Sporting KC Weekly Update: October 9, 2013

By: Sporting KC PR (Posted By J.B. Bauersfeld)
By: Sporting KC PR (Posted By J.B. Bauersfeld)

SPORTING KANSAS CITY RESUMES RIVALRY WITH HOUSTON TONIGHT
Sporting Kansas City plays Eastern Conference rivals Houston tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT at BBVA Compass Stadium. With a victory, Sporting KC will clinch a playoff spot and claim the best record in Major League Soccer with two games remaining in the 2013 regular season. The match will be broadcast live locally on KSMO-TV and fans can listen to the match on LA Gran D 1340 AM.
Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo currently sit in second and third place in the Eastern Conference, respectively, with four points separating the two sides. Sporting KC is undefeated in all but one of their previous eight regular season meetings against Houston, including a 1-0 victory and 1-1 draw earlier this season. The victory on May 12 was the first loss suffered by the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium and ended a 36-match unbeaten streak that dated back to the stadium's inaugural season in 2012.

All fans 21 and older can attend the club's official watch party at Hollywood Casino Turn 2 Sports Bar & Restaurant. Doors open at 4 p.m. CT featuring half price pizza, half price wings and $3 draft specials.

Sporting KC fans can track the match online by visiting SportingKC.com/GameOn or by following @SKCGameday on Twitter. The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show will air live on 102.9 KCXL with hosts Dave Borchardt and Andy Edwards leading the discussion and taking supporters' calls at 913-491-TALK.
SPORTING KC SWEEPS SEASON SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS
Sporting KC defeated Columbus 1-0 last weekend at Crew Stadium , marking the first time since 2006 that Sporting KC has swept the season series against the Crew. Ike Opara scored the lone goal of the match, finishing a Graham Zusi service to the back post.

The victory allowed Sporting KC to remain in second place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the New York Red Bulls in the race for the Supporters' Shield.
BESLER AND ZUSI NAMED TO U.S. MNT ROSTER
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi were named to the U.S. Men's National Team roster on Sunday for the team's final two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, U.S. Soccer announced. The United States will play Jamaica at 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. and then concludes The Hex in Panama at 8 p.m. CT on Oct. 15.

Besler, 26, has made 11 international appearances since debuting for the United States in January and his 906 minutes played for the U.S. rank third most among all players in 2013. The Overland Park, Kan. native has started five World Cup qualifiers, as well as all three knockout round games en route to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Besler is a two-time MLS All-Star and earned MLS Best XI, MLS Defender of the Year and MLS Breakout Player of the Year recognition in 2012.

Zusi, 27, has 16 international appearances with one goal and two assists for the United States. He has played in 10 of the team's last 11 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, including last month's 2-0 victory over Mexico to secure a berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. After being named MLS Breakout Player of the Year in 2011, Zusi was an MLS MVP finalist and Best XI selection in 2012 and was a nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS. The two-time MLS All-Star leads Sporting Kansas City with eight assists this year and, for a third straight season, has contributed five goals.

U.S. MNT TO HOST OPEN TRAINING TONIGHT
The U.S. Men's National Team is back in Kansas City to play their final home World Cup Qualifier at Sporting Park on Friday, Oct. 11. Leading up to the match, the U.S. MNT will host an open training tonight at Sporting Park at 5:30 p.m. CT. The training is free and open to the public.

Fans attending the public training session at Sporting Park are asked to park in Lot D, Lot F and at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Fans may enter the stadium through the West gate; doors open at 5 p.m. CT.
U.S. MNT PEP RALLY AT KC POWER AND LIGHT DISTRICT ON THURSDAY
A pep rally will be held at the Kansas City Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, Mo. beginning at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday in advance of the U.S. Men's National Team World Cup Qualifier at Sporting Park on Friday.

The pep rally will feature U.S. MNT players and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, ESPN personalities conducting a chalk talk and live music from DJ Joc Max. The 2013 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductees Joe-Max Moore and Peter Vermes will also make an appearance during the rally.
Admission to the pep rally is free for all fans on a first-come, first-served basis.

VERMES TO BE INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME ON FRIDAY
Former U.S. Men's National Team forwards Peter Vermes and Joe-Max Moore will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Friday in a ceremony taking place at 2:30 p.m. CT on the Sprint Plaza at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The event is free and open to the public.
SPORTING PARK HOSTS U.S. MNT ON FRIDAY IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
The U.S. Men's National Team booked their spot to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with their 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus. Sporting Park will host the U.S. MNT on Friday in the team's final home qualifying match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in front of a sold-out crowd. The U.S. MNT returns to Sporting Park to play Jamaica, live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio at 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday.

