Tag Archive for Sporting KC

Real Salt Lake looks to heat things up in Rivalry match vs Sporting KC

RSL scored at least a goal in their first 8 matches, actually RSL scored 2 goals in 6 of their first 8 matches. However in the last 3 RSL has been unable to find the back of the net, so heading into a big match at Sporting KC, they will look to heat things up, scoring, winning, and hopefully not fouls and cards.

For the last 5 years the budding rivalry has been one of the best on the pitch rivalries in MLS, what got heated up in the preseason of 2011 hit a peak on a chilly December day in 2013 as the teams fought for the MLS Cup in a match filled with controversy and eventual heartbreak for RSL in PKs.  How tight is the rivalry, since that preseason match RSL and KC have each won 4 matches and there have been just 2 draws.  The edge goes to RSL in recent history, as SKC hasn’t beaten RSL since that December MLS Cup match, RSL has actually won the last 3 matches 2-1, including their first trip to Children’s Mercy Park earlier this year.

Both sides are a close to fit as one could expect this time of year, RSL probably has the most question marks in their starting lineup, but there will be no excuses on Saturday.  Both sides will lose players after this match as Copa Americana gets started in a couple weeks, for the USMNT 3 players will highlight in the match. RSL’s Kyle Beckerman will join SKC’s Graham Zusi and Matt Besler as part of the 23 man US roster.

Both of these teams are on 17 points, both sides have given up 14 goals and neither side has a positive goal differential.  Of course RSL has played 3 fewer matches, which could be seen as both a positive and negative as far as these number go.  So who will come out on top on Saturday? and why?

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The 2016 MLS season is here, what to expect

Today is the day, the 21st season of MLS action gets under way, in many ways 2016 is the calm after one storm and before an even bigger one, 2015 saw two new team jump into the fray of MLS (NYCFC and Orlando City SC) both came with some big names, Kaka, Frank Lampard (well eventually), David Villa, Mix Diskerud (is he still a big name?) and both struggled on the pitch to compete as neither made the playoffs in a rather weak Eastern Conference. It was also the start of the new TV deal for MLS, a new CBA, and lots and lots of new sponsorships for the league.  So with no new teams this year and a year where there simply haven’t been any of those huge signings like last year, don’t forget we also saw Steve Gerrard, Jermaine Jones, Giovani dos Santos and Sebastian Giovinco join the league, but maybe those come this summer?

There are new stars but smaller names, like Ashley Cole, Lucas Ontivero, Yura Movsisyan, Carlos Gruezo and Shkelzen Gashi, we also the return of a player I really like is Simon Dawkins now a DP with San Jose and there are a lot of open DP spots around the league.  We saw some big name players change places, Dan Kennedy, Jeff Larentowicz, and Mike Magee to LA Galaxy, Marco Pappa and Jermaine Jones to Colorado, Marcelo Sarvas to DC United, Maximiliano Urruti and Mauro Rosales to FC Dallas, Christian Miadana to Houston, Harry Shipp to Montreal, Brad Davis and Justin Mapp to Sporting KC, Will Johnson and Clint Irwin to Toronto FC and Blaz Perez to Vancouver.

All of this before we see 2 new teams likely join the league in 2017 and then 2 more in 2018, so even without those huge name signings it is a big year for the league as those new sponsors will want to see some ROI and the league needs to find a way to get the TV numbers moving up in a hurry.

So as a fan what should you expect?  Will it be another year with the big clubs missing out on MLS Cup (come on none of you picked Portland vs Columbus last year, don’t lie about it)? Well it is a crap shoot to try to pick who will win what at this point of the season, MLS has too many variables to be very accurate but I do have some thoughts

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RSL face their biggest challenge so far this season Sporting KC

For Real Salt Lake Saturday night will provide one of measuring stick moments of the season, when they head to Sporting Park and take on SKC.  Most folks acknowledged that moving SKC and Houston to the West made a very tough conference even tougher, for RSL that is especially true given their history with both sides.  Tough hard fought matches are the norm when these two meet, last year saw a 0-0 draw but more often than not the guys from KC have gotten the better of RSL, a over all 8-5-4 advantage for SKC, with a very good 5-1-3 when the match is played on their pitch.

Both sides have been kinda neurotic in how they have played so far this season, RSL adjusting to the 4-3-3 and national team callups, SKC dealing with some big roster changes (gone are Collin, Saad, Bieler, Sapong and both Kronberg and Gruenebaum) then toss in a hamstring injury to Zusi and you see a very different looking side than you have been used to.  To the credit of both sides they have adjusted fairly well, with 2 wins and 2 draws, SKC did lose one match while RSL still have to taste defeat this season.

