Sporting KC's Roger Espinoza wins Week 19 AT&T Goal of the Week
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza’s still got it.
Midfielder Roger Espinoza began his professional career in Kansas City (2008-2012) before moving abroad to join Wigan Athletic (2013-14) in England. In his final season with Sporting before leaving, Espinoza was an MLS All-Star and helped the club win the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Espinoza returned to Sporting KC in January 2015, having appeared in an Olympic Games and two FIFA World Cups.
Espinoza started 20 matches for Sporting KC during an injury-shortened 2015 season, recording a goal and five assists, and was a regular staple of the club's midfield in 2016 with another goal and five assists in 34 games (all competitions). He started all 36 competitive appearances during a 2017 campaign that saw Espinoza help Sporting KC to its fourth U.S. Open Cup title overall and its third since 2012. Espinoza enjoyed a brilliant 2018 with regular-season career-highs in goals (three) and assists (nine) as a key midfield cog.
Across 13 seasons with Sporting, Espinoza has amassed 368 appearances in all competitions and 316 MLS regular season appearances, the second most in club history. He has tallied 14 goals and 47 assists across all competitive matches.
2022: Espinoza received club Goal of the Year honors for a 44-yard strike in a 2-1 road win at CF Montreal. MLS Regular Season: Started 25 of 30 appearances, scored two goals and had four assists (1884 minutes played). Scored in a 3-1 loss at the Chicago Fire on March 19. Assisted on JohnnY Russell's goal right before halftime in a 1-1 draw on May 22 at the San Jose Earthquakes. Fired home Sporting KC's Goal of the Year to level the match at CF Montreal on July 9 which Sporting would go on to win 2-1. Assisted Erik Thommy's first Sporting KC goal in a 4-2 win against the LA Galaxy on Aug. 6. Provided an assist on Willy Agada's first of two scores against the Portland Timbers on Aug. 21 in a 4-1 win at home. Again, assisted Agada on Aug. 17 in another 4-1 win this time over Minnesota United. U.S. Open Cup: Started one of three appearances in Sporting's run to the Open Cup semifinals. Came on as a halftime substitute in the club's 2-1 comeback win over the Houston Dynamo in the Round of 16 on May 25. Appeared in the 62nd minute of a 6-0 thrashing of Union Omaha on June 22. Started and played the full 120 minutes of a semifinal loss at Sacramento Republic FC on July, 27
2021: MLS Regular Season: Started 24 of 32 appearances and tallied two assists (2097 minutes played). Assisted Daniel Salloi's goal in a 4-0 thrashing of Minnesota United on Aug.15. Provided the match-winning assist to Johnny Russell on Oct. 23 at the Seattle Sounders in a crucial late-season match. MLS Cup Playoffs: Appeared in both of Sporting's playoff matches (22 minutes played). Came off the bench in a Round One win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 20. Subbed on in the 71st minute of a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Nov. 28 in the Western Conference Semifinals.
2020: MLS regular season: Started 12 of 16 appearances and recorded two goals and one assist (950 minutes played). Scored the second goal in a 4-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on March 7, his first for Sporting since October 2018. Assisted Alan Pulido's second goal in a 2-1 victory at the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 3. Assisted Alan Pulido's opening goal in a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 24. Came off the bench to score the match-winner in a 1-0 victory at FC Cincinnati on Oct. 28. MLS is Back Tournament: Started five matches (389 minutes played). MLS Cup Playoffs: Started two matches and recorded one goal (167 minutes played). Played 89 minutes in the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Nov. 22, scoring an early goal on his 300th competitive appearance for the club as Sporting defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 in a penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw. Played 78 minutes in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota United in the Western Conference Semifinals on Dec. 3.
