Monday, July 23, 2012

Sporting KC to host French soccer champs in international friendly

Sporting Kansas City will host French Ligue 1 champions Montpellier Hérault SC in an international friendly at 7:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

In advance of Tuesday's match, MHSC will train at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park at 6:30 p.m. CT tonight. The session is open to the general public.

Founded in 1974, Montpellier Hérault SC is coming off the club's best season in the team's storied history, winning the French Ligue 1 Title for the 2011-12 campaign. Led by captain and French national team player Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Montpellier won 25 games and finished three points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.

The first-place finish qualifies Montpellier Hérault SC for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League group stage to compete against the top clubs in Europe next season.

Tuesday's match against Sporting KC will serve as a precursor for Montpellier as they face Coupe de France winners Lyon in the Trophée Des Champions on Saturday at Red Bull Arena.

Montpellier will be the first French club to face Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and is the fourth international club to visit the state-of-the-art stadium, along with Newcastle United FC and Stoke City FC of the English Premier League and Club Deportivo Guadalajara from Mexico. The EPL's Stoke City FC will also take on Sporting Kansas City on August 1 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

The pair of summer friendlies become the most recent international soccer events at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park since it's opening one year ago. CONCACAF selected the $200+ million venue to host matches during the 2011 Gold Cup and played the region's semifinal and championship games for the 2012 Olympic Men's Qualifying Tournament at LSP.

The U.S. Women's National Team played their first match following the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup at the stadium and the U.S. Men's National Team will return to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for their final World Cup qualifier in the Semifinal Round on October 16 versus Guatemala.