The Sporting Kansas City netminder’s quick-reflex kick save on D.C. United’s Stephen King dominated the Week 32 voting, earning more than 41 percent of the tallies. It marks the Danish veteran’s fourth Save of the Week honors of 2011, second only to Kasey Keller’s six.
Sporting KC made a deal with the devil when they agreed to open with a 10-game road trip in order to have all their home games at Livestrong Sporting Park, but they are the ones having the last laugh.
"I think you want to get your points at home, no doubt, because you know that’s where you feel most comfortable," Vermes said. "Obviously, when you go away from home, you want to try to get a result." In other words, Kansas City would be satisfied with a draw in Colorado, a result that would give them the opportunity to book a trip to the conference final with a victory in front of their home fans.
The key to watch out for KC right now would seem to be Colorado's speed with Omar Cummings and Sanna Nyassi. They still have one big question remaining and that's the health and fitness of captain, Pablo Mastroeni, after he suffered a concussion a few weeks ago. If he can't go that's going to be a boost to KC.
Credit must also be given to Vermes for holding steadfast in his belief in what the team could potentially be and what kind of system his players were best suited to play, even when they were struggling so mightily in the beginning of the season, and it looked like 2011 would be a somewhat of a "lost" season for the club.
Kansas City has the rather rare luxury of having four strong and productive strikers in designated player Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury, and Kei Kamara, who combined for 27 goals, along with rookie C.J. Sapong, who bagged five. It takes full advantage of this edge by fielding three of them in its starting lineup, with Bravo and Kamara making runs off target man Bunbury while Sapong acts as the super-sub.
When Sporting Kansas City take the field in Colorado on Sunday evening, they’ll do so with just four of 18 available players with MLS Cup playoff experience and the real possibility that Manager Peter Vermes’ starting 11 will have nine postseason newbies. Sapong, for instance, didn’t so much play in a NCAA Tournament game during his four years at James Madison, but he said veterans such as Davy Arnaud are doing their best to pass on some playoff wisdom prior to game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
MLS commissioner Don Garber has said a few times over the last several months that there have been more than one group in New York pushing for this expansion slot, not just the Cosmos. Blazer, who will retain his seat on FIFA’s executive committee, will be joined by former Cosmos goalkeeper Shep Messing and retired New York Jets running back Curtis Martin in an effort to land the New York City franchise that MLS so desperately wants, Soccer America reported this week.
The 2012 MLS Draft class is shaping up to be a good one, with a good crop of attacking players expected to be available. There won't be as many high-level long-term prospects as the 2011 MLS Draft, which was heavy young elite, young talent, but the 2012 class could have even more players who can step in and contribute right away.
Colorado, the defending MLS Cup Champions were able to hold and defeat Columbus by a goal to see themselves through. It was Omar Cummings booking a ticket to 'Blue Hell' where they will face Sporting Kansas City. Perhaps the most encouraging was that it was Cummings who scored. The off-form striker has had trouble finishing for months, but last night he made no mistake in burying his shot which was the result of a team buildup. If Colorado can keep that team play up then Sporting will have their hands full. SKC has been sharp these past few months but as I said before. Anything can happen.
Bob Bradley isn't interested in talking about the man who replaced him as the United States' coach, not now that he has the daunting challenge of reviving the hopes of the "monster'' of African football. Having been let go by the USSF in July after five years in charge - and replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann - the 53-year-old Bradley has re-emerged as head coach of Egypt and is faced with what he calls "the big responsibility.''