Sunday, September 25, 2011

FIFA 12 One Day Away

North American cover features Rooney, Donovan, and Marquez.

One day. That's all there is left until the most popular video-game series in the world comes out with it's latest edition. FIFA 12. Albeit North Americans gets a little early treat in the fact that we get it 3 days ahead of Europe and everyone else. This years game promises to be the best installment yet. Most likely due to all the new stuff that's packed into the $60 game (for Xbox 360 that is).

In this years edition fans can expect 4 new game-play features.

  • Player Impact Engine
  • Precision Dribbling
  • Tactical Defending
  • Pro Player Intelligence 

All the new features will change your experience from last year in FIFA 11 to a better one. You can read about these new features here. The one thing that will most likely have the biggest impact on your game-play is Tactical Defending. But don't get me wrong, once you master it all the work will pay off.

Also, there are two really cool new features in career mode. EA Sports is finally bringing back the youth system, and on transfer deadline day there is an extended window to buy players, and clubs will be more aggressive with their offers.

In the day(s) leading up to it's release I would politely suggest 5 things to do so you can enjoy the FIFA 12 experience the best:

Get the demo. The best way to experience FIFA 12 before the release is to obviously play the demo. You can delete it later and it helps you get a grasp on the new game-play features. Plus, it's free.

Mess around on Creation Center. Another way to get your hands on some FIFA 12 early is to mess around on Creation Center. There you can make your very own team, tournament and/or player to bookmark and then install later into the game.

Don't worry about pre-ordering. There is simply no reason to waste $5 dollars on something that isn't in high demand in America. In Europe yes, pre-order. But not here, the store will have plenty. However, I do suggest getting it the day of the release. The day after they might be sold out.

Spread the word. Although playing career mode and other off-line modes is a great way to enjoy FIFA you should get your friends to play with you and it will make FIFA 12 all the more sweeter. Also, don't forget that there is a whole world of passionate FIFA 12 players all across the universe waiting to interact with you. Either through tournaments, ranked matches, virtual pro clubs, ultimate team, friendlies, etc.

Learn more about FIFA 12. Go to the official site. Read the FIFA blog. Or listen to a podcast hosted by Rom and Stevie on iTunes. In-fact yours truly was mentioned on the most recent podcast 37' minutes in.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Philadelphia Union Scouting Report

Sporting Kc vs. Philadelphia Union might just be the biggest game this season in terms of playoff contention. Sporting Kc are currently in 2nd place in the East with 40 points, while the Philadelphia Union sit right below them in 3rd with 39 points. Should Philadelphia win they would leap frog Columbus and Sporting Kc. On the flip-side if Sporting Kc win the find themselves at the top of the East with a little bit of breathing room.

Most Dangerous Player
Sebastien Le Toux. The Frenchman will be looking to his already impressive scoring and assisting record for Philadelphia. The former Seattle man has scored 7 times and assisted on 8 occasions for the Union. His strength and awareness could do serious damage to Sporting Kc.

Weakest Link
Goalkeeping. Philly's goalkeeping situation is in shambles. Both Mondragon and MacMath have been injured. Leading Philadelphia to dip into the MLS keeper pool and take one. While it is hard to say whether this reserve goalkeeper is good, Mondragon has been a rock back there and having him out of the starting XI is a huge blow.

Football Style
Philadelphia like to use a quick passing system that helps them get up the field as quick as possible. They don't like to sit back and let other teams come at them. It's a very in-your-face type of footballing style. While the Union have been good this season I believe Sporting Kc deserve to be ahead of them in the standings and anything but a win at LSP on Friday night could be devastating for either teams.

Key Match Up
Sporting Kc's strikers vs. Philly's goalkeeper. While the MLS reserve pool keeper will certainly have a tough time trying to keep the likes of Kamara and Bravo from scoring the real problem could be in the striker delema for Sporting Kc. Vermes will have to pick between either Sapong or Bunbury. While Bunbury looked lively against RSL Sapong has been tremendous this season, scoring goals from all types of angles.