The teams have two opponents in common early on in the 2015 season, both sides had 0-0 draws against Portland, and both sides faced Philly, while RSL were lucky to get a 3-3 draw in a very strange match. KC came from behind with two stoppage time goals to get a 3-2 win in a match were they were really outplayed for the vast majority of the match.  Those results lead me to believe that both sides are really looking for their new identity in 2015, be it personal or formation changes.

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RSL vs SKC – 2013 MLS Cup Match Preview part II

So if you missed part one of my MLS Cup Preview you can check it out here.

To continue with my look at he matchups-

  • Midfield – This one is tough as it depends on where Graham Zusi lines up,  if he is in the midfield it is fairly even, but if he is up top as a forward then an edge to RSL.  Another key factor is which Benny shows up, if the Feilhaber of the regular season shows up then RSL is in good shape, if the guy who has stepped up in the playoffs is there, then it becomes a better battle.  Let’s be honest, Kyle Beckerman is better than Oriol Rosell, Ned Grabavoy is better than Benny over the course of the season, Luis Gil is better than Peterson Joseph and Javier Morales and Zusi are a wash.  Yeah I am saying edge to RSL.
  • Forwards – Edge RSL – A healthy Alvaro Saborio is a difference maker unlike anyone that Sporting can offer up, now Claudio Bieler is a damn good forward but his form of recent has been less than ideal. RSL can also offer up a very in form Robbie Findley, who had 6 regular season goals along with subs like Olmes Garcia with 5 goals, 4 assist in less than 1,000 minutes, or Devon Sandoval with 3 goals in under 900 minutes in the regular season, oh and Joao Plata. On the SKC side, I actually like Teal Bunbury and CJ Sapong but they seem to be a bit lost without Kei Kamara in the formation. Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer are wildcards but I give the edge here to RSL.
  • Intangibles – Edge SKC – I get the home field advantage but SKC was just 9-5-3 at home, not exactly dominating, but their 29 to 15 edge in goals scored was very impressive.   Sleeping in your own bed vs a hotel can be a big difference maker, but I imagine some of the weather issues may negate a bit of the home field advantage.  Clearly the SKC front office did their part to try and stack the crowd with as many home fans as possible and it is hard to blame them for that. One advantage RSL will have is experience, it is possible that 6 starters from the 2009 MLS Cup could be in the staring XI for RSL on Saturday (Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, and Robbie Findley), I don’t believe any SKC players have played in a MLS Cup before.
  • Overall – RSL – I know you will say that is a homer pick, but I think Sporting is a damn good team, however they aren’t the same team without Kei Kamara as they are with him.  Without that spark SKC just seems to be lacking that special factor, for RSL when Sabo went out with an injury it took just minutes for Devon Sandoval to step up and deliver big time results in big matches.  Unless someone does that for SKC on Saturday then I expect that RSL will win this match. 2-1

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RSL vs SKC – 2013 MLS Cup match preview part I

This is what it all comes down to, two teams battling for the right to be called the best team in MLS, the regular season is a grind of toughness but the playoffs are when you have to shine your best when the spotlight is the brightest.  It is funny that a lot of folks had Sporting KC picked early to be here, but very few thought after the off season roster changes that RSL would have what it took to get to this point, but no matter the thoughts in March, it is RSL and SKC playing in December (that is a whole other topic).

It would be hard to argue that these aren’t the two teams that deserve to be here, RSL spent most of the post All Star Match calendar at the top of the MLS table, only to drop to 4th in the final weeks, while Sporting was a top 3 side in the Eastern Conference almost the entire season.  While you might argue that the Eastern Conference was the weaker side of the bracket, it is hard to argue against SKC as a top team in the league.

The two sides faced off once this season in a physical match that ended up being more about what was and wasn’t called by the officials than what the actual play was on the pitch, add in that the match came during  Gold Cup and that RSL was missing 4 players to national team duty and you can toss that 2-1 SKC win into the trash heap.