Parking lots open at 1 p.m. CT and Fan Fest begins at 2:30 p.m. CT in the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot. Sporting Kansas City players Benny Feilhaber and Jimmy Nielsen will be making an appearance at Allstate's Fan Fest activation from 4-5:30 p.m. CT. All ticket holders will receive a complimentary game-specific scarf to complete the scarf series throughout the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying.

All fans are invited to attend a #USAvJAM Watch Party in the Sprint Plaza at Sporting Park on Friday. There is no cost to attend and the event is open to the general public. Following the match, a post-game party will be held in the Boulevard Members Club featuring a performance by DJ G Train, Brazilian themed food and drinks as well as $3 Bud Light specials. The post-game party is free and open to all supporters.

VOTING OPEN FOR SPORTING KC TEAM AWARDS
Voting is open for Sporting Kansas City's annual team awards, to be presented at the club's Pitch Black celebration on Sat., Oct. 19 at Sporting Park . Media and fans can vote online at SportingKC.com/PitchBlack through 5 p.m. CT on Oct. 16.

Pitch Black, presented by Aristocrat Motors and Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City, will welcome fans alongside Sporting Kansas City players and coaches for a night of drinks, dining and live entertainment on the field at Sporting Park from 7-11 p.m. CT on Oct. 19. Tickets are available for $100 with proceeds benefiting The Victory Project in its mission to help kids in Kansas City who have cancer. Visit SportingKC.com/PitchBlack to secure your seat and/or for additional information.

Sporting Kansas City will recognize eight award winners in 2013 in the following categories:

Newcomer of the Year, presented by UMB Bank (voting now open)
Offensive Player of the Year, presented by Providence Medical Center (voting begins Thursday)
Defensive Player of the Year, presented by Ivy Funds (voting begins Thursday)
Goal of the Year, presented by Power Partners (voting begins Friday)
Most Valuable Player, presented by Aristocrat Motors and Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City (voting begins Friday)
Golden Boot, presented by US Bank (top goal scorer)
Humanitarian of the Year (chosen by club)
Bob Gansler Award (Outstanding Academy Player), presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (chosen by club)

ERIK PALMER-BROWN STARTS IN U.S. U-18 MATCH AGAINST FRANCE
Sporting KC homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown was named to the U.S. U-18 MNT 18-player roster for an international tournament in Limoges, France from Oct. 6-14. The U.S. U-18 MNT faces France, Czech Republic and Poland during the nine-day tournament.

Today marked the opening match of the tournament for the United States who drew 2-2 with hosts France. Palmer-Brown started for the U-18's MNT in the draw. The U-18's MNT will face the Czech Republic on Friday in their second match of the tournament.
IKE OPARA EARNS MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK HONORS
Sporting KC defender Ike Opara was named to the MLS Team of the Week following Saturday's 1-0 victory against the Columbus Crew.

The fourth-year defender scored his second game-winning goal of 2013 when he headed home a Graham Zusi cross in the 17th minute of Saturday's match. Opara was also recognized by Avi Creditor at SI.com as a Team of the Week performer and finished No. 9 on the weekly Castrol Index.
Opara joined Soccer Morning with Jason Davis (NASN & KickTV) to talk about the road result and his first season in KC. Watch the full interview online. Fans can also hear from Opara on the Sporting KC Show that aired yesterday on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine. Listen to the full podcast here.

KC FASHION WEEK FEATURES AURELIEN COLLIN'S AC78
Sporting KC All-Star Aurelien Collin launched a new men's fashion line, AC78, during events surrounding the 2013 MLS All-Star Game in Kansas City. KC Fashion Week, began last Thursday with the opening Designer Showcase featuring AC78 at Union Station.

Other designers that were on display Thursday were Chelsea Riane Designs, Kaity Rathman Designs, Little Shell Designs, Recrudesence, Erin Paige Designs, Haus of Donna Faye, Audrea Marie Long Designs and Whitney Manney.
Prior to the show at Union Station, Collin participated in a presentation of his line at Halls department store on the Country Club Plaza. Click here to watch video of the events.