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Real Salt Lake Scouting Report

Following a thrilling 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo Sporting Kc are on the road for the first time in over a month. In that month Sporting have seen a slow climb to 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. Albeit a few rungs fell out of place along the way. Now Sporting must head over to Salt Lake City to face a very strong Real Salt Lake side who are currently 4th in the West with 45 points. 5 more than Sporting Kc have. But for the first time in a long time I believe that a top-class team (RSL) are actually afraid of us, whether that is a good or bad thing is yet to be determined.

Most Dangerous Player
Kyle Beckerman. The USMNT midfielder has assisted on 8 occasions and scored on 3 for RSL. The captain has shown tremednous leadership through and through for RSL and will look to stop any attack Sporting Kc have going forward. Sitting in that CDM role he could thwart many Zusi attacks.

Weakest Link
Center back. Although Olave has been a star for RSL at the heart of defense there have been some signs throughout the season that RSL's defense has been a little bit stingy compared to the form we saw last season. Although Rimando will be the last line of defense behind them the CB's needs to step up their game if they are to stop a rompant Sporting Kc side who have scored 5 goals in 2 games.

Football Style
RSL usually plays a very fluid type of football, running their team through Kyle Beckerman. Although they don't play direct they they do play a lot of long balls to their speedy forwards. Also, watch out for the quick counter-attack from the outside backs and midfielders. That's one of the things RSL is built on.

Key Match-Up 
Sporting KC's Starting XI vs. Sporting KC's Starting XI
With almost a full strength squad for Vermes to choose from it will be interesting to see who makes the cut. Myers is rumored to be injured and Collin looks the likely replacement. There are also so many forwards for Vermes to choose from, not to mention the midfield. But what Vermes needs to focus on is form. If he sticks with that Sporting Kc might have a chance.

Sporting Kc - 1 (Bunbury)
Real Salt Lake - 1 (Espindola) 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Top 3 Sporting Kc Players You Love to Hate

ALL Sporting Kc fans have hated on a player at least once this season. Either via Twitter, Facebook, or the rare face-to-face conversations. You've all said it. But which players have received the most hate mail? By my count the top 3 players Sporting Kc fans love to hate have been, Teal Bunbury, Jeferson Rodrigues Goncalves (or Jeferson) and Julio Cesar. All of them during different periods during the season, still, each player has been hated on by Sporting Kc fans.

Obviously when times are tough during a season fans like to take out there bottled up stress on the players. Some of the time it's not necessarily the players fault. Maybe the tactics are off or maybe it's just not their day. However we still have a right to be angry at them, which makes sense when you think about how no one else but them can get the final result, whether it be 3, 1, or 0 points.

Teal Bunbury
To fully understand why most fans loved to hate Teal you have to track back all the way to January.....

Following up on a sensational 5 goal rookie season that saw him get called up to the USMNT, tour Europe with Generation Adidas, and train with Stoke Teal was getting set to have a huge second season in MLS. Debuting well  in the first couple of weeks Teal was looking great and getting a huge amount of media attention. Some even calling him the answer to the USMNT striker situation.  Then in April after Teal scored two terrific goals against Vancouver Bunbury promptly fell into one heck of a funk. Not producing a league goal for about 4 months. Teal looked to be done and dusted. Of course, this also came during the long 10 game road trip that saw Sporting Kc sink all the way down to bottom of the East, which in turn sparked Sporting Kc's fans to resort to Twitter and other sources to take out their anger. And guess what, Teal Bunbury was their target. See it made sense, our star striker wasn't scoring so take it out on him. There was even talk of putting him on the transfer list and shipping him off to Europe.

However, in recent weeks Teal has started to look like his old self. Gaining momentum after the New England game in late July and has earned another USMNT call up since then. Whether or not he will be back to full strength this season is till up in the air. But for a while we all loved to hate Teal Bunbury.

