Sporting Kansas City
Le coup d’envoi de la saison a été donné et il n’a pas fallu attendre longtemps pour assister à la première surprise : le LA Galaxy, qui n’avait plus été battu à domicile depuis le 14 novembre 2010, a mordu la poussière contre le Real Salt Lake. Buddle a ouvert la marque à moins de 20 minutes du terme, 120 secondes avant que son équipier Franklin ne marque… le premier but contre son camp de la saison. Lors d’une fin de match tonitruante, les virevoltants Morales et Espindola ont fixé les chiffres à 1-3.
Il n’a guère fallu attendre non plus pour voir le premier but de l’année, œuvre de Sébastien Le Toux à Vancouver face à Montréal. Jamais dans l’histoire de la MLS n’avait-on marqué aussi vite lors d’un match inaugural ! Forts de cette avance, les hommes de Martin Rennie ont été patients et ont porté le coup de grâce en début de deuxième mi-temps. Battu 2-0, l’Impact espérait de meilleurs débuts en MLS.
Le bonheur québécois de la semaine est donc à aller chercher chez André Hainault qui, dans les arrêts de jeu, a offert la victoire 0-1 à Houston sur le terrain de Chivas USA (décidément, le Home Depot Center était maudit ce week-end). Houston n’est jamais aussi dangereux que quand ses défenseurs montent sur des coups de pieds arrêtés. Même fin de match complètement folle à DC United, où Sapong a offert la victoire 0-1 à Kansas City après la fin du temps réglementaire.
|Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo|
Sporting KC fans have made Livestrong Sporting Park a fortress since the club's gorgeous facility opened last June. And although they didn't get to enjoy their team's last-second victory Saturday night in person, a large contingent gathered at the stadium's Member's Club to watch a 1-0 victory against D.C. United capped off by a C.J. Sapong winner in stoppage time.
Someone had the bright idea to set up a camera on those in attendance, which of course caught their reaction to Sapong's timely goal. Needless to say, it's a pretty awesome display. I can only imagine what the Cauldron has in store once Sporting KC comes home. Based on this video, there is plenty is in the works.
Last year, before the season started, I very cleverly predicted that LA would win the West, the Shield and the Cup. I predicted that Houston would win the East. And I came up with a few other good ones that panned out.
Unfortunately I made these predictions on Twitter, and 4000 posts later, I was no longer able to have my moment of glory. Not gonna make the same mistake this year.
Real Salt Lake
US Open Cup
Defender of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
And the most important question... will another forward come out of the blue and rack up double-digit goals? Wondolowski and Dom Oduro have done so in the last two seasons. This year's version will be... Tommy "Disco" Heinemann.
Feel free to bookmark this and throw it in my face 9 months from now.
Cheers, and enjoy the soccer.
Last Friday I went to a NBA game with Sporting KC. Aurelien Collin was among the players that went and was by far the biggest tip-off to the non-soccer fans seated around us that they were among pro athletes (Frenchman wearing metal-studded sneakers, a sleeveless shirt and a leather biker vest tend to stick out at an Orlando Magic game).
I love his eccentricity and a personality this big needs its own show. So won't you return to Collin's Corner with me?
Take heart, MLS fan: You are not the only one getting ready for the regular season.
With First Kick five days away, FIFA is getting in the spirit of the season by naming their four stars set to shine in the 2012 season: Juan Agudelo, C.J. Sapong, Brek Shea and Steve Zakuani.
I think those are pretty solid picks. You might not. The best part about First Kick is that for every team and every player, the sky is the limit on Day One; anything can happen.
So channel your inner FIFA and let us know: Who do you think is going to shine in 2012?
My trip down to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic has been a trip of many firsts: my first time in Orlando, my first trip to Disney. Add my first NBA game to the list as I just spent an evening with the guys from Sporting KC basking in the vertically-gifted glow of Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard.
