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Old 11-21-2011, 04:01 PM  
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**2012 Sporting Kansas City\Soccer Thread**

Sporting Kansas City was eliminated from MLS Cup contention after losing to Houston 2-1 aggreagate over the span of two games. They finished the year as US Open Cup Champions and a Kansas City team record of 63 points.

MLS Cup Final | LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo | December 1st, 3:30 CT









Final Regular Season Eastern Conference Standings
Full MLS standings here.



2012 US Open Cup Champions.


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Old 09-12-2012, 10:55 AM   #1861
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:23 AM   #1862
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MLS ends summit in good mood
League finances promote optimism

There was a time in the early 2000s when things looked bleak for Major League Soccer.

“We went from 12 teams to 10 teams and there was some doubt if we could go forward,” said Columbus Crew owner Clark Hunt.

MLS concludes its business summit today in Columbus, and the mood is one of optimism. Attendance, revenue and television ratings are up and several of its 19 teams are profitable, said Commissioner Don Garber.

The league’s D.C. United recently sold for $55 million, Hunt said, a sign that the value of teams is rising. The league wants to add a second New York team, and the expansion fee will be $100 million.

In 2005, the expansion fee was $7.5 million; Montreal paid $40 million to join MLS this season.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about our future and the opportunity for this sport to grow, and our business model will drive our success,” Garber said.

This business model is unique and was inspired, in part, by the NFL’s and its use of a salary cap and revenue sharing.

It was also inspired by the success of the New York Cosmos of the now-defunct North American Soccer League — at the expense of the league’s other teams.

“The Cosmos were a team of high-priced all-stars from around the world, and, in order to compete, other teams added high-priced international players,” said Hunt, whose father, Lamar, owned the league’s Dallas Tornado. “Then the league collapsed under its own weight from these salaries and went bankrupt.”

The goal of MLS, Hunt said, is to create a level playing field for the small-market teams.

“It’s certainly working,” said David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Sports Business Institute. “The pillars have been the increased quality of play, compelling, soccer-specific stadiums and penetrating new markets where there is a demand for soccer.”

MLS team owners are actually investor/operators who have the right to operate a team in a specific market, Garber said.

“The league signs the players,” he said.

The league’s salary cap is about $4 million per team, Garber said, although teams can sign up to three designated players whose salaries do not count against the cap.

“The fans were interested in big-name international players, and we needed to do it without turning the economics upside down,” Garber said.

Several revenue streams are shared equally by MLS teams, including national TV and merchandising revenue and expansion fees. Teams also share 30 percent of home ticket sales with the rest of the league, Garber said.

“Teams do keep their local sponsorship money and their jersey and stadium naming rights,” he said.

This is where big-market teams have an advantage.

“L.A. gets $5.5 million a year for local TV rights and Columbus gets nothing right now,” Garber said.

Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers said he has learned how to do more with less.

“We’re the second-smallest market with an MLS team,” he said. “And that’s what makes it sweeter when we beat the big-market teams.”

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stor...good-mood.html
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:01 AM   #1863
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #1864
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:13 PM   #1865
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This is a really good read on Collin. And a glimpse into why the MLS is increasingly a great option for young talented European players.




Seven-nation journey: Wandering Collin finds home in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Aurélien Collin takes a sip of his cappuccino and a quick glance around the half-full coffeehouse. His face is a picture of contentment.

This is home – not just the coffeehouse, not just the vibrant Westport district, not just Kansas City. America is home now, Collin's last stop, he hopes, on a soccer odyssey that began on the streets of the Paris suburb of Enghien-les-Bains.

He has a steady paycheck, playing the game he loves for a team that is among Major League Soccer's best. In his second season with Sporting, the MLS All-Star has made a name for himself as one of the league's top center backs – physical, risk-taking and with a flair for the big play. He has begun to map out a future beyond the game, studying online for a fashion degree.

“I'm happy,” Collin tells MLSsoccer.com in a quiet sitdown interview. “I'm blessed. Everything is going well. I'm healthy. The team has already won the US Open Cup, the first title of my career. Thank God, everything is good.”