After coming in on loan from Vasco de Gama in Brazil Jeferson was signed as our third-ever DP. He made his Sporting Kc debut against Newcastle United and looked very good. However his league play wasn't quite on par and the left-footed CAM wasn't living quite up to expectations. He just seemed to be  on a different page than the rest of the Sporting attack. There was a hype that him and Bravo together would make a deadly duo because, to be honest, Jeferson and Bravo are the only two players on this team who can see the game so well. So playing them together was making some Sporting fans drool with expectation. However, things didn't quite work out and Jeferson's form turned to mush. Leading fans, (including myself), to let our anger out on him. And for the most part I think it's because this sensational CAM who was praised for his vision and distance shooting that we pay $400,000 a year to was brought in from Brazil and was ready to be a leading player in this league. But he still hasn't quite adapted to the MLS and might not be around next season.

Oh Cesar, oh Cesar.... Many people dubbed him the Pablo Escobar of 2011 after a horrid start to the campaign. He was leaking in goals and in Columbus he earned a second yellow for a foolish handball and for many fans that was the last straw. He and Teal instantly became the two players we all loved to hate. Obviously Peter Vermes saw it too because following Cesar's poor performance the marvelous Collin came along, turning Cesar into essentially just another depth player. After not seeing action at center back for a while Cesar finally found a starting position as Davy Arnaud and Craig Rocastle both went down due to injuries. Cesar almost immediately started at CDM along with Espinoza. And that's where his true talent is. Following this fans have started to really enjoy Cesar's play and has since become a regular in the starting XI.

And those are the three Sporting Kc players we all love to hate.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Top 25 Sporting Kc Profiles to Follow On Twitter

Following my recent milestone of hitting 100 followers I've been thinking about all the amazing Sporting Kc fans, personnel, bloggers, players and staff that are on twitter. A lot of people don't know about these wonderful accounts. So, without further ado, I give you the list of the top 25 Sporting Kc twitter users to follow on Twitter.

1. @SportingKc - The teams official twitter account. Follow them for literally EVERYTHING Sporting Kc.
2. @RobbHeineman - Sporting Kc's CEO. He has been noted from time to time to drop huge announcements for Sporting Kc fans.
3. @KitManSKC - The teams housekeeper. Makes sure every cleat, shirt, sock, glove, headband, and shorts are clean and ready for the Sporting Kc players. He's also a very funny tweeter.
4. @CalWilliams2011 - The Brit is Sporting Kc's head commentator and has done a lot for this club since coming over from the BBC.
5. @AndrewWiebe_MLS - Not sure if he's actually employed by Sporting and gets his paycheck from there but regardless this young man is a great writer and writes just about everything that goes on

1. @keikamara - The top scorer of the 2010 season is one of the most followed players on Sporting Kc.
2. @TealBunB - The USMNT striker has loads of twitter followers and is a great guy. 
3. @Ekronberg - The funniest player by a long stretch. He's a hilarious dude and a great goalkeeper.
4. @BigAfrika88 - Another well followed player in CJ Sapong, follow him and watch him get onto the USMNT scene.
5. @PumaNielsen1 - A funny dude. The best keeper in MLS. Follow him.

1. - @SKCdoesnotstop - The name says it all. This guy is seriously one of the biggest soccer fans living in KC.
2. - @brandondryrock - Probably one of the funniest fans Sporting Kc has in its arsenal.
3. - @KUBensa - He sang the national anthem at LSP once and he is a really great fan that has good tweets.
4. - @S_Call18 - A great fan to say the least. Tweets are funny and he has a lot of knowledge of Sporting KC.
5. - @KCYeti - The loudest and most proudest fan you might ever see. This man has so much pride for Sporting Kc it's unbelievable.