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It appears #TicketGate continues for MLS Cup (Updated)

So the only question remaining behind all of the #TicketGate issues is who does blame for bad policies, poor reactions, and overall the mess fall on.  Is it TicketMaster, MLS or Sporting KC? I from the start have believed that SKC has been responsible for the majority of the mess, but it has been funny to have SKC fans try to defend their club by saying it is all on TicketMaster, who created a bad code, turned on sales before they should have been, and yes even made up the policy of only selling in the KC market.  Of course I know that none of those are true, I many years ago worked for TM and they are just a vendor who does what their clients tell them to (that still leave a SKC or MLS question.  One fan asked TM about the blocking out of market sales for the General Public portion of MLS Cup sales and here is their response:

TM policy

I know that is small, so here is the text of the TM response:

Thank you for reaching out to us regarding tickets for:
MLS Cup 2013 – Sporting Kansas City v. Real Salt Lake
Sporting Park, Kansas City, KS
Sat, Dec 7, 2013 03:00 PM

We understand your frustration and wish that we could assist you, but unfortunately, the venue/promoters for the game have set up “geo-limiting” for this game. (geographical limiting)

This means that only fans who have their billing address in the state where the game is taking place, may purchase tickets.

Please note that Ticketmaster do not own the tickets that we sell. We sell under contract for the venue/promoters and as such, we have to follow their rules and instructions for the event.

If a fan who has their billing address in the geo limited state, resells tickets, you can purchase tickets from them and attend the game.

We hope that you are able to get tickets for the game.

If you need anything else, we’re always here for you – just reply to this email or visit Ticketmaster.com.

So that should at least clear up anyone who wants to blame TicketMaster for the issues involving the sales of MLS Cup Tickets.  The original post is after the jump:

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Another day, another version of the truth for #TicketGate

You know that someone is lying or being less than truthful when their story keeps changing, and for Sporting KC that is exactly the case.  First it was that someone hacked a code that hadn’t been released yet, then it was that the code was only to be used by SKC staff to help those who couldn’t use their unique code on Ticketmaster to buy their tickets.  Of course neither of those made any sense and I didn’t buy them for a second as they left more questions than answers.  Now we get a new story, and one that I believe is much closer to the truth, on KCTV’s website there is a story that contains the latest version:

Sporting season ticket holders were given a special code by Ticketmaster so they could go online and buy tickets. The only problem was that somehow Real Salt Lake fans got their hands on the code and started buying them online before the code got to most Sporting fans.

“Once it went viral you can imagine what happened. The majority of their fans bought upward of 1,000 tickets. We shut it down as soon as we found out about it,” said Jake Reid, the chief revenue officer for Sporting.

In all about 200 Sporting season ticket holders were affected by the stunt. Ticket managers have been working the phones to make sure the ones planning on going to the game got their tickets.

“Once we figured it out, we worked with Ticketmaster and figured out what had happened and closed it down and refunded the tickets. Obviously for us it’s intended for our season ticket members,” Reid said.

They go on to mention that this was for a block of about 5,000 tickets, which is in addition to the SKC STM’s being able to purchase (with their unique code) the same number of tickets as they have season tickets.  So they have their 10-11,000 season tickets plus this 5,000 tickets and they were worried that maybe up to 1000 of those 16,000 might have been bought by RSL fans with the leaked code.  Of course if you read their own words, about 200 SKC STM’s were impacted, so that means they had bought tickets so that means less than 800 and probably less than 500 of the tickets had actually been bought by RSL fans using the code.  Which happened as a result of a leaked code, you know when a SKC fan put the code out online to let their friends buy tickets with it (which is OK I guess since they live in KC) and then it leaked.

What strikes me as funny/sad about this is the way SKC as an organization have reacted, first they put together a plan that had big holes in it, using a generic code and thinking it wouldn’t get out of their control to be used by others.  By others I mean scalpers, others in KC who may not be STM’s, and yes maybe by some RSL fans.  It happens whenever generic codes are used and something that anyone who attends evens knows about, but I guess not SKC.  Once their plan got out of control, their reaction was first to panic, which lead to them telling people that the code was hacked and that it had never been used or released to anyone.  Well that wasn’t the truth as Ticketmaster doesn’t allow codes to be used outside of their authorized dates and times.

Then they decided that what realistically was about 5-600 tickets purchased by RSL fans was worth cancelling 1000 tickets and creating what will be chaos on match day as many of those tickets have already hit the secondary market.  The correct reaction in my opinion would have been to shut down the code and acknowledge a mistake and work to ensure that the remaining 4,000 plus tickets they wanted for their STM’s went to them (they actually did this yesterday afternoon via those unique account codes) and to move on.  Yes it would have meant that several hundred RSL fans would have had tickets to the match in a crowd of the 18-20,000 SKC fans that weren’t part of the annoyingly small 1,000 allocation.  Would that have been the end of the world?  Nope, but it would have been a way to prevent a huge black eye for SKC and MLS, which is what this has turned into as they have tried to paint RSL fans as hackers and villains.

