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The Blue Links: April 5th, 2016

Views from the training ground for Sporting KC, a look around MLS Matchday 4 action, red cards are serious this season, and Kevin Oliveira gives reason to be excited about the Swope Park Rangers.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The boys were back at it today preparing for a trip to face the New York Red Bulls this weekend. To start us off.. here are a couple videos on our Instagram from the training ground:

Training is intense today. #SportingKC #mls #soccer #skc

A video posted by The Blue Testament (@bluetestamentkc) on

They got a new toy recently are still figuring it out. It's a pretty crazy ball cannon they can rev all the way to launch in curling corner kicks.

Keeper drills always look like fun. Kann and Melia working hard! #SportingKC #mls #soccer #skc #kansascity

A video posted by The Blue Testament (@bluetestamentkc) on

Sporting Kansas City

It is really happening!

Sporting KC to celebrate 20th Anniversary Night against Colorado Rapids on April 13 | Sporting Kansas City
The retro rainbow jerseys are coming April 13th. I mean... Just take my money.

Player Ratings from the RSL game are in. They aren't pretty.

Back to Real-ity - The Blue Testament
Benny Feilhaber came in at 6.5 as the highest rated SKC player. Joao Plata and Justen Glad both were rated at 8.0 for Real Salt Lake.

Sporting Academy Youngsters are playing well

Sporting KC U-16s and U-18s continue their playoff pushes at Swope Soccer Village | Sporting Kansas City

Vote for the best Forwards in club history

Voting now open for forwards in Sporting KC's 20th Anniversary Best XI presented by Bud Light | Sporting Kansas City

Mayor Sly James in All For the City commercial

Shout outs to all the suburbs. WHAT UP LEES SUMMIT?

Major League Soccer

Sporting KC still sitting pretty in latest standings/power rankings

Supporters' Shield Standings | MLSsoccer.com
Despite losing, Sporting KC are still at least one point ahead of everyone in soccer besides FC Dallas.

MLS Power Rankings, Week 5: Salt Lake in top three after short-handed win | MLSsoccer.com
Sporting fell from the top spot to #2 behind FC Dallas.

SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 5) | Soccer By Ives
SKC went from 1st to 4th here. Also Real Salt Lake claimed the top spot. -_-

Your comprehensive highlight from all things in MLS this weekend

DC United is in the middle of a cluster f*** with fans right now

D.C. United Faces Furious Fans After Supporter Is Slapped With One-Year Ban: DCist
The team banned a fan and sanctioned a supporter's group for setting off a smoke bomb, according to the club, in the concourse of the stadium. Fans deny that.

D.C. United clarifies supporter ban - Black And Red United
LISTEN: The Director of Communications called into Sirius XM radio to "clarify" the situation.

MLS tries to deny red card differences

Despite narrative, 2016 red card numbers not out of place in MLS history | MLSsoccer.com
While there have been only 2 more red cards handed out this season than last season at this point, the straight red cards is where the difference lies. There have been 16 red cards this year vs 14 last year. BUT there have ben 14 STRAIGHT red cards so far vs 8 last year and 7 the year before.

MLS Injury Report

MLSsoccer.com Injury Report | MLSsoccer.com
Justin Mapp, Matt Besler, and Paulo Nagamura are on it for SKC and all should be out this weekend. Ike is not on it, but is still a big question mark. NYRB have 4 players OUT and Kemar Lawrence listed as doubtful.

US Men aren't going to the Olympics, but Iraq and Justin Meram will be

Crew SC's Justin Meram could play for Iraq at Olympics - ESPN FC

Kaka has still got it

Kaka: Goals, Skills and Highlights with Orlando City SC | MLSsoccer.com

US Men's National Team

Quite a bit of encouraging news for Americans playing overseas

Miazga impresses Hiddink in Chelsea debut | Soccer By Ives
The NYRB product went the full 90 for Chelsea in a 4-0 win over Aston Villa. He played well... but Villa is terrible.

Cody Cropper to start remainder of season for MK Dons | Soccer By Ives
The US goal keeping prospect is stepping up for the injured David Martin. Chance for some big minutes.

Report: Zelalem to be given chance to make Arsenal first team | Soccer By Ives
After a loan to Scottish side Rangers FC, it looks like he's going to be given a real chance to make the first team this summer. Zalalem has a very high ceiling and could end up being a star for the USMNT for years to come. This would be a huge step in accomplishing that.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind | Soccer By Ives
Fabian Johnson got an assist after returning from injury in a 5-0 win over Hertha Berlin.

The SBI View: Brek Shea can be answer for USMNT at left back | Soccer By Ives
Left back is a huge question mark for USMNT and we need somebody to step up and take the job. SBI thinks that can be Brek Shea.

Swope Park Rangers

Rangers get 2nd win in as many games

Recap: Swope Park Rangers earn 2-1 win on the road against Tulsa Roughnecks FC | Sporting Kansas City
Two fantastic goals from Dane Kelly and Nansel Selbol to get the win.

Highlights:

Kelly's strike among USL Goals of the Week

OK so... Kevin Oliveira is real nice, you guys

If you have any questions about the quality of soccer from SPR, this pass from Oliveira against Tulsa should answer them.

VanCompernolle earns TOTW Honors

Swope Park Rangers defender Jacob VanCompernolle named to USL Team of the Week | Sporting Kansas City

The Rangers climb to #2 in Power Rankings

USL Power Rankings – Week 2

With Matt Besler out and Ike Opara still in question...

This could be telling of Ike's status... or he could just another body to work with in practice

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Our Matchday 5 Center is up! Everything you need to know about the NYRB game on Saturday in NJ. Check out the weather, referee assignments, and pick your lineup.