Jul 3, 2013; Kansas City, KS, USA; The Sporting KC starting line up and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (1) and defender/midfielder Chance Myers (7) and defender Matt Besler (5) and defender Aurelien Collin (78) and defender Kevin Ellis (4) and forward Kei Kamara (23) and defender Lawrence Olum (13) and midfielder Oriol Rosell (20) and midfielder/forward Graham Zusi (8) and forward Soony Saad (22) and forward Claudio Bieler (16) at Sporting Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Halfacre-USA TODAY Sports

A Look At Sporting KC's First Half


With Sporting KC’s win against Chicago Fire on Sunday, the second half of the MLS 2013 is a few games in. How has Sporting KC fared so far this season? Let’s take a look back at some of  highlights.

Most Impressive Win

In terms of goals, the most impressive win this season would be the 4-0 beat down of Chivas USA. But we are not looking at just goals, we’re looking for a game that Sporting KC dominated in every aspect. The one that stands out is the 2-0 win against Montreal Impact on March 30.

Mar 30, 2013; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting Kansas City forward Graham Zusi (8) celebrates with his teammates after scoring against the Montreal Impact during the second half at Sporting Park. Sporting Kansas City defeated Montreal 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Claudio Bieler opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a nice curler around Troy Perkins. It was a quick start to the game, and Sporting KC remained in the driver’s seat for the next 85 minutes. While on the official stat sheet Montreal held more possession than Sporting, Kansas City did not allow the Impact to settle into the game. With Graham Zusi scoring a beautiful goal in the  80th minute, it finished what has been Kansas City’s most impressive win in the first half of the season.

Most Disappointing Result 

There have been many disappointing results so far in the 2013 season. Seattle at home, the second Montreal home game, and drawing FC Dallas in Dallas after leading for a majority of the game. But the most disappointing result has to be the defeat to Orlando City that  knocked Sporting KC out of the US Open Cup.

Sporting entered the 2013 US Open Cup tournament as the cup holders, ready to defend the title. But when USL-Pro affiliate Orlando City made the trip to Sporting Park, the writing was on the wall for an upset. Orlando City scored in the second minute, and was able to hold onto the 1-0 for the next 88 minutes. While Sporting KC did not play its normal starters, manager Peter Vermes still put out what looked to be a strong squad. Unfortunately for the fans, it did not look like Sporting KC had any desire to win the game, and took an early exit out of the tournament.

First Half of 2013 MVP

May 19, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Sporting KC midfielder/forward Graham Zusi (8) chases the ball during the first half against the D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

One player for Sporting KC has consistently played phenomenal this season. Every time he steps on the pitch he brings leadership, creativity, and hard work. Graham Zusi has continued his excellent run of form from 2012 into the 2013 season. He has four goals and five assists this season, and has played a huge role in igniting the Sporting KC offense. He just signed a four year extension with the club, and has solidified his position with the US national team. It must be great to be Graham Zusi right now.

Most Surprising Player

Sporting KC made a few signings this off-season, including the signing of designated player Claudio Bieler. While he has had a great season so far, tallying eight goals and two assists, that was the reason he was brought into KC. The biggest surprise signing of the 2013 season so far has been Mechack Jerome. After signing from Orlando City as depth at right back, he was thrown into the mix quickly with Chance Myers having to miss some matches at the beginning of the season due to a nagging injury that he sustained during the pre-season

Not only did Jerome make the jump from USL-Pro to MLS almost seamlessly, he put a lot of pressure of Vermes of whom to pick for the right back position. He is away on national team duty with Haiti for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but should feature quite a bit for Sporting KC as they continue MLS play and start CONCACAF Champions League play later this summer.

Goal of the Year (so far)

There have been a few great goals this year, but one that stands out to me is Bieler’s goal against Columbus Crew on June 29. Myers whipped in a cross that a Crew defender tried to head away, but the ball bounced to Bieler, who hit it on the half-volley. Check out the goal here.

After the first half of the season, Sporting KC sits in second place in the Eastern Conference with 30 points. They are in a great spot to make the playoffs, but have a little bit of work to do if they want to win the Supporter’s Shield.

Tags: Claudio Bieler Graham Zusi Mechack Jerome Sporting Kansas City