on Wednesday would hurl Sporting Kc up to either 6th,7th, or 8th place in the Eastern Conference depending on the outcome of the NE-CHI game tonight.

Player Ratings (out of 10)
Nielsen 6, Sinovic 6, Besler 7, Collin 9*, Myers 7, Sassano 7, Diop 7, Zusi 8, Arnaud 8, Bravo 7, Sapong 9.
*Denotes man of the match
Subs: Cesar 7, Bunbury N/A, Kamara 6

Friday, June 17, 2011

Top Ten Players to Watch In This Summer's Transfer Window

The summer transfer window is upon us yet again, and it gives managers a chance to improve their squads. But, managers want to buy players that will exceed and help out the club (Chicharito). They don't want players that are "big money busts" and don't make an important impact with the club (Bebe, Torres). So, who will the top teams look for this year? We know that Brazilian sensation Neymar will be at the top of a lot of teams shortlists...but who else will managers be looking for this season? Well, let's take a look into some of the most sought after players in Europe, and around the world.

Number(1-10) - Description 

1: Neymar. - Last year Chelsea offered Santos a hefty amount of money for the then 18 year old. Pele urged him to stay at least one more year, now many top sides in ENG, ESP, and ITA are interested in the Brazilians services.

2: Lukaku. - RSC Anderlacht have already come to terms with the fact that Lukaku won't be around for another season with the Belgian club, now the only question is, where does he go?

3: Alexis Sanchez. - The Udinese man is in high demand all across Europe, netting 12 goals for the Italian side and impressing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

4: Samir Nasri. - The Arsenal man impressed many with his passing and goals in the Premiership. Can he do it somewhere else? 

5: Luka Modric. - The former Dinamo Zagreb star had a very good 10/11 season with Tottenham, but now it looks as if he's looking to move on to a bigger club.

6: Cesc Fabregas. - He's has had a great career at Arsenal, but after an "off-season" this campaign, he may just be itching to leave and start new somewhere else.

7: Clint Dempsey. - The American had a wonderful season with Fulham in the EPL, notching ten goals along the way, he has surely attracted the attention of big clubs from around the world. 

8: Matthew Upson. - The English center back has been let go by the relegated West Ham, and will be a a bargain for any team to snatch up, free of any transfer fees.

9: Samuel Eto'o. - The former Barcelona striker will look to get back to his top form we saw two years ago, a move to England could be just what he needs.

10: Nigel Reo-Coker. - After being let go by Aston Villa at the end of the 10/11 season, this free agent will certainly be looked at by a lot of top managers.   

Toulalan Joins Spanish Side Malaga

French CDM Jeremy Toulalan has joined Spanish side Malaga. The 27 year old joins Malaga on a 4 year deal and will look to keep the once "relegation threatened" side in the first division of Spain.

Toulalan is the 4th player Malaga have brought in during the off-season and will join the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Joris Mathijsen in Spain. Along with former Roma man, Julio Baptista.

Look for Malaga to be one of the better teams in Spain the season, they surely won't be up to par with Barca and Real, but look for them to do something interesting.

*Note: I don't know if there's a new investor or a change in the board, but Malaga have been, for me, the smartest and best off-season buyers in Europe so far.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sporting Kc Look To Extend Unbeaten Streak Against San Jose

Yes, Sporting will be back at LSP Friday night to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. The "Quakes" are coming off somewhat of a goal scoring high. Having scored 8 goals in their last 3 games and are unbeaten in 6 games. However, Sporting Kc have their own 4 game unbeaten streak to protect.

This will be the second ever game Sporting Kc will play at LSP. Hence, I am assuming the player's nerves will have calmed down quite a bit from opening night when they played Chicago to a 0-0 draw. Hopefully this will result in all 3 points for Sporting.

This game should be an indicator on how many fans LSP and Sporting can attract without a bunch of advertising (Chicago) or without the draw of the Gold Cup. I predict a little over 17,000 people there. I may be way off, we will see.


3 - Sporting Kc (Sapong x 2 , Zusi)
1 - San Jose (Lenhart)

3 Key Match-ups

Collin vs. Lenhart
The two big men will mark each other all night on set pieces and off of goal kicks, it will be interesting to see who will win on the aerial challenges.

Harrington vs. Convey
These are the two most attacking full backs in the MLS, both love to get forward, who ever exploits the other player's space will have a big advantage.