For the Sporting KC players, staff, ownership and family, it was a fun night away from the tedium of the practice field and the hotel. For me it was an opportunity to see a bit of live sport that wasn't soccer --a very rare treat-- and to catch up with a few players I hadn't seen in a while like CJ Sapong, Kei Kamara and Chance Myers. I also got to see Aurelien Collin rock a leather vest over a sleeveless shirt while wearing sneakers covered in metal spikes; who knew Mad Max had a French cousin who played centerback?
Teal Bunbury was also in the house, fresh off of the U.S. Olympic team's victory over Mexico last night in Dallas. Unfortunately for him rookie Dom Dwyer was also there to. Check out the clip above and you'll see what I mean.
While most of us where tuned in to the USMNT's (surprise?) win over Italy at a bar, online or on our couches, the MLS players that are here in Orlando for the Disney Pro Soccer Challenge took in the game from their hotel rooms.
While the scene played out at team hotels all over town, Kevin Ellis and Dom Dwyer's room might have been the only one with an MLS camera in it. Check out their predictions and first-half thoughts in the clip above. You'll also find out why Kevin Ellis is, also surprisingly, pro-Italia.
The great thing about being in Orlando this week is, surprisingly, not the weather. That's been spotty. Last night a storm rolled through that, while not quite biblical in proportion, was enough to hold Simon Borg and myself hostage in the Sporting KC hotel for far longer than we intended. In the end it was OK though because it afforded me a chance to talk about team chemistry with coach Peter Vermes, who said of all the team's he ever been around the current KC squad is the tightest off-the-field he's ever seen.
Unfortunately for Kei Kamara though the storm put a damper on the pick-up basketball game he was trying to organize with some of his teammates. So much for team camaraderie.
The sun came out today though and after all that rain it's as humid as anything. Even Houston Dynamo players Corey Ashe and Andre Hainault, who should be used to a bit of sticky weather, thought it was a bit much for February.
The Dynamo had some interesting neighbors at today's practice. On one side were pitchers and catchers for the Atlanta Braves --they conduct spring training at the sprawling ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex-- with the Montreal Impact on the other. Funny how Brian Ching came back to Houston only to spend pre-season in the shadow of the Impact; guess his preseason plans would have been the same either way.
There are some days when I wish I weren't one of the hosts of ExtraTime Radio. Usually, it's when Simon Borg -- bless his big heart -- starts making absurd declarations like, say, Clint Dempsey should sit on the bench for the USMNT.
But there are other days when, for whatever reason, I miss the show and I really, really wish I could've been there.
Yesterday's episode is one such day. I would've given anything to be there when Sporting KC's Aurelien Collin started giving Simon fashion advice. "Suspenders!" It's the only time I've ever heard Simon ask for advice. Magnifique!
Then, New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe drops this whopper: He wants to win the US Open Cup. Considering how he shrugged off the USOC last year, that's pretty amazing.
If you haven't heard it, check it out here.
Unless you're a part of the ever-growing Sporting KC fanbase or stumbled on the #DearMrHunt hashtag on Twitter during the past week or so, you probably had no idea that Kansas City's 2000 MLS Cup trophy doesn't reside in Kansas City.
In fact, the trophy doesn't belong to Sporting KC at all.
The hardware Peter Vermes, Tony Meola and Chris Henderson, among others, earned at RFK Stadium against the Chicago Fire remains – and will continue to remain – property of the Hunt Sports Group, a treasured memento of the late Lamar Hunt, who owned the Wizards when they reached the MLS pinnacle at the turn of the century.
Understandably, Kansas City fans started wondering if they would ever get the opportunity to enjoy the spoils from their lone championship season in person. From that idea grew #DearMrHunt. And as it turns out, Clark Hunt was listening.
Sporting still won't own the trophy itself – retaining ownership was part of the terms agreed to by the Hunts and OnGoal when the team was sold – but they will have the opportunity to display it at Livestrong Sporting Park for the 2012 season until it goes to it's permanent home at Arrowhead Stadium.
It may not equate to ownership, but no matter how you slice it, that's a win for the fans that pack Livestrong Sporting Park from week to week.