Jun 16, 2014; Natal, BRAZIL; USA midfielder Graham Zusi (19) sprays water in the air as he celebrates following the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Around the Kingdom: Graham Zusi, Royals for Real? Justin Houston

Sporting KC players are on the big stage at the World Cup in Natal, Brazil. Graham Zusi came up big, despite dealing with stage fright, with an outstanding cross on a corner kick that reserve John Brooks headed into the goal for a 2-1 U.S. win over Ghana.

The now 1st place Kansas City Royals are the talk of the town—and even the American League. The Royals continued their now 9-game hitting streak by battering  the Tigers 11-4 to take over 1st place in the A.L. Central by 1/2 a game. Kansas City’s 9-game run is the longest current active streak in MLB.

It’s also the latest the Royals have been in 1st place since 2003.

Tuesday’s game added yet another chapter to the rise of Kansas City’s maligned offense. They hung 10 runs on defending Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, who came into the game sporting a 3.05 ERA and an 8-2 record. The Royals smacked Scherzer for 7 runs in the 2nd inning alone, following their recent trend of early blowout leads.

Keep it coming Boys in Blue.

The Chiefs also had a significant day in their off-season with the opening of mini-camp on Tuesday. The drama continued when OLB Justin Houston failed to report. He’s now officially a holdout for a new contract.

De’Anthony Thomas finally was able to put on the pads because Oregon has finished its classes. Thomas promptly told coaches he was “sick” in his first official Chiefs workout.

SPORTING KC

  • Kansas City Star – Michael Lewis writes a special for the Star about Graham Zusi shaking off his nerves to come through for the US with a key corner kick:

“It was such an exciting game and exciting feeling for me,” Zusi said. “I think those initial nerves just for you to do well are out there and out of your body. But I think you need that as well, a little bit of nerves inside of you is a good thing in the sport.”

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

  • Royals Authority – venerable site has now active again. Craig Brown writes about last weeks “invincible offense”.
  • Royals Review – Max Rieper asks why the Royals have over-loaded the roster with 13 pitchers.
  • Kings of Kauffman – Ed Connealy asks what Royals fans all have to be thinking: are they for real? Connealy thinks so:

Since Dale Sveum took over as hitting coach, the Royals have done most of their damage against other teams starters.  In fact, every one of those 13 wins were losses to starters with a combined record of 79-64 and a 3.78 ERA.  Not too shabby.   At some point, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon were going to perform closer to their past levels.  That time is now.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

  • Arrowhead Pride – Camp report, including De’Anthony Thomas’ sick leave and Justin Houston’s no show
  • NFL Mochs – Rates the top 10 Defensive Tackles in the NFL. Guess who is on the list?
  • Arrowhead Addict – Ben Nielsen pulls out his old SAT study guide to call LB Joe Mays “Maleficet”:

I hate to undersell the importance of execution, but I think a nastier defense might’ve been able to squelch the second half surge of the Indianapolis Colts. Kansas City bowed out of the postseason in unceremonious fashion because the defensive side of the ball couldn’t get a stop when it needed one. I’d attribute part of that failure to attitude. It’s a problem the Chiefs may have solved with the addition of former Broncos and Texans linebacker Joe Mays.

There you have it KC fans—the news Around the Kingdom.

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