Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sporting Kansas City returns to action tonight in nationally-televised game against New York

Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls meet for the first time this season at 8:00 p.m. CT on Sunday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in a match-up between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

The match, sponsored by The Home Depot, will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes with Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman calling the action live from LSP.

The match will also be available for local listeners on La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish) and Sports Radio 810 WHB (English), whose coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. CT and will continue with The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame show.

The first 5,000 fans into the stadium on Sunday will receive a The Home Depot Mystery Gift Card worth up to $1,000 and fans are encouraged to check-in with their mobile device at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Sporting Explore and/or Foursquare for a special offer from The Home Depot.

Sporting Kansas City will also host Military Appreciation Night in conjunction with the match. In addition to discounted ticket prices available for military members and their families, ticket sales for the match will benefit USO Ft. Riley and MWR Ft. Leavenworth.

Special festivities honoring the armed forces are planned throughout the match, including an oath of enlistment ceremony to be held at halftime on the field. The match will also be shown live around the world on the American Forces Network, including a special watch party at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

Sporting Kansas City enters the contest in first place in the Eastern Conference, leading New York by two points. Manager Peter Vermes' squad has won all three MLS matches this month, in addition to lifting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy.

Sunday's match is the start of a three-game homestand for Sporting Kansas City, the club's longest of the season, and is the team's first of three games against New York during the final two months of the season.

Both teams are even in the all-time regular season series with 17 wins each in the 17 years since being part of the inaugural MLS season in 1996. Sporting KC has collected 14 of those 17 wins at home in the series and are 7-3-2 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park this season in MLS play, allowing only eight goals in 12 MLS matches.

New York, second in scoring this season with 43 goals in 25 games, are led by forward Kenny Cooper, whose 14 goals are second-most in MLS this season, while Thierry Henry leads the team with seven assists to go with 11 goals of his own.

Australian international Tim Cahill, signed earlier this month from Everton, scored his first goal in the team's 3-2 comeback win over Portland last Sunday and has two assists in four appearances. Fellow forward Sebastien Le Toux has scored 30 goals over the last three MLS seasons.

The Red Bulls are winless on the road since the team put together three consecutive away wins in May, but arrive in Kansas City with wins in each of their last two matches. Hans Backe will again be without Designated Player Rafa Marquez (calf strain), but could be boosted by the arrival of recently signed midfielder Lloyd Sam who has played in England since 2003.