Sporting Kansas City Archive

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Quintessentially Canadian Power Rankings, Week 3

Marcel de Jong

Marcel de Jong

Four Canadian players made their MLS season debuts (or MLS debuts, period) in the third weekend of the MLS season. That boosts the number of Canadians who have played in the league so far in 2015 to 12.

But, take that with a grain of salt. The two strong leaders in minutes played by Canadians may never ever suit up for the Canadian national side — Philadelphia Union defender Steven Vitoria and FC Dallas strikes Tesho Akindele, who scored this past weekend. Because there is still more than a snowball’s chance in hell that either could play for Canada down the road, they are included in the list.

And five of the remaining 10 have seen nothing more than substitute minutes.

But it is encouraging to see Marcel de Jong get his second straight start (and full 90) for Sporting Kansas City, which puts him in the minute lead for Canadian players who actually have senior national-team caps. And Toronto FC had a bye week, so take the Reds’ numbers with a grain of salt.
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2

Catching up: Canada’s U-17 loss, Week 2 of the Quintessentially Canadian Power Rankings

Steven Vitoria

Steven Vitoria

The last few days have been a whirlwind; and it’s meant I’ve had to a take the last 72 hours away from soccer.

Getting the fifth issue of Plastic Pitch to release required a massive push last week; as well, I have until the end of the month to finish the final draft of my latest novel for young adults. And, I am writing this post from an Austin, Tex. hotel room; last night, I attended the premiere of Malcolm Ingram’s new documentary, Out to Win, at the SXSW Film Festival.

(Full disclosure: I’m a partner in OTW’s production company.)

I got the chance to meet some incredible athletes, both Canadian and American, who have come out; and, the film is a reminder — to paraphrase Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler — of the power sport has when it comes to social change. It was my pleasure to be in the company of Dave Kopay, the NFL player who, in the early ‘70s, was the first “out” athlete; Canadian women’s hockey goalkeeper Charline Labonte and her partner, Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis; retired NBA centre Jason Collins and Wade Davis, former NFLer and the director of You Can Play.

And, well, when in Austin, let’s just say the whole town carries a mesquite smoke smell. So, yes, the barbecue is fantastic.

But, I did want to take the chance to catch up on a couple of things: The elimination of Canada’s U-17s from the U-17 World Cup picture and the second instalment of The 11’s Quintessentially Canadian Power Rankings. (For more on the methodology, click here).
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0

Collin stays on the pitch after contentious elbow call, and SKC beats Toronto FC

Aurelien Collin

Aurelien Collin

With a nasty early autumn rain, traffic headaches on Lake Shore Boulevard because of road closures, and a team that’s already out of the playoff race as the main attraction, it was no surprise that BMO Field looked like a scene out of MLS, circa 1999.

Empty seats outnumbered those who actually bothered to make it out on a damp Saturday afternoon.

So, when the controversial moment of the match came in the 37th minute, the boos that would have rained down from a normal BMO Field crowd weren’t there.

Let’s back up to the 37th minute of the match. Sporting Kansas City was up 1-0 in a game it would go on to win 2-1. SKC defender Aurelien Collin, already on a yellow, was being pursued by TFC midfielder Alvaro Rey. Collin’s elbow came up and caught Rey in the face. Referee Allen Chapman called the foul but decided, after consulting with his linesman, that no card should be issued. So, Collin stayed on the pitch and SKC was able to play out the game 11 vs. 11. The question is, was the elbow part of the cadence of Collin’s run, or did he raise it higher than normal to catch Rey in the face?
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0

Sam named MLS Player of the Week; The 11’s vote went to Joe Bendik

Lloyd Sam

Lloyd Sam

Lloyd Sam played just a little more than a half-hour on Saturday — and it was enough to earn the New York Red Bull the Player of the Week Award.

The Englishman got the most first-place votes from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters, thanks to a goal and and assist in the Red Bulls’ 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City. Sam helped create the two key goals in a 10-minute span, shortly after he came on.

The win gave the Red Bulls the Eastern Conference lead, but the third-place Montreal Impact, despite winning only one of its last seven, is just three points back of New York with two games in hand.
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The Bizarro world of the Montreal Impact: Beats the good teams, loses to the bad ones

logo_impact_2012-150x150The Montreal Impact has won just one of its last seven last MLS matches.

But, even with the swoon, the Impact is just three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls. And the Impact has two games in hand on New York — so, it’s not like this bad patch in the schedule has decimated the Montreal soccer season. Anything but.

Wait. Is it really a bad patch? Or simply the averages playing out?

That might be the case. Why? Because the Impact is a team that is playing out a bizarre season. The one-win-in-seven streak plays that out. Included in this funk were losses to a Columbus team that has looked awful over the last two months; a draw at Toronto FC, which forced the Impact to rally from two goals down; and a draw at home to Chivas USA. Meanwhile, the one solitary win came over Sporting Kansas City, one of the East’s elite teams.

And, before the streak started, the Impact got a win at Kansas City, too.

The streak happened during what should have been the Impact’s easiest section of the season, with lots of games against some of the poorer teams in the league.

