The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz

23Aug/13Off

Preview: Sporting KC set to take on Chicago Fire for last time this season.

Cover Photo Google

Photo taken from Sporting KC's Google+ account and modified.

To be quite honest I am not 100% sure what to think about this game. The homer in me wants Sporting to go in there and just smoke the ever living shorts off of the Fire, but the realist in me is trying to be a bit smarter about it. Sporting has been fortunate lately to be able to beat Chicago a few times recently but it is never a tough match. Something that I also fear is that Sporting hasn't had a complete meltdown lately like they kind of did last year against the Union where they lost 0-4. I'm sure that Sporting still has a sour taste in their mouth from the San Jose loss and are looking to get back on track and stay on top and for that I can see Sporting winning this game. Now I don't want to say a score because I'm rarely correct on that but it is sure to be a good game. I'd probably be closer to saying that this game won't finish with 11 men for each team on the field then trying to guess the score.

22Aug/13Off

Review: Sporting KC falls to Buck Shaw Stadium

Image taken from Sporting KC Google+ page

Reread that title. Yeah I firmly believe that Buck Shaw Stadium is the reason why Sporting lost or more specifically the field. The field at Buck Shaw is one of the smallest in not just width but also length in all of MLS. Luckily San Jose is getting a new stadium very soon, I think for next year, but that didn't help Sporting out for this week as they played much like they played but they are so use to have so much space and not even on their own field but most of the MLS now and so Sporting wasn't able to get their normal flow going that they are use to that allows them to dominate games. That isn't to say that Sporting played terrible as the Earthquakes just about lucked into their goal and pretty much the only person that could score for their team did and that was Wondolowski.

Sporting now heads off to play another tough match against rival team Chicago Fire in Chicago and that is never an even match. Hopefully the supporters will have correct spelling this time.

16Aug/13Off

Preview: Sporting KC take on a struggling San Jose Earthquakes team

Picture taken from MLSsoccer.com

When I first saw this match up earlier this week I thought it was going to be a difficult and it still most likely will but it is surprising to me that San Jose is struggling so much this year. Granted I don't pay much attention to them especially with the Red Bulls and Union are hot on Sporting's tales so it will be a race to the finish line and then it will start all over for the playoffs.

I'm hoping that Sporting isn't coming into game thinking that San Jose will just be a push over like New England was because San Jose will make Sporting suffer with any miscue. Especially with Sporting being as banged up as they have been the last few weeks. I much rather them get the injuries out of the way now before they get to the postseason. I would like to think that Sporting could when this game but as I mentioned it depends if they overlook the Earthquakes for whatever reason then they will be luckily to get out of San Jose with even a draw.

16Aug/13Off

Review: Sporting KC takes down a 9 (almost 8) man Revs team who are still struggling

Photo from Sporting's social media pages

Picking up right where they left off back in Nicaragua Sporting KC came in and completely dominated a New England Revs team who the last few seasons has struggled but occasionally have a little form. Looking at this game you wouldn't think that the Revs have any form as they easily went down to Sporting and in more ways then just allowing Sporting to score three goals on them.

It had all but seemed like the game was over before the second half but that didn't keep the Revolution from attempting to do what ever they could to keep Sporting from scoring to include having two players sent off on separate occasions and almost had a third player sent off as the official thought that he was issuing a player a second yellow card. Had a third player of been sent off that would have meant that the Revs would have been down to just eight players which seems insane and Sporting probably would have been able to end the with a higher score than 3-0.

Two of the goals have seemed to come from the savior of Sporting KC. I say that as he has already scored seven goals now in a shortened season as Kei Kamara was still playing for Norwich at the beginning of the MLS season. The third goal for Sporting came from a beautiful Benny Feilhaber free kick, as Zusi is still sidelined with an injury, that he made look incredibly easy.

Hopefully Sporting is getting the momentum at the right time to finish out the season strong but the more important thing is that if they can continue to play in top form during the playoffs.

13Aug/13Off

The passionate about the beatiful game Live Breathe Futbol

First and foremost make sure you head over to Live Breathe Futbol's website and see what they are doing then come back here and read the rest of my post.