Sporting's CDMs vs. Stephenson 
Stephenson has become one of the better attacking mids in the Western Conference, he's not too creative but has outstanding strength and is a good passer of the ball.  Sporting's CDMs will look to stop him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Will Leave Sporting Kc Next?

Ryan Smith's transfer rumor was sort of random, weird, and short-lived. But it's kinda cool to know that he is good enough to be attracting attention from other leagues, specifically the Mexican league. So, this kind of raises an interesting question doesn't it? If Sporting Kc were to receive an offer for a player from a club, (not necessarily a big one) who has the highest chances of leaving?

Well, I will try to answer that question by making a simple list of all of Sporting's players and then giving them a number (1-10) (1 being the highest likely to leave, 10 being the least likely to leave) based on who I believe is the most likely Sporting would let go should they receive an offer. For the top and bottom 3 players I will write a couple of sentences defending my decision.

*Note: The rating of 5 is reserved for players who I think would almost never receive an offer from another club.

Name - Rating
Aiyegbusi - 5
Arnaud - 10 - This is the captain and the longest tenured player for this team, Sporting Kc would never let him go. 
Auvray - 6
Besler - 7
Bravo - 10 - Bravo is the team's DP and is a very good asset to connect with the Hispanic community. 
Bunbury - 1 - Sporting Kc want to keep this player around, he has a bright future, but with the money that some of the "bigger" clubs in Europe can offer, you'd think it'd be very tough for Sporting to walk away from the money.
Cesar - 6
Collin - 7
Diop - 5
Ellis - 6
Epsinoza - 8
Harrington - 9 - Sporting Kc have emphasized they want Harrington around for a long time, they will not sell this player. 
Kamara - 4
Kempin - 6
Kronberg - 7
Lorenz - 5
Myers - 3
Nielsen - 9
Rocastle - 5
Sapong - 8
Sassano - 5
Sinovic - 5
Smith - 2 - Smith is a great player and is still on a lot of managers short-lists from his time in England, if the right price came along, could Sporting refuse?
Stojcev - 6
Thomas - 3 - Thomas does have international recognition with Jamaica, and he is not rated very highly at Sporting Kc, if an offer came, Vermes may be urged to accept it.
Warzycha - 5
Zusi - 7

Ryan Smith to Atlas?

Today yet another Sporting Kc transfer rumor was sparked. However, this time the rumors were about one of our players moving to another team. This is something that is somewhat rare for an MLS side, especially if their name starts with a Sporting and ends with a Kc.

Nevertheless, the rumors started to come about after Chicago Fire forward Gaston Puerari was transferred to Mexican side Atlas for an undisclosed fee. Despite signing Puerari, this article shows that Atlas is also interested in Sporting Kc winger Ryan Smith.

The rumors were only hyped up when people on twitter, (specifically @FootyChronicles),  discovered that Ryan Smith had deleted his Twitter account, this of course could mean nothing, maybe he was fed up with negative comments or something along those lines, but the whole twitter ordeal just added to the suspicion that Ryan Smith was set to leave Sporting.

 However, all rumors were effectively squashed when Thad Bell(@TheBackpost) tweeted that the rumors were not true. (Thad has somewhat of an exclusive insight with the Sporting Kc staff, so his info can be trusted)  

So if the rumors were true, would Ryan Smith seriously leave us?

State your opinion down in the comments or on the poll to the right.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kronberg Gets 3rd Ever Start Against Dallas

Today we will be having a guest blogger, Jack Englen. He is a goal keeper himself and will be assessing Eric Kronberg's performance in Sporting's 4-1 thrashing of FC Dallas. Take it away Jack....

At Sporting Kansas City's home opener Jimmy Nielsen was forced to come out of his box to stop a goal scoring run, there was a chip-shot attempt but Nielsen reacted instinctively and shot his hand up to stop the ball, thus preventing a goal scoring opportunity. In my eyes it was the right decision. Now of course that meant Jimmy would get a red card, meaning Kronberg would get the start at Pizza Hut Park. I for one am happy Kronberg got to play, he is a great keeper (which he showed us in Toronto) and I wish they would play him more (not that Jimmy is bad).

The opposing goalkeeper on the Dallas side was none other than the old Kansas City Wizards goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman. Kevin is a very respected player in the MLS and has proved that with various MLS teams. However yesterday he didn't show it, he might have started off well but was caught off his line one too many times, I don't think it will affect the 36 year old's self esteem too much though. 