How good? Collin is happy to continue his list.

“I've never played for a club like Sporting KC,” he says. “I've never played in a stadium like Livestrong Park. I've never played in front of fans like these.”

But Collin's American dream might not yet be fully realized. He can see himself raising his hand to take the Oath of Allegiance as a new American citizen – and, sometime after that, pulling on the red, white and blue kit of the US national team.

“I have my green card already,” he says. “Maybe I will get to play for America someday.”

To understand why Collin loves the space he's in right now, you first have to understand where he was before – and the twisting, often grueling route he took to get here.

One club wouldn't play him. Two more couldn't pay him on time, or at all. Yet another just, well, went away on him. So when he learned of an opportunity to play in a stable league, in the country that had long called to him anyway, he answered.

The thing was, the call from Sporting wasn't for him – not at first.

Collin was playing for Portuguese side Vitória Setubal, and waiting months for his paychecks, when he first caught a glimpse of the MLS lifeline. His path to America opened up through a roundabout connection to Sporting assistant Kerry Zavagnin.

“One of my friends who used to play for Benfica was on loan to Setubal,” he says. “A guy who knew Kerry got in touch with him. We were roommates, very close friends. He says, 'Oh, that guy wants me to go to America. I don't want to go there.' I says, 'I do.'”

Collin impressed Sporting enough to earn a contract offer, but it took a while for him to obtain his release from the Portuguese side.

“They didn't want to let me go just like that, even though in the eyes of the law I was able to go,” he says. “They did everything they could to slow me down. But in the end, I came, and here I am.”

Vitória Setubal wasn't the only club that failed to make good on its financial obligations, Collin says. The paychecks from Greek side Panserraikos, the second stop on his six-nation European journey, were also slow or nonexistent.

So while MLS' single-entity structure, with no promotion and relegation, doesn't allow perennial powerhouses to dominate for years, it also offers its players a financial stability that many European systems don't.

“In Greece, there are two clubs with money,” Collin says. “In Portugal, three clubs. In Spain, two clubs. America is the only place, for me, that every team competes with every other team. Every team has the same salary cap, and that makes the competition higher.”

Collin didn't set out to be a football nomad, though. Like so many soccer-mad French kids, he dreamed from an early age of making it big in his home country.

“There's a picture of me, two or three years old, with this big ball of soccer,” he says. “We were playing every day, in the streets, and I knew when I was young that I wanted to be a professional soccer player. I have worked all my life to make this come true, first in Europe and now in America.”

Learning the game in the streets forced Collin to get tough – and creative – early. If he sometimes comes forward into Sporting's attack as though the No. 78 on his shirt has somehow turned into a No. 10, it's because that's how he learned the game from the outset.

“It's determination,” he says. “When I see something I want, I have to go get it.”

Collin took the first steps to getting what he wanted close to home, joining the youth programs of Sedan and then Amiens. At the same time, though, America was never far from the forefront of his mind.

“I grew up with the American dream,” he says. “I grew up listening to American music, American hip-hop, watching American movies. It was always there.”

That would have to wait, though. First, he had to find a club that would put him on the pitch.

“Amiens, I was there for one year,” he says. “I never got into one official game.”

Out of that frustration came a decision: “France is not for me.” And that, Collin says, is why, after all these years, he would consider the Yanks ahead of Les Bleus.

“France never helped me,” he says. “If I have to choose, maybe I choose to play for America and not France.”

Leaving Amiens, Collin signed a youth contract with Spanish club Mallorca. From there, it was a quick jump to what should have been his first big break.

In 2007, he inked a two-year deal with Gretna of the Scottish Premier League – not one of Europe's top circuits, but one with enough history that Collin thought he had found a stable home.

But after Collin's first season there, the club first went into administration, and then was liquidated outright in August 2008 when owner Brooks Milleson's ill health forced him to pull his backing.