I have always been a big fan of soccer ever since I started playing it as a young boy, probably about 8 or 9, and even though I have not always played soccer I have followed from a distance gradually getting closer and closer as technology and media broadcasting got better. That is until about 2009 when I picked it back up and not only playing but also coaching my oldest son who is now 9 years old. Now obviously there was a World Cup in 2010 in South Africa and was probably one of the biggest ever for television viewing. Shortly after that my local professional team having been named the Kansas City Wizards decided to re-brand themselves into what is now Sporting Kansas City. About this time I started blogging more and more and picking up more on social media to include following one group named Live Breathe Futbol who where trying to break into the apparel business by creating unique soccer specific clothing.

Now I'm sure they have had their ups and downs that they most likely didn't publicize or let known to the masses, because that isn't the best of publicity but most likely fought through adversity, but eventually gained more popularity. LBF has gone to a more of a season by season line and changing it up each season. Recently they released their fall/winter line for 2012/13. During this time they were able to relocate from their normal stomping grounds of Philadelphia to Seattle and hooking up with Golazo, who is another product that is more of a soccer specific product, for a few months and while there, in my opinion, gained even more popularity as they were working on all sorts of projects.

More recently they have not only released their newest line in the Rebel collection, which features past generations (40 years) of the game's rebels to include George Best (1960s-1970s) and as recently as Mario Balotelli. LBF have also released the Stay True collection which is exclusively designed by Sporting KCs (and Orlando City loanee) CJ Sapong who has put focus on staying true to your heritage and to the game and although CJ is an American he has deep connections to his heritage of Ghana, which is obviously a big soccer country as well. LBF being Live Breathe Futbol don't just release something without making a party out of it took the opportunity during the MLS Allstar week, being in Kansas City, to have their Stay True collection release with CJ being their.

Now I've been following LBF for quite a while obviously and have had several connections to them but have never been able to actually meet them, granted that isn't that uncommon in the retail world as it's not like I've ever met Sam Walton, but I had to leap at this opportunity to finally meet somebody that I have followed and have enjoyed what they put out, even if I don't have much of their stuff and what better time to purchase more of their items let allow almost local specific stuff, and so I went to the release party to see CJ again as I have talked to him several time but to also finally meet the crew of Live Breathe Futbol.

Now let me just say that every one of these guys are a class act and I am so glad that I got to finally meet them and I am now an even bigger fan of LBF and will be looking to help them out even further and hopefully in the near future. Now I realize that I am just a personal blogger and most of my stuff that I post most likely goes unnoticed/unread but this is fun for me to blog and write personal thoughts and opinions. So if you're reading this then it most likely means you stumbled upon it, or you are a friend who is reading this which is most likely. I am working on other things currently that if I'm lucky will boost my popularity but in a different format. Regardless this was a fun post to write and I really hope to do more post like this in the near future and hopefully on more groups like Live Breathe Futbol. I must also say that some of the stuff that I may have written might be a little off or some of the details not 100% accurate but I did my best and I hope that is ok by LBF as I am putting my thoughts and opinions out there for all to read.

And to top it off LBF released a recap video just before I was getting ready to post this. Check it out

12Aug/13Off

Review: Sporting KC (reserves) take down Real Esteli in first CCL match

CONCACAF_Champions_League

Well I guess I can say that I was wrong. Really not that difficult. But WOW! Sporting came to play and not just the A team but with a line up that was filled with a lot of backups. Now like I said in my preview I was convinced that Sporting would be lucky to come out with a 1-1 draw especially with the way that Sporting had been playing. So it was a pleasant site, even if it was all grainy on my computer, to see Sporting come in and control the game the way we have gotten use to seeing them do the last couple of seasons. Both goals scored were quite interesting as if Opara's goal would have had any more of an angle on it then it probably would have stayed out of the goal and deflected off the post but it somehow tucked it's self into the upper 90 on the opposite side of the goal as the GK for Real Esteli just couldn't quite get to the ball in time. Dwyer having gained more playing time since being called back from his record setting loan to Orlando City was not only able to get the start but saw several chances and was finally able to net a goal making it two goals in two games and in different competitions which to me is quite unique. Eric Kronberg, who would undoubtably be a starting GK for most of the teams in the MLS but sits on Sporting's bench due to Nielsen being one of the MLS's top GKs, was rarely even called upon but when called upon did what he had to much like he normally does and helped Sporting secure the easily obtained road victory shutout.