First Half
It was a good start for Eric, he got some nice touches on the ball to get him up to tempo with the game. The only goal of the night for FC Dallas was a great run of "soccer artwork" from Brek Shea, thanks to three KC defenders diving in. The second Shea broke through the last defender Eric came out and went "Jimmy Nielsen on him" trying to do the famous kick-save, had Kronberg been fully extended it would have been an awesome stop.After that the defense was very solid, a great improvement.

Second Half      
Kronberg didn't have much to do until the seventieth minute when a high cross was met by Eric's hand with a nice interception. Towards the end of the game there was more and more people taking shots and getting into the middle but Kronberg came out well each time and did awesome in the end.

All in all Kronberg did well but Hartman had a much more difficult game. Kronberg had great goal kicks the entire match that once or twice almost led to an assist. The defense really helped out this time. In the end Eric showed that he can play at the highest level for Sporting, something that will do his career a world of good.    

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sporting Kc Beat FC Dallas 4-1, Zusi Earns Brace

Haha. It's a funny game isn't it? That thing we call soccer. Most Sporting Kc fans think so, how could you not? SKC won, when they really shouldn't have done so, funny right? The odds were stacked up against them. International absences, injuries and FC Dallas' form were all reasons that SKC could have used as excuses leading up to the game at Pizza Hut Park, but, they didn't. And they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.

So, you wanna know how this famous victory came about? Well, grab your favorite no-alcoholic beverage, take a load off, and sit back for the best blog post of your life.

The First Half
SKC fielded a team that was less than "first team material" on Sunday night, and essentially changed their formation to a 4-2-3-1. The major absences being Ryan Smith, Michael Harrington, and Omar Bravo. But that doesn't mean Sporting didn't press and attack FC Dallas in the opening stages, far from it. In fact, it seemed as if Dallas were somewhat asleep. Then, a superb strike from Graham Zusi outside the box gave Sporting the shocking 1-0 lead on a humid and hot Texas night. The goal awoke the beast. FC Dallas started to possess and play the ball around a lot quicker, and from some bad defending from Diop and Myers, Brek Shea made a terrific solo run that tied everything up at 1-1. Heading into the half time break it seemed as if Dallas were somewhat the more comfortable team at the half.

The Second Half
Sporting Kc got the dream start they were looking for, as Zusi curled in a good ball to the back post off of a corner which found Sapong who then had the presence of mind to pass the ball back into the danger area which found Aurelien Collin, who slammed it into the back of the net, giving him his second ever goal in a Sporting Kc uniform. After the goal Dallas were forced to attack, and attack they did. But nothing much came of it. Then, off of a free-kick from about 50 yards out, Zusi fired a rocket into the Dallas goal that stunned Kevin Hartman, and his team's fans. It really was a sensational strike from Zusi, congrats to him. But, almost immediately after the goal, Stojcev was ejected from the game after a second yellow. However, if you ever wanted a red card, you would want it when you're 3-1 up and when the player receiving the red card was an attacking center mid. The red card then forced SKC to play more of a 4-4-1 with Sapong as the lone striker up top. Therefore giving FC Dallas the chance to play a 3-4-1-2 and put more bodies on the attacking side of the field. SKC then had to hold off FC Dallas pressure for a good 20 minutes. Then, SKC got some rare possession that eventually led to a Luke Sassano goal. A ball chipped over the Dallas back line from Diop gave Sassano the not-so-easy task of chipping the ball over the keeper, but a task that Luke was up to, and the game was essentially over at 4-1 in the 78th minute. Now Sporting Kc can come back to KC with all 3 points, and their head held high heading into their Friday game at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

Player Ratings
Starting XI: Kronberg 6, Sinovic 5, Besler 6, Collin 7, Myers 6, Diop 6, Sassano 6, Arnaud 7, Stojcev 4, *Zusi 10, Sapong 8.
Subs: Bunbury N/A, Kamara 5, Cesar 6   
* denotes man of the match

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sweden Thrash Rivals Finland 5-0

Swedish and AC Milan striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hadn't played with Sweden for 3 weeks before he came on in the 24' minute of their 5-0 UEFA qualifying win over Finland. Ibrahimovic came on in the 25' minute as Ola Toivonen was forced off with a toe injury. Zlatan then scored 2 goals in the space of 10 minutes, and a third one in the second half, moving Ibrahimovic into 3rd place on the goal-scoring leader boards for group E and giving him his first hat-trick of the qualifying stages.