“I think that was the first time that happened in Scotland in history,” Collin says. “It was crazy. But the conditions were so bad that you knew if something happened to the president the club was going to have a lot of problems. The facilities were like a seventh-division team. We didn't even have our own stadium. We played in Motherwell's stadium. ”

Unsuccessful trials with several English sides followed before Collin signed with Panserraikos. He was gone from Greece after one season filled with missed paychecks, and landed at Wrexham, who are in Wales but compete in the English pyramid. He arrived there just after the club had fallen out of the Football League into the fifth-tier Conference National, and left for Portugal after just 12 games.

More financial struggles followed, and Collin began looking for a way out.

“I never received any bonus,” he says. “The salary was always late – two months, three months. I never received any money for my house, my car. So you're always playing with depression, you know, and the facilities were very bad. Even if the facilities are bad, it can be OK if someone is there being professional with you, pushing you to get better. That wasn't happening.”

And that's when Sporting reached out to Collin's friend – and found him instead. He hasn't looked back. And while he's glad his struggles in Europe are over, Collin also appreciates the lessons they taught him – chiefly, patience and perseverance.

“I always wanted to be the best,” he says. “As soon as I turned professional, I wanted to play with the best teams in Europe. I was not patient. But the struggles kept me moving. I always wanted to work harder than everybody. I had to go through a lot of countries with some not very good teams. But the important thing is what I'm still going to achieve.”

Collin pauses, smiles.

“We will talk about that in a few years.”

And if the rest of his career finds him in Sporting blue?

Another smile.

“If the club does what it has to to keep me,” he says, “I will be the happiest man in the world.”
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:36 PM   #1866
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The end is on the horizon for Major League Soccer's seemingly never-ending regular season.* With about six weeks left and with most teams hovering around just seven games remaining, the final push for playoff position is in full swing.

*began all the way back on March 10! Comparatively, baseball's regular season began 18 days after MLS and ends in September!

In the Eastern Conference, the race will come down to the wire almost assuredly. Sporting Kansas City holds a very narrow lead in the Eastern Conference - with very little margin for error.

There are seven teams within 11 points of Kansas City, with only Toronto FC officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Let's look at the current table (sorted by points), with the top five teams representing the playoff teams at the moments.

1. Kansas City: 50 (7 games left)
2. Chicago: 47 (7)
3. New York: 46 (7)
4. Houston: 45 (6)
5. Columbus: 42 (7)
_______________________________ 6. D.C. United: 41 (7)
7. Montreal: 39 (5)
8. Philadelphia: 26 (9)
9. New England: 28 (6)
10. Toronto: 21 (6)*

*Officially eliminated from playoff contention.

While Kansas City controls pole position, there will be plenty teams nipping at their heels. Many that will face KC directly.

Over its last seven games, Kansas City are faced with a difficult stretch of six matches against playoff contenders starting tonight with Houston.

After that, Sporting has a difficult road trip to New York (Sept. 19) and Montreal (Sept. 22) before NBC Sports primetime match with Chicago (Sept. 28) and road trips to Columbus (Oct. 7) and back to New York (Oct. 20). The only match against a non-playoff contender is the season finale against Philadelphia (Oct. 24).

How many points will KC be able to pull from that rough slate? I think 11 points is generous (wins over Houston, Montreal and Philadelphia; one draw with New York and one with Chicago) over the closing stretch. But, given the relatively easy schedules for the Red Bulls and Fire (comparatively), Sporting might have to do little bit better.

Match Basics

• Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

• If you can't make it out, the match will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

• As if you didn't think the game was already big enough, MLS Commissioner Don Garber tweeted out that this is expected to be the largest crowd ever at Livestrong Sporting Park.

• The largest crowd at LSP in its short history was the MLS Eastern Conference finals last November against, yep, you guessed it, the Houston Dynamo. The announced attendance: 20,839. So, will it topple the 21,000 mark?

• The largest crowd for a 2012 match was back on June 16 against Toronto. Announced attendance: 20,488.

• One more cool attendance note. Sporting KC have hit the 20,000-fan mark at Livestrong Sporting Park seven times. Four of those have occurred this season.

• Kansas City has failed to win against the Dynamo over the last three matches, going 0-2-1.

• Forward Jacob Peterson is expected to make his return to the team tonight after missing about a month with a shoulder sprain.