But this is where it gets bizarre. If you’re a gambling man, make sure not to bet on the Impact if it plays poor teams. Read the rest of this entry »

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Impact leaves it late, but club returns to winning ways

Blake Smith

Blake Smith

Things couldn’t have worked out much better for the Montreal Impact in its match against the Eastern Conference–leading Sporting Kansas City side at Saputo Stadium. It took every one of the 90 minutes of scheduled time and all but 30 seconds of the additional seven minutes of play that followed, but the Impact emerged on the desired end of a 1-0 score, drawing to within a single point of their guests on the MLS Eastern Conference ladder.

“It was a happy ending,” offered head coach Marco Schallibaum, who managed to remain on the sidelines for the entire game rather than making an early exit as he has in both games against SKC played earlier in the schedule. “When you change someone to bring on fresh legs and the guy you send on gets the goal, there’s a bit of luck involved. We deserved it because we dominated the second half and managed to defeat the team that, I think, is, at the moment, the best team in MLS.”

The fresh legs belonged to rookie Blake Smith, who subbed in for Sanna Nyassi in the 80th minute and for the second time this season, potted the game-winner. He followed it up with a triple back flip.
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4

O’Dea’s departure a sign of a fundamental flaw in MLS

MLS-logoBack in my elementary-school years, my friends and I had a spring-time fixation. We’d go out near the playground boundary at Brampton’s John Newman Catholic School, and search the leafy greens that poked through the chain-link fences that separated the schoolyard from the backyards of the bordering homes.

What were we looking for? Caterpillars. We’d find our prey, and carefully prod them into jars, that were already lovingly stuffed with leaves, grass and a few drops of water — all the necessities of life for a caterpillar. Then, the lids, already with tiny air holes pre-punched in them, would be screwed on top.

For most of us, the caterpillar experiment would end in sorrow. After a few days, the average boy would notice the creature had stopped moving, and he’d shake out the greens and the corpse, and then be off into the greens again to look for a new pet/victim.

But, the lucky one (and, to be clear, this happened to me only once. I have a lot of caterpillars on my conscience) would one day find a white cocoon and, then, be able to see a moth emerge. Once the cocoon had formed, there was no more need for the lid — once it was ready, the moth would be able to fly away, and the adoptive parenthood of a bug could be called a success.

MLS is at that cocoon stage; it was nurtured in a controlled environment filled with salary caps, allocations and draft orders. It beat the odds, as pro soccer hasn’t been a survival industry on this continent. But, soon it will be ready to fly away; commissioner Don Garber has repeated this over and over — that MLS will be one of the world’s top leagues in 10 years.
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3

Nothing but negatives out of TFC’s humbling loss to Sporting KC

Soony Saad

Soony Saad

A few years ago, when my old club, AC Misfits, was putt-putting along in the middle division of Edmonton men’s league, Hans, our German import, critiqued our performance after a particularly miserable effort.

It went like this: You could put the entire team in a sack, then have someone punch it. No matter which player took the punch, “you’d be right.”

Hans told us this was a Beckenbauer-ism. I tried finding that quote tonight, no luck. But, no matter if it was Hans or Beckenbauer who authored the quote, it would be an apt description of Toronto FC on Saturday night.

There were so many listless performances out there. Sure, trying to get anything out of a road game in Kansas City is difficult, but TFC made it oh so easy for their hosts with a midfield that refused to challenge for the ball and a back four that had no shape and kept backing in, rather than trying to shut down shooting lanes or cutting off passes.

The result? A 3-0 loss which, really, could have been worse. A lot worse.
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1

Ho hum, Camilo scores again for the Whitecaps

Camilo

Camilo

Another game, another goal for Vancouver Whitecaps striker Camilo.

This time it was a late first-half free kick effort which proved to be the eventual equalizer in a 1-1 away draw against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

On the play, Camilo curled a ball into the right upper 90 from 25 yards out after Soony Saad conceded a free kick. The strike left little chance for Jimmy Nielsen to do anything but stare on helplessly as the ball spun past the post before rippling the netting.

The goal marks the Brazilian’s eighth goal in his last seven matches as he continues to smash goals in from set pieces, penalties and open play.

“He’s so consistent,” Whitecaps left fullback Jordan Harvey said of Camilo’s free kicks on the post-match radio broadcast. “Every day he’s working on it, and it’s not a surprise. When you work as much as he does, and he’s so consistent, you’re going to get goals.
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Toronto FC wraps up Caldwell, makes deal for Thomas

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

As the July window opens and the long weekend ends, Toronto FC’s front office was busy.

On Tuesday morning, the Reds announced they had successfully managed to secure the services of veteran defender Steven Caldwell until the end of the 2015 season, and made a deal with Sporting Kansas City to acquire depth midfielder Michael Thomas.

Caldwell’s loan deal with the Reds expired at the beginning of July. But he’s made the deal to remain in Toronto, to try and help rebuild a backline that still remains one of the more suspect groups in MLS.

“Steven has done a great job in anchoring our defense since arriving on loan, and he’s been a terrific influence in the locker room,” said Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne in a release issued by the club. “We’re very pleased that he’ll be with us for this and the next two seasons.”
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