Sweden is now within touching distance of 1st place in group E, as the win over Finland puts Sweden 3 points behind the Netherlands.

With 4 games remaining in the qualifying round Sweden will look to reach 1st place in their group and secure a Euro 2012 spot in Ukraine, instead of trying to qualify through the group-runners-up playoffs. With Zlatan leading the way it will be hard not to.

New Podcast. The Future Fans of Sporting Kc "Podcast Two"

Check out the most recent podcast from The Future Fans of Sporting Kc. Isaac and I talk about Sporting Kc's home opener, Nick Garcia rumors, and possible jersey sponsors.

Listen to it here:

Or download it on iTunes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Podcast, The Future Fans of Sporting - "Introduction"

The first podcast brought to you from Isaac( and I. We talk about what the show is, the Members Club, the Toronto game recap, and a preview of the Chicago game at LSP. Thanks for listening if you listened live, you can listen to it here: , or on iTunes later this week, thanks. 

There are many long pauses in the show due to technical difficulties. Keep listening till the end, you won't regret it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Introduction to The Future Fans of Sporting Podcast by The Future Fans of Sporting | Blog Talk Radio

Introduction to The Future Fans of Sporting Podcast 06/05 by The Future Fans of Sporting | Blog Talk Radio
Check this podcast out tomorrow at 10:00 am. Simply click that link around 10:00am and listen in live as Isaac ( and I discuss the recent Sporting Kc game against Toronto FC, it will be up on iTunes later under "The Future Fans of Sporting Kc".....Thanks guys!

First Ever Watch Party At LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (Pics and Vid)

Here are some pictures and a video from Sporting's first ever watch party at LSP......Enjoy...
View from the Members Club

Outside LSP

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Good, Cheap, Young Buys In FIFA 11

Need to buy a good young player on career mode in FIFA 11 but don't have the financial means necessary? Look no further, I will show you a list of some cheap players, their current overall, and their projected overall after a full career (15 years) as manager. Buy them young, put them into the starting 11, and watch them become the next Lionel Messi.

Name - Age - Position* - Current Overall - Projected Overall
* Look on the left hand side of the blog under "soccer positions" if you can't understand which position a certain player plays.

Alen Stevanovic - 19 - RW - 64 - 85
Filippo Boniperti - 19 - CF - 64 - 85
Alex Smithies - 20 - GK - 64 - 84
Loic Abenzoar - 21 - CB - 64 -84
Dejan Skolnik Skoljo - 21 - LM - 64 - 84
Conor Wickham - 17 - ST - 64 - 83
Bit Ga Ram Yoon - 20 -CM - 87
Vincenzo Fiorillo - 20 - GK -65 - 85
Macauley Chrisantus - 19 - ST - 65 -85
Nicolas Gorobsov - 20 - LM - 65 - 85
Jean-Alain Fanchone - 21 - LB - 65 - 84
Dong Won Ji - 19 - ST - 66 - 89
Ishak Belfodil - 18 - ST - 66 - 86
Iago Falque Silva - 20 - CAM - 66 - 85
Gianmorco Zigoni - 19 - ST - 66 - 85
Luc Castaignos - 17 - ST - 66 - 85
Chul Hong - 19 - LWB - 66 - 85

Note: These are just some of the good, young, and cheap players in FIFA 11. For a full list, go here:

I do not guarantee that these players will actually prove to become their projected overall value as there are different factors included into every players growth (injuries, playing time, transfers, etc.) . I can however say that Conor Wickham is very good buy, I bought him in my career mode and he is a hell of a striker.

Have fun, thanks guys!

The Importance of the Next Three Games for Sporting Kc

Since SportingBlueKc will be out of town from this coming Saturday(6/4) to mid afternoon Sunday(6/12)*, SportingBlueKc will be doing its preview(s) of the next 3 games now. SportingBlueKc's recap of all three game should be posted sometime on Monday(6/13).

* Note: I will however be in attendance for Sporting Kc's home opener on Thursday(6/9).

As suggested in the title, the next three matches for Sporting Kc should be very important, mainly due to the fact that Sporting Kc will open their brand new stadium on June 9th. And also due to the fact that it will give SKC a chance to catch up with the rest of the league in terms of games played. 