SPORTING KC TO HOST CD OLIMPIA IN FINAL GROUP STAGE CCL MATCH
Sporting Kansas City will need to win or draw in their final group stage match on Oct. 23 at Sporting Park to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. A limited number of tickets are still available for the match, beginning at 7 p.m. CT, and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices on gameday.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR BIG 12 SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP AT SWOPE SOCCER VILLAGE
Tickets for the 2013 Big 12 Soccer Championship are now available through Ticketmaster. The Championship will take place Nov. 6, 8 and 10 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City. To purchase tickets visit Big12Sports.com . Day passes cost $9, three-day tournament passes are $14 and 20-ticket group packages are available for $120.

Sporting Club and the University of Kansas will co-host this year's championship, which will feature the Big 12's top eight teams competing for the Conference's postseason title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division 1 Women's Soccer Championship.
Sporting Kansas City and Sporting Park earn honors from local magazine, The Pitch
The Pitch announced their annual, Best of Kansas City awards, 2013 edition. Sporting KC won awards in both Critics' Picks and Readers' Picks. In Critics' Picks, Jimmy Nielsen won Best Athlete, Personality, Graham Zusi earned Best Sporting KC Player and Matt Besler won Best American Hero. Benny Feilhaber was also recognized for Best Moment of the Sporting KC Season for his goal against the Colorado Rapids.

Sporting Park tallied several awards in the Readers' Picks segment including Best place to watch KC pro sports, Best Soccer Field and Best Stadium. Buzz Beach Ball was selected as the best concert and Jimmy Nielsen was chosen as Best Sporting KC player.

SPORTING KC IN THE COMMUNITY
On Saturday, Sporting Kansas City players will be making appearances at two events in the area . Jon Kempin and Lawrence Olum will attend Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City's 75th anniversary celebration from 2-3:30 p.m. CT in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Two additional Sporting KC players will also be at Village West Discount Liquors (11010 Parallel Parkway) in Kansas City, Kan. from 5-6:30 p.m. CT to meet fans, sign autographs and take pictures with customers.

BRADEN'S HOPE/SPORTING KC CALENDARS NOW ON SALE
For the second consecutive year, Sporting KC has partnered with Braden's Hope to raise funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer. Sporting KC fans can support the cause by purchasing the Braden's Hope/Sporting KC calendar. The 2014 calendar features 12 different Sporting KC players paired with childhood cancer heroes.
Calendars can be purchased at Sporting Style stores at Sporting Park as well as online at bradenshope.org . All of the proceeds from calendar sales go directly to raise awareness and funds for targeted treatments of childhood cancer.

SPORTING PARK BOX OFFICE SHIFTS TO GAMEDAY HOURS ONLY
The Sporting Park Box Offices will only operate on gamedays for the remainder of the 2013 season. Please note the following gameday box office hours:

East Box Office
10 a.m. CT - Halftime
West Box Office
3 hours prior to kickoff - Halftime
All tickets for upcoming Sporting KC home matches and additional events at Sporting Park may be purchased online at TicketMaster.com.
ENTER TO WIN CHIPOTLE CATERING FOR 20
Sporting KC and Chipotle Mexican Grill are teaming up for a sweepstakes that will give away two prize packages featuring free Chipotle for 20. Text "SKCParty1" to 888222 through Oct. 31 and you'll be entered to win a feast for 20 of Chipotle's gourmet burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads. For official rules, visit Chipotle.com/SKCSweeps.

Chipotle, which opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and now operates more than 1,500 restaurants worldwide, is an official partner of Sporting Kansas City and offers catering at their Missouri and Kansas locations.
SECURE 2014 SEASON TICKETS AT SPORTING PARK
Sporting Kansas City is now taking deposits for new season ticket members for the 2014 season at state-of-the-art Sporting Park. The non-refundable deposits are $150 per seat for premium areas and $50 per seat for all other sections and provide fans with priority position for securing full season tickets in 2014.

Additionally, all fans on the Sporting Kansas City season ticket member waiting list will be given access to pre-sale opportunities for select special events at Sporting Park (subject to availability). For more information, click here or stop by the Sporting KC sales tables on Saturday at Sporting Park -- conveniently located on the concourse near the Budweiser Corner or by the East Stand.
AWAY TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR REGULAR SEASON FINALE
Reserve your complimentary away ticket to Sporting Kansas City's final regular season road match on October 26 at the Philadelphia Union by clicking here.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting Kansas City fans looking to keep up with the club on the worldwide web now have a place to go. The social media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the club, its players as well as many staff members. Additionally, fans may take advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage available online.
Also, Sporting Kansas City's 2013 media guide is now available online and fans can find all the latest information for Sporting Kansas City matches at SportingKC.com/GameOn.


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