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The Daily Links- December 22, 2011 Edition

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You wouldn't expect a team that came within 90 minutes of earning a spot in MLS Cup to overhaul its roster in the off-season. You'd expect a few moves here and there -- tinkering and tailoring, mostly. But, that's not really Sporting Kansas City's style. The start to the close season has been as hectic, frantic and unpredictable as the style of play preferred by head coach/technical director Peter Vermes.

Despite the changes, Sporting Kansas City still stacked for 2012 -

For soccer fans in Kansas City, June 9 was about as close to a religious experience as you can experience without stepping into a place of worship. In many ways, the beyond-capacity crowd of 19,925 that took in the first-ever game at Livestrong Sporting found themselves in a cathedral of sorts. After spending their entire existence bouncing between borrowed venues like Arrowhead Stadium and CommunityAmerica Ballpark, Sporting Kansas City finally had a home to call their own. Not only that, but the $200 million facility established a new benchmark for soccer-specific stadiums in North America – possibly even the world – and staked its claim as the crown jewel of Major League Soccer’s growing roster soccer-only venues. For all those reasons, the grand opening of Livestrong Sporting comes in at No. 11 on’s list for Story of the Year in 2011.

Stories of Year: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park's inaugural season | Sporting Kansas City

One more new stat before I start doing some updating on some of the stats I already had been tracking. Today it's a look at landmark goals for KC. I'm tracking league goals, competitive goals, both home and away. I'm also tracking US Open Cup, playoff, and international goals, but those 3 won't be listed here simply due to lack of many landmark goal numbers. So here are the landmark goals for KC. I'll give the player, date, minute of the goal and opponent.

Down the Byline: Landmark Goals

It's been a quite few weeks when it comes to player rumors, really since Omar Bravo left for Cruz Azul there have been few rumors regarding Sporting KC. As James said in his post regarding this rumor, it's been campfire talk for a short little while, and it does seem to make sense. Michael Thomas is currently playing with Ljungskile SK in Sweden. The KC native was drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in the second round of the MLS Superdraft. But instead of signing with the Earthquakes, Thomas headed abroad where he signed with Halmstads BK in Sweden. In the two years since he left, he's played just over 50 league games and scored 8 goals from the midfield position.

Down the Byline: Michael Thomas to KC?

After Wenger was a standout center back his first two years in college, Duke head coach John Kerr decided to give the defender a run out as a forward in the spring when they were short of options up top. Coming away impressed, the Blue Devils trotted the junior out there this past season, where he was a revelation, scoring 17 goals and adding eight assists.

Generation adidas: 5 things to know about Andrew Wenger |

Much fuss was rightly and recently made when Fulham ace Clint Dempsey set a new standard for goals by Americans in the Premier League. And not only is Deuce now tops on that impressive chart, he gets a chance to add to it every time he suits up for EPL action. Americans sure do love their stats and records. From sports to political polls to Iron Chef, we're all constantly hypnotized by cumulative numbers. Soccer does not kindly lend itself to crunching stats, but we manage to do it anyway. As most Yanks playing in Europe are easing into a deserved holiday break, it seems a good time to run the numbers to see who has done the most of this, that and everything else as an American export in Europe.

Postcard from Europe: Americans by the numbers |