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Blue Links 7/24

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New York City FC announced another HUGE signing, Kansas City might now officially be the Soccer Capital of America, and Sporting Kansas City's success has gained the attention of the mighty SEC and college football.

Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

Although the score line was ugly, SKC's first team didn't look terrible against a very talented, very expensive Manchester City last night. A lot of the guys on that field for MCFC earn more than KC's entire squad. The likes of Kolarov, Navas, and Clichy (and the 17 year old Iheanacho!?) were too much for Sporting. There are mixed opinions about this MLS Summer Soccer Series but it was a great environment last night and both teams played hard. The highlights are worth the watch despite the loss. Those Manchester Citizens get paid good money for a reason.

Manchester City's vast amount of resources (along with that New York Yankee money) is also on display in their new MLS club New York City FC. When NYCFC announced their first signing in David Villa, he instantly became the best player in MLS. Moreover, there are conflicting reports, but the club might be close to announcing the signing of Xavi to a 3-year deal, who also would become the best player in MLS.
AND NOW... New York City announced another marquee signing today:

Lampard is old, but this team is already pretty terrifying even before their first role of the ball.

Before the game last night, we finally received the official announcement that the U.S. Soccer National Training Center is coming to Kansas City. Robb said they definitely want it to be open for the Copa America in 2016 and added an interesting little piece.

"We'd love to be a major training site for teams in 2016. Not only the US but I think we'd like to talk to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and some of those to see if we can have them as residents."

This would be great to strut our stuff for some world class players and convince them that playing for SKC wouldn't be such a bad idea. I'm looking at you, Aguero.

Speaking of Robb.. after signing Besler and Zusi and claiming to be the best club in MLS, Andrew Wiebe wrote an article on MLSSoccer.com challenging Heineman and SKC to win the CONCACAF Champions League. This club now has some CCL experience, and they've shown the depth to be able to handle multiple competitions. They should have a better showing in the group stage this time year, and a better seed would mean avoiding a team like Cruz Azul in the first round.

Michael Caley of the Washington Post wrote a great piece that really shows how great Sporting's back line has been the last few seasons.

"All teams in MLS concede about 90 to 120 completed passes within their defensive third per match, except for SKC. Kansas City allows only about 64."

In another article about Sporting from a national newspaper, Ben Cohen at the Wall Street Journal explains why the SEC and college football are visiting Sporting Park. Basically, they are in awe of what Sporting Club and Sporting Innovations have been able to do with their young fan base.

Next up is Toronto FC on Saturday at 6pm. Sporting look to pick up their 5 straight road victory against Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe. Toronto is in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference right now, but D.C. United and Kansas City are starting to distance themselves from the pack.

One more thing.. This Corn Maze in Liberty is no joke! We can literally get lost in the glory of winning MLS Cup 2013.