Sporting needs to keep this type of play up not only in the CCL but also in the MLS play to ensure that they have a good seeding for the MLS playoffs and to keep their CCL hopes alive as long as they can. Judging from the past few seasons it will be a difficult task but as long as they are able to maintain this form they to should be able to at least make it out of the group stage which has them playing 3 more games.

7Aug/13Off

Preview: Sporting KC takes on Real Esteli FC in their first ever CONCACAF Champions League game

Sporting KC are set to kick off their first CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) campaign and it wouldn't appear that they have an easy road ahead of them. They start off play with their first two group games on the road with the first being against Real Esteli who play in the Nicaraguan Primera Division and although it is a small division only having eight teams in the league but having been around since the 1930s have quite the history with Real Esteli having won a total of 13 titles with most of them coming in the last 12 years. This will mark Real Esteli's 4th time in the CCL having appeared to never make it past the preliminary round or at least the group stage (new format).

I believe that Sporting could possibly get a result in Nicaragua but it will not be easy and to make things more difficult Sporting has some untimely absences in their roster with Kevin Ellis, Graham Zusi, Josh Gardner, and Paulo Nagamura all listed as out for this match up. The big absence for Sporting is obviously Zusi who has been playing a lot of time lately for the USMNT and makes a noticeable difference in games for Sporting especially after the most recent lost match against the NY Redbulls. So if Sporting could go into Real Esteli's stadium (or if you want to say estadio) and get maybe even a 1-1 draw then that would be a very favorable outcome. I would even be willing to say that a 0-1 lost to Real Esteli would be a manageable result especially since Sporting will still get another chance to redeem themselves later in the year against Real Esteli at Sporting Park which is just a little bit bigger than Real Esteli stadium of approx 5,000.

3Aug/13Off

#SportingKC lose a questionable game against NY Redbulls 3-2.

Headed into this game you had to know that the NY Redbulls having lost, I believe, the last five matches against Sporting KC and only scoring one goal in those matches (coming from an own goal off Kei Kamara) you would like to think that Sporting would be able to handle business and continue being on top of the division. But that isn't how things always work out it seems especially in the MLS.

When the game started off Sporting looked to be the very dominate team and it was quite surprising to not see them score in the first 15 minutes but the Redbulls were able to hold on and actually get a goal early on in the game, which basically came off a counter attack, but that is how Sporting seems to get scored on the most. Well Sporting kept fighting like they do and Kei was able to draw it level towards the end of the first half.

Second half started and it seemed like a different Sporting team came out to finish the game as the Redbulls became the dominate team scoring two more goals with one of them coming off quite the counter attack that started with the goalkeeper throwing the ball halfway down the field. Now this is where I question the third goal as it would appear that when the player that got the assist played the ball across that the player that received the ball was already past the last defender and the ball in general, so that I don't get people telling me that the ball can be played in a backwards movement while being off sides, but the goal stood and Sporting where not in the greatest of moods after that to include Collin, stop me if you have heard this before, getting a yellow card.

Sporting kept fighting and were able to keep the pressure up and get another goal back but an unfortunate, and untimely, injury to a Redbull player I think slowed down the momentum that Sporting had gained and the Redbulls were able to hold on and gain a possibly important three points which for the time being will see them move to first place in our division and have Sporting fall to second and possibly to third depending on the result of Montreal Impacts game (who at the time of me writing this post are trailing 2-1 to DC United, which would mean if that result holds then Sporting would stay in second place, I believe).

1Aug/13Off

MLS All Stars don’t seem to be much of a match against Serie A AS Roma

2013MLSAllStar

Well I had originally thought that, and judging from last years MLS game against Chelsea, the MLS All-Stars would be able to pull out an exciting victory over Serie A team AS Roma. AS Roma is not an AC Milan, Inter Milan or a team quite like that but they do hold their own over the last couple seasons and after this match appear to be making a push for higher positioning.