2019: MLS regular season: Started 15 of 16 appearances and recorded three assists (1,149 minutes played). Assisted Felipe Gutierrez's goal and Johnny Russell's first of two goals in a record-breaking 7-1 win over the Montreal Impact on March 30. Missed three months with a knee injury before returning to action as a second-half substitute vs. FC Dallas on July 20. Became the fourth player in Sporting history to start 250 competitive matches for the club in a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 31. Assisted Krisztian Nemeth's goal in a 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers on Sept. 29. Concacaf Champions League: Started six matches, recording one goal and one assist (495 minutes played). Started in both shutout wins over Deportivo Toluca FC in the Round of 16, assisting Gerso Fernandes' game-winner in a 2-0 second-leg victory at Toluca on Feb. 28. Started in both games of a 4-2 aggregate win over Independiente in the Quarterfinals, scoring a goal in a 3-0 second-leg win on March 14. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2018: MLS regular season: Started 31 matches, recording career-highs with three goals and nine assist (2,735 minutes played). Assisted Johnny Russell's goal in a thrilling 4-3 win at the Chicago Fire on March 10. Assisted Graham Zusi's stunning strike in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on March 17. Assisted Johnny Russell's goal in a 2-0 victory at the LA Galaxy on April 8. Assisted Johnny Russell's first two goals in a historic 6-0 hammering of Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 20, taking just eight games to tie his regular season career high with five assists. Broke his MLS career-high with his sixth assist in a 4-1 win over Minnesota United FC on June 3, setting up Cristian Lobato's goal. Recorded two assists in a 4-2 loss at Real Salt Lake on July 4, helping set up Daniel Salloi's opener before doing the same for Ike Opara's second-half strike. Scored a spectacular long-range goal in a 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls on July 14. Assisted Diego Rubio's opening goal in a 3-0 win over Portland on Aug. 18. Set an MLS career-high with his second goal of the season in a 3-0 win at FC Dallas on Oct. 21. Scored a stunning long-range goal in a 2-1 win over LAFC on Oct. 28 to help Sporting KC finish first in the Western Conference. Open Cup: Played 22 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 fourth-round win over Real Salt Lake on June 6. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the Round of 16 on June 16. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 quarterfinal loss at the Houston Dynamo on July 18. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started four matches (360 minutes played). Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 conference semifinal first leg draw at Real Salt Lake on Nov. 4. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 conference semifinal second-leg win over Real Salt Lake on Nov. 11. Started and played 90 minutes in a 0-0 conference championship first-leg draw at Portland on Nov. 25. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 conference championship second leg loss to Portland on Nov. 29.
2017: MLS regular season: Started 30 matches, recording one goal and three assists (2677 minutes played). Assisted Gerso's game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory over Colorado Rapids on April 9. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's stunning game-winner in a 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on April 29. Scored his first goal of the season with a long strike against LA Galaxy on June 24. Assisted on a game-tying goal by Daniel Salloi against Portland Timbers on July 1. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-0 fourth-round win over Minnesota United FC on June 14, assisting Daniel Salloi's goal in the 83rd minute. Played 90 minutes in a 2-0 round of 16 win over Houston Dynamo on June 28. Started and played 120 minutes in a 3-0 quarterfinal win against FC Dallas on July 11. Started and played 120 minutes in a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes following a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time on Aug. 9. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 Open Cup Final victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 114 minutes in a 1-0 extra-time loss at the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Knockout Round on Oct. 26.
2016: Started 34 matches in all competitions, recording one goal and five assists (3069 minutes played). MLS regular season: Started 30 matches, scored one goal and recorded a career-high five assists (2679 minutes played). Tallied the game-winning assist to Jacob Peterson in a 2-1 victory over Orlando City SC on May 15. Assisted Dom Dwyer's opening goal in a 2-2 draw at Montreal Impact on June 25. Assisted Graham Zusi's goal in a 3-2 win over Columbus Crew SC on July 3. Assisted Dom Dwyer's first goal in a 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on July 24. Scored a spectacular goal and assisted Dom Dwyer's goal in a 3-3 draw against Houston on Sept. 9. Open Cup: Started two matches (210 minutes played). Started and played 120 minutes in a 2-1 extra time win over Minnesota United on June 15. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 fifth round loss at the Houston Dynamo on June 29. CONCACAF Champions League: Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw at Central FC on Aug. 16. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 knockout round loss at Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 27.