Once their two versions of the story didn’t stop the questions they went to MLS and complained and got them to make a statement about a secure link that RSL fans weren’t authorized to use, of course we all know that generic codes on the general ticketmaster MLS Cup ticket page isn’t anything near secure.  Now there are 5-600 RSL fans who bought tickets using a code leaked by a SKC STM (why would they leak it, if not to allow “unauthorized” people access) who made travel plans, booked hotels and planned vacation time at work. So while I understand some SKC fans being upset that a few hundred of the 15,000 available tickets went to RSL fans, the reaction to the issue was far greater than the reality of the situation.

Hundreds or thousands of tickets to MLS Cup have or will make their way onto the secondary market like stubhub and craigslist (there are already over 500 on stubhub.com alone, another 200 plus on tickets now) and where do you think those tickets came from?  I can tell you SKC STM’s who are clearly more interested in how they can make a profit than actually showing up to watch their team play for a championship.  Those tickets can be bought by anyone, including RSL fans, so it seem to me that the real issue is that SKC is worried about RSL fans being able to buy tickets directly from them for the actual price and not inflated secondary market prices.

In all of this, the one thing that Sporting Kansas City hasn’t done is acknowledge they made a mistake, a mistake the inconvenienced hundreds of MLS fans both in Kansas City and in Salt Lake City. Instead they have pointed fingers, blamed imaginary hackers, and shown with their actions that they reacted like children instead of a real professional sports franchise.  I wonder if the Chiefs would have reacted this way if a couple hundred tickets ended up in the hands of Bronco fans for Sunday’s big game?

That’s How I See It

MLS Cup #Ticketgate deepens as tickets invalidated and questions arise

I thought it was time for a new post with udpated info on what is turning out to be a real mess for MLS, SKC and the fans.  So MLS just published the following information:

Ed. note: The following is a statement distributed by Major League Soccer on Wednesday.

For the first 16 years of MLS history, the MLS Cup was played at a neutral site. It was a format that worked in the formative stages of the League. But after ongoing discussions with our Clubs, players and fans, MLS moved to a competition-based Cup format that provides the higher-seeded Club the opportunity to host the League championship. This change provides the host club, their players and fans, with a special and memorable opportunity to celebrate a season-long achievement in their home market.

As part of this format change, in conjunction with our clubs, a policy was created to provide the visiting Club an allocation of 1,000 tickets for distribution to its staff, players, partners and fans. The visiting club determines how they will allocate this block of tickets to their various constituents.

Real Salt Lake will announce how they will allocate their 1,000-ticket allotment later today.

Earlier this week, a limited number of RSL fans gained access to a secure link that had been established solely for Sporting Kansas City season ticket members to purchase MLS Cup tickets. Because RSL fans were not authorized to use this link, the purchase orders were not fulfilled.

Of course their is a problem with that statement, it isn’t true.  Here is an image of the email that was sent to SKC STM’s last friday:

SKC STM MLS Cup email

 

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MLS Cup now stained by “Ticketgate” for many fans (Updated)

Another Update:

Orders are now being invalidated:

invalidated MLS Cup order

 

This doesn’t deal with the hundreds or perhaps thousands of tickets that were printed yesterday by those who believe they bought valid tickets or may have resold those printed tickets.

Update:
So I have been told by an inside source that Sporting KC is considering claiming that the code “13stmcup” was hacked and that tickets were purchased using that code before they should have been.  I find that claim interesting as teams traditionally email presale codes days in advance of the actual “on sale” time and Ticketmaster only turns on codes during the specific times and for the specific seats that the code is valid for.  It seems like reality may be somewhere in between.

The question for me comes down to this, was this the code for SKC Season Ticket Members to buy their seats for the event?  I don’t believe it was, two SKC STM’s told me they got a unique code for their specific seats, that this was for additional seat purchases.  So if that is the case, then these tickets were “assigned” to any particular fan, but were going on sale with a presale code emailed to select fans to allow them to purchase remaining seats after the STM seats were bought.  If that is the case then these tickets would have been bought for friends, family member, co-workers and such, some would have been bought to be resold, so why does it matter who got the code (which was leaked likely by a SKC STM) and bought tickets?  At this point your STM’s got their seats and this was to fill the rest of the stadium, should someone who lives in KC get better access to a league event like MLS Cup than someone who lives in Salt Lake City?  I don’t believe so.

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