• Teal Bunbury (ACL tear) and Cyprian Hedrick (fibula fracture) are the only Sporting players listed as out. Bobby Convey (hamstring strain) is still doubtful.

• Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza are on notice -- both are one yellow card away from an automatic suspension.

• Houston will be without KC killer Calen Carr (suspended).

• Adam Moffatt (adductor strain) is Houston's only injury as of Friday morning and he's listed as doubtful.

• Tonight's referee… Baldomero Toledo.

Predicted Lineup

Does Jacob Peterson move immediately into the lineup? Does Peter Vermes stick with the industrious midfield of Julio Cesar, Paulo Nagamura and Roger Espinoza? Does Graham Zusi get a rest after a busy week with the U.S. national team? Is C.J. Sapong going to get another start despite being mostly ineffective last time out?

I think the answers are: No, absolutely, absolutely not and I hope so. Here's my predicted Starting XI.

GK: Jimmy Nielsen-c; DEF: Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; MID: Julio Cesar, Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza; FWD: Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara.

I'd expect that Vermes could have a quick trigger finger and bring on Peterson if a) Zusi looks gassed or b) Sapong continues to be ineffective -- he can move Kamara centrally.

SUBS: Eric Kronberg; Michael Harrington, Neven Markovic, Lawrence Olum; Oriol Rosell; Soony Saad, Jacob Peterson
That bench is leaving Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph and Dom Dwyer out of the 18. When completely healthy, KC is sorta deep.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/14...#storylink=cpy
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:59 PM   #1867
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:32 PM   #1868
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Wow. Collin would want to play for the US? Too bad he would have such a long road to citizenship.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:33 PM   #1869
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Portland\Seattle today on NBC. Cascadia Cup on the line.

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Old 09-16-2012, 02:49 PM   #1870
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Header updated. SJ probably getting the Supporter's Shield this year after the tie.

Chicago is right behind us.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:50 PM   #1871
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:52 PM   #1872
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Chicago has been red hot of late. Maybe its the nature of the football games I've watched this weekend, but I'm worried about this SKC team being able to win a playoff series. It's so hard for them to score.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #1873
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Chicago has been red hot of late. Maybe its the nature of the football games I've watched this weekend, but I'm worried about this SKC team being able to win a playoff series. It's so hard for them to score.
The nature of the playoff series I think helps SKC a whole lot. You can't put 11 men in the box behind everything in a 2 game aggregate "get goals" series.

That and how strong of a team they are on the road.

Everytime some team comes around its total ****ing bunker ball.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:00 PM   #1874
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The nature of the playoff series I think helps SKC a whole lot. You can't put 11 men in the box behind everything in a 2 game aggregate "get goals" series.

That and how strong of a team they are on the road.

Everytime some team comes around its total ****ing bunker ball.
Chelsea just won the Champions League playing that very strategy. Play for a scoreless draw at home against SKC, and then travel to KC and hope to get one road goal. It's not unreasonable.

Yeah, it's weird how much better SKC is on the road. I think that MLS teams must face major pressure to score goals for their home fans, which causes them to press. Which directly conflicts with the hypothetical strategy in this posts' first paragraph, I know.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:04 PM   #1875
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaper16 View Post
Chelsea just won the Champions League playing that very strategy. Play for a scoreless draw at home against SKC, and then travel to KC and hope to get one road goal. It's not unreasonable.

Yeah, it's weird how much better SKC is on the road. I think that MLS teams must face major pressure to score goals for their home fans, which causes them to press. Which directly conflicts with the hypothetical strategy in this posts' first paragraph, I know.
Kansas City has some issues for sure. I think they have as good of a chance to with the MLS Cup as any other team when you take their strengths and weaknesses into account.

The nice thing is CJ looked as good against Houston as he has in a really long time. CJ has had a rough year even though he has had some good moments and goals.

During his ROY season even when CJ wasn't scoring goals he was always creating danger...it was amazing he was always finding space...beating guys...and just creating havoc. You don't see as much of that this year but I saw it a lot in the Houston game.

If CJ can pick up his game that is pretty big. We have a hue week coming up next week for sure.
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