Sporting KC Weekly Update: October 16, 2013

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

Sporting KC Weekly Update: October 16, 2013

SPORTING KC CLINCHES MLS CUP PLAYOFFS BERTH
Sporting Kansas City will compete in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the third straight season and 12th time in the team's 18-year history after earning a postseason berth on Saturday based on Major League Soccer results. Sporting KC currently sits in second place in both the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield races, one point behind the New York Red Bulls with two games remaining in the regular season.

Playoff ticket packages are currently available to Sporting Kansas City Season Ticket Members and those individuals on the season ticket waiting list. Call 888-4KC-GOAL for more information on joining the waiting list and receiving priority consideration.

Single-game tickets for potential home playoff matches at Sporting Park will go on sale once dates, times and opponents are finalized. Visit SportingKC.com and follow @SportingKC on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest announcements from the club.

SPORTING KC HOSTS D.C. UNITED ON FRIDAY AT SPORTING PARK
Sporting KC continues preparation for their final regular season home match of 2013 against D.C. United. The match, sponsored by University of Missouri, Kansas City will be held at Sporting Park on Friday night and is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game is the first of back-to-back matches that will be nationally broadcast on the NBC Sports Network and marks the club's first outing since their midweek rivalry match against the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 8.

Sporting KC (52) remains in second place in the Eastern Conference, only one-point behind the New York Red Bulls (53) in the race for the Supporters' Shield. D.C. United are in last place in the Major League Soccer Standings with 16 points and two matches remaining. However, the visitors are 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champions after defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the finals on the road at Rio Tinto Stadium.

A limited number of tickets are still available, including standing room only tickets, and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com. 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 Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Dave Borchardt and Andy Edwards leading the discussion and taking supporters' calls at 913-3-810-810.

SPORTING KC EARNS IMPORTANT ROAD POINT AT BBVA COMPASS STADIUM
Sporting Kansas City earned an important road point against their Eastern Conference rivals the Houston Dynamo one week ago. Both teams battled to maintain a scoreless draw. Sporting KC has the most points of any visiting team at BBVA Compass Stadium since its opening in 2012.

Sporting KC is undefeated in all but one of their previous nine regular season meetings against Houston, including a 1-0 victory earlier this year. 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.

GRAHAM ZUSI SCORES IN BACK-TO-BACK MATCHES WITH U.S. MNT
The U.S. Men's National Team played their final home World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica at Sporting Park on Friday. Sporting KC's Graham Zusi scored the game-winning goal in the 77th minute of the match and Jozy Altidore doubled the lead just four minutes later. Matt Besler started and played the full 90 minutes for the U.S. MNT helping to secure the shutout.

The U.S. MNT played their final match of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying on Tuesday against Panama in a game of high stakes for both Panama and Mexico. Heading into second half stoppage time, Panama led the U.S. MNT 2-1 but in the final three minutes the United States was able to score two goals to earn the come-from-behind victory.

Zusi converted the equalizer in the 92nd minute of play, heading a Brad Davis service past Panama's goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. The goal is Zusi's first headed goal of his professional career. Aron Johannsson scored the game-winning goal one-minute later to secure the 3-2 victory in favor of the United States.

SPORTING KC TO HOST MEDIA TELECONFERENCE WITH GRAHAM ZUSI
Sporting Kansas City will hold a media teleconference tonight at approximately 6 p.m. CT with U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Graham Zusi upon his arrival at the Kansas City airport. The MLS All-Star will discuss his recent stint with the U.S. MNT which included the game-winning goal in last Friday's win over Jamaica at Sporting Park and the game-tying goal in Tuesday's come-from-behind victory over Panama.

Please dial (605) 475-4700 and use access code 511038# at the prompt to join. The conference call start time is subject to an on-time flight arrival and will begin as soon as Zusi is available at the airport.

Z usi, 27, has 18 international appearances with three goals and two assists for the United States. He has played in 12 of the team's last 13 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. 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.

PETER VERMES INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME
U.S. Soccer inducted former U.S. Men's National Team forwards Peter Vermes and Joe-Max Moore into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Oct. 11 in a ceremony that took place on the Sprint Plaza at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. prior to the U.S. MNT World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica.

Click here to watch Peter Vermes as he accepts this honor.

ERIK PALMER-BROWN RETURNS FROM TOURNAMENT WITH U.S. U-18 MNT
Sporting KC homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown returned from international duty with the U.S. U-18 MNT on Tuesday. The four-team international tournament took place in Limoges, France from Oct. 6-14 and the United States faced France, Czech Republic and Poland during the nine-day tournament.

In the opening match of the tournament, the United States came-from-behind to secure a 2-2 against France. The U.S. then defeated Czech Republic 1-0 before concluding the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Poland. Palmer-Brown played every minute of every match in the tournament at center back and scored his first international goal in the victory over Czech Republic.

JIMMY NIELSEN EARNS TEAM OF THE WEEK HONORS
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was named MLSSoccer.com Team of the Week as well as SI.com Team of the Week after helping Sporting KC earn a hard-fought point at BBVA Compass Stadium to remain in the hunt for the MLS Supporters' Shield.

The Sporting KC captain made four saves, including three in the game's first eight minutes. The shutout was Nielsen's 12th of the year, which has him tied with Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and Philadelphia Union's Zac MacMath atop the League's shutout chart.
Nielsen has also been nominated for MLS Save of the Week. Nielsen is one of five nominees this week for his kick save on Houston's Will Bruin in a 0-0 draw last Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The other nominees for the weekly award include D.C.'s Bill Hamid, Colorado's Clint Irwin, Portland's Donovan Ricketts, and Colorado's Drew Moor. Voting for the award runs through Thursday evening with winners announced Friday on MLSsoccer.com. Cast your vote here.

FAN APPRECIATION WEEK PRESENTED BY IVY FUNDS
Fan Appreciation Week, presented by Ivy Funds, kicked off on Monday when Sporting KC forward Soony Saad took over the official Sporting KC Twitter account to answer questions from Sporting KC fans. Fan Appreciation Week continued on Tuesday with Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes participating in an A.M.A on Reddit.

Today's Fan Appreciation Week activity featured C.J. Sapong participating in a Q&A on the Sporting KC Facebook page. On Thursday, Jimmy Nielsen will appear on a Google+ Hangout to answer all fan questions and Dom Dwyer will takeover the Sporting KC Instagram account on Friday prior to Sporting KC's match versus D.C. Untied.

By engaging with Sporting KC in these daily social media activities, fans will be eligible to win prizes.

SPORTING PARK HOSTS PITCH BLACK ON SATURDAY
To conclude Fan Appreciation Week, Sporting Park will be hosting Pitch Black, an end-of-the-year awards presentation and celebration of the season to date. The entire team, including the coaching staff, will attend the celebration to mix and mingle with fans right on the Pitch at Sporting Park. Tickets are still available for Saturday's Pitch Black event, visit SportingKC.com/PitchBlack.

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.

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.

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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