Supporters Groups
1. - @KCCauldron - The 12th man of Sporting Kc, the best supporters group in KC. Hands-down.
2. - @AdAstraSKC - This supporters group is led by a great fan - Christian Sinclair. Through him AdAstraSKC has quickly reached almost 250 followers. They also RT some of the best Sporting Kc material.
3. - @The_BSE - One of the bigger groups at LSP
4. - @kc_syndicate - Great group of people.
5. - @LaBarraKc - Relatively new group but has some astounding passion.
1. - @downthebyline - Can't say enough good things about this guy, but I can for sure tell you that he is the most SKC-knowledgeable person you will ever meet, plus, owning the best blog in KC is not bad either. Definitely give him a follow.
2. - @Sporting_Times - This blog has one of the largest databases about SKC and can easily access thousands of stats. His tweets are quite funny as well.
3. - @FootyChronicles - My podcaster in crime, this young man is in fact the youngest blogger that covers Sporting Kansas City. He has a quality blog and his tweets are great.
4. - @TheBackpost - This twitter account is extremely important to follow. Never mind the great pictures and posts on his blog. This guy provides the inside scoop right from the training ground at Swope Park. Follow him for unprecedented access into Sporting Kc's backroom staff.
5. - @TheFull90 - A great blog, run by Charles Gooch. This guy works for The Kansas City Star and has all the up-to-date Sporting Kc news.

I promise you if you follow these 25 Sporting Kc profiles on twitter your life will change for the better.
And of course don't forget to follow big daddy Alex @TheFrontMen and your life will truly be perfect!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Scott Lorenz On His Way Back to KC

Earlier today Thad Bell over at @TheBackpost (give him a follow) tweeted out that Scott Lorenz was on his way back from Minnesota. The 24 year old left-back had been on trial with NASL side NSC Minnesota Stars until it was learned that his loan had been brought to a halt. This article from states that the main reason for an end to the loan was due to the fact that Lorenz had become out of favor with head coach Manny Lagos. According to the article Lorenz played at Right Midfield, which would be out of position of what he normally plays with Sporting Kc. Now that Lorenz is back Sporting Kc will, as ever, have plenty of depth at fullback heading into the final push for the playoffs.

Lorenz started 8 times for the Stars but will most likely see reserve league fixtures in a Sporting Kc shirt.

Robb Heineman Answers Your Questions

Earlier today Sporting Kc opened up a Q&A with club president Robb Heineman on twitter. Specifically about LSP's dire pitch conditions in recent weeks, which have seen a harsh beating from the hot Kansas sun, and an over-usage. In fact 5 games were played at LSP in August, throw a concert in there and the field is bound to get cut up like Swiss cheese...

Going under the hashtag #lspchat Robb answered your questions, here's the conversations that took place: 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy Scouting Report

Sporting Kc's backroom staff will be expecting yet another sell-out crowd as they welcome the LA Galaxy to LSP. Last week Sporting Kc lost 3-2 to FC Dallas in a somewhat unconvincing loss in the dying moments of the game. Now, they will have to play yet another tough game against LA on Monday. Sporting Kc may me be missing star winger Kei Kamara due to international duty and by all accounts this match looks like one of the most testing matches Sporting Kc have played all season. Except, of course, the last time they played LA.

Most Dangerous Player
Landon Donovan. The speedy USMNT winger will most likely be running at Chance Myers. Whether Myers is up to the task is yet to be decided. But who ever will start there will surely have received special instructions from the training staff on how to mark up on Donovan. Either way Landon will be running at SKC's back line all night.

Weakest Link
I hate to say it but I really can't think of a certain area on the pitch that LA are especially bad at. The whole team is really good. As you can see by simply opening up the Western Conference standings.

Football Style
Due to the sensational wingers that LA possess (Beckham, Donovan), it is easy to see why they play in a 4-4-2 or a 4-1-2-1-2.  They like to get balls in the box and often. In fact, David Beckham completes on average 7 crosses into the box per game.

Key Match-Up
Sporting Kc's full backs vs. LA's wingers. It can't be stressed enough, this game will be decided on the wings, whoever  can control those channels will be able to control most of the possession. Hopefully, Vermes will have noticed this...

Sporting Kc - 1 (Sapong)
LA Galaxy - 2 (Donovan, Keane)