As soon as the game started you could tell that AS Roma was on a mission and judging from how the game ended it was kind of suprising to me that it didn't end 5-0 in favor of AS Roma. The Italian team just seemed bigger, faster, stronger and by far more technical then just about anybody on the MLS All Star squad. They were attacking the ball very well and maintaining possession of the ball with ease and scoring pretty early in the 4th minute. MLS was able to eventually settle down and maintain a little bit of possesion and get the ball down towards AS Roma's goal but couldn't ever quite get anything solid going and really pose a threat until later in the game and then were not able to net a goal until stoppage time in the second half but the damage from AS Roma had already been done as they had been able to score three goals to the MLS's lone goal.

All in all it was a fun and exciting game to watch even if it was quite the beat down at the hands of AS Roma, but I almost got the impression that they were not going to play lately and came out looking to do exactly what they did. The last couple of MLS All Star matches have been against Chelsea from the EPL and most people pretty much know how they will do each season but it could be interesting to see how this AS Roma team does in the upcoming season.

3Jul/13Off

Sporting KC and KC Royals Attendance Comparison

Five separate times in 2012, the Kansas City Royals and Sporting Kansas City hosted home games on the same day as each other, a few of which had overlapping game times.  In each of those instances, the Royals drew more fans through the gates than Sporting.  Some games were close in attendance, such as on April 14 where Sporting drew 19,422, compared to the Royals who drew 21,788. Other games were more like May 5, where Sporting pulled in 20,404 and the Royals saw 29,121.  In all during 2012 the Royals drew 31,157 more fans than Sporting did in the five games.

Fast-forward to 2013, when the initial schedule came out that five home games for each of the two teams would be played on the same day, all with overlapping game times. For Sporting, there has since been an additional Open Cup game on May 28th and a CONCACAF Champions League match on September 17th tacked onto their schedule.  Three of the overlapping games have already taken place. On May 5th, Sporting hosted Chivas USA to the tune of 18,811 fans while the Royals hosted the Chicago White Sox with 16,462 fans. This is the first time that Sporting has drawn more fans than the Royals, but will it be the last?  The second game was on May 26th when Sporting hosted the Houston Dynamo with 20,876 fans and the Royals hosted Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with 24,475 fans.  The third game so far was May 28th when Sporting hosted the Des Moines Menace in front of 15,621 fans while the Royals host the St. Louis Cardinals in front of 27,833 fans.

Upcoming games include today July 3, when Sporting hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Royals host the Cleveland Indians. On August 10, Sporting will host the New England Revolution and the Royals host the Boston Red Sox. On September 7, Sporting hosts the Columbus Crew and the Royals host the Detroit Tigers. On September 17, Sporting hosts the Real Estelí FC, from Nicaragua, while the Royals host the Cleveland Indians.

Will it be that Sporting can out draw the Royals this year or in the future?  I don’t know if it will get to that point this year, if ever it is not very likely.  If the Royals ever return to their winning ways then they will have a following that fills the stadium that is bigger than Sporting at the present time.  As far as 2013 Sporting has to make up 13,462 fans which I also don’t see happening.  If you take out the May 28 games then it is much closer, Sporting is just behind 1,250 fans which is nothing that can’t be made up.  This will also depend on if the Royals are able to stay in contention throughout the year.  If they are then they will begin to pull more and more fans into the stadium and drive up their attendance.

The whole reason of this post is nothing more than just pointing out that the attendance is good for Sporting but even as bad as the Royals have been playing they are still pulling more fans.  If the Royals contend will they begin to pull fans from Sporting?  As we have seen peoples entertainment dollar is only so large so some fans will have to choose.  Will Sporting be able to still sell out games if some fans choose to go to the Royals instead of Sporting?

It will be interesting to see if this city has two teams that are contending for playoffs if the city can support both in the way of attendance.  When the Chiefs start up that is another team that will pull people away.  People say that Kansas City is a great sports city it looks like we will just see how good it is.