Saturday, March 19, 2011

Podcast: Byline 2 Backpost 3/17/2011

We discuss the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park announcement, the Gold Cup draw, Sporting KC players, the upcoming game with Chivas, the Comets win over the Wave and their next playoff game (and a bit more).

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Thanks to The Vandon Arms, a great band out of Iowa. Their latest album is The Sent Off EP and contains several soccer related songs. You can hear their music here or check them out on their Facebook page.

Omar Bravo looks to be a big part of Sporting KC success...

Danny Waltman has come up big for the Comets and will need to keep that level of play up for the rest of the playoffs...

Rocastle and Sassano practice interviews 3/17

Craig Rocastle talks about preseason and the new faces in camp...

Luke Sassano talk about the upcoming game and something we did not know about him...

Sassano during a shooting drill

Sporting KC practice photos 3/17

Julio Cesar (55) and Matt Besler (5) look to be the starting central defense. With number 15 Roger Espinoza on the left side, do we have a good numerology theory on defense?

Milos is thinking of a number and it is not OchoCinco...

Enough with the numbers, Lets Dance?

Chance takes his shot

Kempin stopping one of the many shots he faced in practice

Omar Bravo

Kei makes a face while shooting...

CJ Sapong

More photos

Comets 11 -5 Wave recap and photos

The Comets took the lead in the playoffs when they defeated the Wave at home. Milwaukee came out flying and dominated the opening half of the first quarter. The Comets withstood the initial onslaught with some excellent defending, a little bit of luck and stellar play by Danny Waltman.

The Comets played incredible defense and kept Milwaukee scoreless until the middle of the 4th quarter but held on to the lead. Missouri now needs just one more win to advance to the Championship game.

The next game is in Milwaukee. If the Comets win they move on to face Baltimore in the championship game. If the Wave wins that game, the two teams will play a "mini" 15 minute game to determine the winner.

The game can be watched online or you can attend a watch party hosted by the Comets Booster Club.

Coach talks about the game

More photos here

Waltman and the Comets survived the initial pressure...

Another save...

Assadpour's shot goes by Feenstra...

Feenstra's head is useful...

Waltman blocks a low shot...

Waltman was pumped and playing great...

Tiguinho scores off a restart...

Vahid Assadpour scores from long range to seal the game while the Wave were using the sixth attacker

Wave sixth attacker dove trying to save a goal but ended up hurting himself instead...

Coach looking more pleased after a game than I have seen previously...

A bunch of the Comets went into the stands to celebrate the win after the game was over...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sporting Kansas City Media Day part 2

Somehow players started interviewing players which made for some fun interviews.

Kei Kamara interviewing CJ Sapong

CJ interviewing Jimmy Nielsen

Don't forget to follow CJ on twitter. He is @BigAfrika88.

Make sure to follow @TheBackpost on twitter as well.

Sporting Kansas City Media Day part 1

I am still trying to catch up from a hectic week. Here are some of the interviews from media day last Monday. Was using a different camera so the videos are a little smaller than usual. I will have to experiment to figure out the best settings and sizes.

Davy Arnaud

Jimmy Nielsen

Teal Bunbury

Peter Vermes

Robb Heineman

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ochocinco to try out with Sporting Kansas City

NFL star Ochocinco is trying out with Sporting Kansas City next week. The NFL locked out the players so he has some time on his hands. Despite the immediate speculation of publicity stunt, Ochocinco, Coach Vermes and Sporting Kansas City all say that it is real. Ochocinco (do I have the name correct?) played soccer at a high level when he was young and actually preferred soccer but leaned towards American Football because there was more opportunity at that time.

He is 33 years old and in great shape for an NFL player but that is not the same as being in good shape for soccer, especially in Sporting KC's 90 minutes of 4-3-3 high pressure hell. A few seconds of all out sprints and running patterns is quite different than the constant motion in soccer.

It has been reported that he uses a soccer ball to warm up before his NFL games, he has practiced with some great teams and players around the world and was a good player when he was young. That does not compare to the thousands of hours that rookies have been practicing, working on ball skills, playing games and developing soccer sense.

Some people are going to assume that this is a stunt. Ochocinco says it is not. While he was with Kansas City, Indian star Sunil Chhetri was considered by some to be a 'publicity stunt' as well. He had great finishing skill though. He lacked defense and some other refinements that would have come playing at a high level but he had ability. Everyone says this is not a stunt. They say this a real trial because he wants to play soccer. Even if Ochocinco and the team wanted to do a publicity stunt like this, my experience with Vermes makes me think he would not approve. He is a serious manager and not prone to stunts that would distract from focusing on making a better team.

While it will create a media stir (already has), I say give him a shot. Let him trial like any strange guy from some unpronounceable eastern bloc country. Let him run drills and see if he has some skill. Let him scrimmage with the reserves. If he has skill and the right attitude, see what happens. Maybe the team falls into a bench depth/super sub kind of star. Worst that happens is everyone on the team gets autographs and Ochocinco gets a new jersey to hang on the wall.

What does everyone think? Good move? Stupid stunt? Fun distraction?

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park Photos Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 I shared photos of various parts and views of the stadium. In the third installment I want to share just one photo.

A larger version of this photo

All the photos I posted online from that day are in this gallery

It's been a few days...

My apologies to those who saw LIVESTRONG Sporting Park Photos Part 1 and were waiting for Part 2 and 3. I was in the middle of posting part 2 when I got a phone call about a friend. He was taken to the hospital that afternoon. I have known him for many years. He is the the reason I live in Kansas City. We have watched a lot of soccer together and I hope to be able to do so again.

Since that day I have been running back and forth and helping his family get in town so I've missed a bit of news. The Comets made the playoffs and Sporting Kansas City signed a player or two. I was able to get some good interviews the other day and will try to get them posted soon.

While he is not out of the woods yet, he is doing better...