So, let's take a look at the next three matches:
  1. Toronto FC (6/4), Away
  2. Chicago Fire (6/9), Home
  3. FC Dallas (6/12), Away
I think 4-7 points could definitely be expected from these three games. In Toronto we could see either a win or tie, against Chicago in our own stadium you got to think that a win is the only option, and against FC Dallas (MLS Cup Runners Up) we could see either a loss or if SKC pull something special off, we could see a tie.

So with those three upcoming games in mind let's take a deeper look at each of them individually. 

Toronto FC (6/4)
Sporting Kc will come into this game with a lot of confidence, after gaining a well deserved point against Colorado, they will be looking for a win against a Toronto side that lost 6-2 to the Philadelphia Union at home last weekend. Toronto however will be looking to put that defeat behind them and get on to the next game, but may come out with an attacking attitude to try and hype up the home crowd against SKC.

To walk away from BMO Field with three points Sporting will have to try and control most of the possession  and use Omar Bravo to try and actually do something with it. When Bravo does create something Sporting will have to take their chances to try and get something from Toronto.

All-in-all Toronto is not a good side. Their defense has been shaky all season and without their talisman Dwayne De Rosario, it's hard to see SKC not getting the full 3 points from this game. 

Prediction: SKC 2- Toronto 1 (Smith, Bravo) , (Maicon Santos) 

Chicago Fire (6/9)
This game will be the biggest game all season (unless SKC can sneak into the playoffs), as Sporting Kc open up the doors to LSP for the first time. Think about it, the entire first first part of the season has been leading up to this game. It will be huge, not just for Kansas City but for all of MLS. 

If SKC does not win this game it will be a huge disgrace. This game will be the shot-in-the-arm to jump-start the rest of the season for SKC. It is the basis of everything SKC will do this season, and the only way it can all happen, is if we win this game against Chicago.

Facing Chicago is always tough. They're a team that likes to fight, it's ingrained into the club's players. But, with a new coach trying to restart a dismal Chicago season, and the might of LSP looming over them, Chicago will have to pull off something absolutely fantastic to walk out of LSP with a tie or a win.

Prediction: SKC 3 - Chicago 1 (Bunbury, Bravo, Arnaud), (Pappa)

FC Dallas (6/12)
SKC should be entering this match at Pizza Hut Park with a lot of confidence. However the one thing that SKC may not enter in with is fresh legs. Coming into the game SKC will be playing their 3rd game in 8 days. Due to lineup changes from those games, do not expect SKC to win this one. A tie maybe, but a loss is a more realistic possibility.

SKC struggled against Dallas both times last year, home and away. Expect the same in this match. Bunbury may hit form by the Dallas game, and I would expect him to score at least once.

Not much left to say in this one, just that SKC will have a tough game against last years MLS Cup Runners Up. I hate to stifle any excitement or momentum that may come from the two previous games, but FC Dallas is a team that I rate very highly, hence, I'm giving them the win in this one.

 Prediction: FC Dallas 2- SKC 1 (Shea, Castillo) (Bunbury)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sweden Attempting to Qualify for UEFA Euro 2012

Yes it's true, Sweden didn't even qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but that's mainly contributed to the fact that rivals Denmark beat them 1-0 on the last day game of qualifying. Now, a year after the the world cup, Sweden will again attempt to qualify for another major tournament, UEFA Euro 2012. Although Sweden is not a highly recognized international team, they are one of the soccer heavyweights in Europe, with big name superstars like AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lyon midfielder Kim Kallstrom, and Celtic center back  Daniel Majstorovic.

A failed World Cup qualifying attempt in 2009 saw long time manager Lars Lagerback get sacked, and Swedish and world legend Henrik Larsson retire. Now a new manager (Erik Hamren), will usher in a new cycle of Swedish footballers including PSV striker Ola Toivonen, Blackburn Rovers midfielder Martin Olsson, and Birmingham City midfielder Sebastion Larsson. 

Sweden currently sit in second place. But with 2 games in hand Sweden will look to close the 9 point gap between them and leaders, the Netherlands. Midfielders Kim Kallstrom and Sebastian Larsson lead the entire competition with 4 assists each, and captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic leads Sweden with the most shots. 

Sweden seem to be in a good position and if Sweden can hold off the pressure from Moldova and Hungary below them, they should be able to qualify and have a real go at other European teams like Spain, Italy, and Germany. 

Heja Sverige!