2015 regular season: Made 17 starts, scored one goal and recorded four assists (1484 minutes played). Scored his first MLS goal since August 2011 in a 3-1 loss to FC Dallas on March 14. Assisted Jalil Anibaba's 91st-minute goal in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on April 5. Assisted Dom Dwyer's equalizer in a 1-1 draw at D.C. United on May 9. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's goal in a 2-1 win over Montreal on July 18. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's goal in a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on July 24. MLS Cup Playoffs: Did not feature. Open Cup: Started three matches and recorded one assist. Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 fourth round win over Saint Louis FC on June 16. Started and played 90 minutes in a 6-2 fifth round win over FC Dallas on July 1. Started and played 89 minutes in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over the Houston Dynamo on July 21, assisting Krisztian Nemeth's late goal to seal the victory.
Wigan Athletic FC (2012-14):
Joined Wigan Athletic FC in the English Premier League after the 2012 MLS season. Made 57 appearances and scored two goals in all competitions for Wigan Athletic, including 42 league appearances and three games played in the UEFA Europa League.
2014-15: Made 13 appearances in all competitions, scoring his first English Championship goal on Nov. 1 against Fulham.
2013-14: Named Wigan's Community Player of the Year. Played 29 matches in all competitions, including 19 in the English Championship, three in the UEFA Europa League and an appearance in the 2013 FA Community Shield against Manchester United. Espinoza and Wigan defended the FA Cup title with a deep run in the 2013-14 edition of the tournament, highlighted by another upset of Manchester City, before falling on penalties to eventual champions Arsenal in the semifinals at Wembley Stadium. Espinoza's goal against MK Dons (Jan. 4) was voted the best goal of the FA Cup third round.
2012-13: Made 16 appearances for Wigan across all competitions, including 12 in the English Premier League and four in the FA Cup. Made his Premier League debut on Jan. 19 against Sunderland. Scored his first Premier League goal against Swansea City on May 7. Started and played 90 minutes in Wigan's historic 1-0 victory in the 2013 FA Cup final over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on May 11. The feat -- which earned Wigan a berth in the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League group stage and a match-up against Manchester United in the 2013 FA Community Shield -- saw Espinoza join Freddie Ljungberg as the only two players in MLS history to have appeared in the finals and won both the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and FA Cup.
2012: Espinoza was named a 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star, his first All-Star honor. MLS Regular Season: Started all 26 of his appearances and tallied two assists (2275 minutes played). Assisted Bobby Convey's goal in a 2-1 defeat at the Chicago Fira on May 12. Assisted on Jacob Peterson's score against Montreal in a 3-1 road victory. Espinoza left the October 7th match against the Columbus Crew in second half stoppage time after suffering a high ankle sprain. MLS Cup Playoffs: After recovering from the ankle sprain, Espinoza started in both legs of Sporting's Eastern Conference Semifinals matches against the Houston Dynamo (167 minutes played). Open Cup: Started two of three appearances en route to Sporting's second Open Cup title in club history (241 minutes played). Came in off the bench in a 3-0 win over the Dayton Dutch Lions. Started and played the full 90 of the semifinal victory against the Philadelphia Union. Played all 120 minutes of the Open Cup Final against the Seattle Sounders which Sporting won 3-2 in penalty kicks on Aug. 8.
Sporting Kansas City (2008-2011):
2011: MLS Regular Season: Started all 24 appearances, scored one goal and added three assists (1979 minutes played). Assisted the club's first goal of the season on Teal Bunbury's stoppage time goal at the end of the first half on April 2. Assisted the match-tying goal on Aurelien Collin's 90th-minute leveler on July 16. Assisted Kei Kamara's second score in a 4-2 win over Toronto FC on July 23. Scored the match winner in a 2-0 triumph over Real Salt Lake on Aug. 3. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started three matches in the MLS Cup Playoffs (210 minutes played). Started and played the full 90 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal first leg on Oct. 30 against the Colorado Rapids and played 45 minutes of Leg two. Played 75 minutes of the 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo on Nov. 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Open Cup: Started one of two appearances (124 minutes played). Played the full 90 of a qualifying match against the Houston Dynamo that Sporting won 1-0. Came on in the 56th minute of a 2-0 defeat to the Richmond Kickers in the Quarterfinals.
2010: Graduated from the MLS Generation Adidas program at the end of the season. MLS Regular Season: Started all 25 appearances and assisted on one goal (2192 minutes played). Assisted the match-winning goal in a 1-0 triumph over Columbus Crew on July 14. Open Cup: Did not feature International Friendlies: Started and played the full 90 in Kansas City's 2-1 win over Manchester United in a friendly at Arrowhead Stadium.
2009: Missed time with the team due to his inclusion in the Honduran National team's squad for the 2009 Gold Cup. MLS Regular Season: Started six of 16 appearances and recorded two assists (635 minutes played). Assisted Davy Arnaud's second goal on March 21 against Toronto FC. Set up a goal that proved to be the leveler of a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy on May 30. Open Cup: Started the Round of 16 win against the Minnesota Thunder. Assisted the first goal in the 3-3 draw. Kansas City went on to win in penalties.
2008: Selected 11th overall in the first round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. Named Kansas City’s 2008 Rookie of the Year. MLS Regular Season: As a rookie, started 12 of 22 appearances, scored once and added three assists (1169 minutes played). Debuted for the club on April 9, in a loss to the New England Revolution, coming on in the 59th minute. Scored his first career MLS goal on July 17 in the 24th minute of a 3-3 draw at Columbus Crew. Assisted Davy Arnaud in a 2-0 win over LA Galaxy on Aug. 13 for his first MLS assist. A week later, he set up Kevin Souter's score in a 2-0 win against Toronto FC. Picked up the match-winning assist against New England on Oct. 25. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started one of two appearances in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (78 minutes played). Came on as a sub late in a 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew and started the second leg, a 2-0 loss. Open Cup: Started Kansas City's Round of 16 match at the Carolina Railhawks. Started and played 120 minutes in the Quarterfinals loss in penalties at Seattle, converting his penalty. MLS Reserve League: Started 6 games for the reserve team and recorded 2 assists.
INTERNATIONAL (53 caps, 4 goals):
2017: Started and played 90 minutes in a 6-0 World Cup qualifying defeat against the United States on March 24. Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Costa Rica on March 28.
2016: Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 friendly defeat to Guatemala on Feb. 10. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw at El Salvador on March 25. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against El Salvador on March 29. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 15.
2015: Started and played 65 minutes in a 3-1 loss to French Guiana in the first leg of a CONCACAF Gold Cup play-in series.
2014: Scored a goal in a 4-2 defeat in an international friendly against Israel on June 2.
2014 FIFA WORLD CUP: Started all three group stage matches for Honduras in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Played 90 minutes in matches against France on June 15, and against Ecuador on June 21. Started and played 45 minutes in the final group stage match against Switzerland on June 25.
2012: Participated in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Honduras advanced out of the group stage before falling 3-2 to Brazil in the quarterfinals. Espinoza earned a goal and an assist before being shown a second yellow card in the 90th minute of the quarterfinals. As Espinoza exited the pitch, he received a standing ovation.
2011: Appeared in quarterfinal and semifinal matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Received a call-up to play in international friendlies against the United States and Jamaica on Oct. 8 and Oct. 12, starting both matches.
2010: Scored again for Honduras against the United States in a friendly on Jan. 23.
2010 FIFA WORLD CUP: Named to the roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and started two matches, going the full 90 against Chile on June 16. Played 45 minutes on June 21 against the eventual champions Spain.
2009: Debuted for the Honduras National Team on Jan. 22 in a 2-1 win over Belize. Scored the game-winning goal in 1-0 victory over El Salvador in the UNCAF Nations Cup 3rd place match, his first goal for the national team. Named in the Honduras squad for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring against Grenada and helping the team to a semi-final berth.
Started career at Yavapai College where he was first-team All-Conference, Conference Player of the Year and National Player of the Year runner-up. Transferred to Ohio State, where he was named first-team All-Conference and led the Buckeyes to the College Cup final. In the National Championship, he scored in the 12th minute of a 2-1 loss to Wake Forest. His performance in the tournament earned him a spot on the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.
One of six children. Loves snowboarding, ice fishing and playing Call of Duty. Also enjoys eating, especially his mother’s Honduran cuisine.
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