Sporting Kansas City's quest to repeat as Eastern Conference regular season champions began today with a 2-1 pre-season victory against the San Jose Earthquakes in the pre-season opener for both clubs.
Kansas City midfielder Konrad Warzycha delivered the game-winning goal, converting a free kick to break a 1-1 deadlock. Chris Wondolowski and Kei Kamara exchanged first half goals in the match, played in Tucson, Arizona.
Warzycha, the son of Columbus Crew head coach Robert Warzycha, was forced to miss most of his rookie season in 2011 due to knee surgery, but has gotten his pre-season off to a flying start with his free kick finish.
Sporting Kansas City will return to pre-season action on Feb. 11th against D.C. United. San Jose takes on the Colorado Rapids on Friday in their next pre-season match.
Here are some other stories from Saturday to get wrap up your day:
WENGER EYEING EXTENSION TO HENRY DEAL AFTER ARSENAL ROMP
Arsenal destroyed Blackburn, 7-1, on Saturday and New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry provided the final goal of the day for his first Premier League goal in five years. After the match, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger acknowledged that he would be open to extending Henry's loan.
Robin Van Persie was the star of the show for Arsenal, notching a hat trick, but Wenger's comments about extending Henry's loan deal are sure to worry New York Red Bulls fans concerned the Gunners may try to keep him for the rest of the Premier League season. As it stands though, Arsenal seems only interested in extending the loan two more weeks.
FIRE TOP REAL ESPANA IN PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY
The Chicago Fire posted their first victory of the pre-season by defeating Real Espana 3-1 on a rainy Saturday night at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana.
A late goal from Orr Barouch and a brace from Dominic Oduro were enough to push past the Honduran side and show the critics that their respective forms in 2011 were no flukes.
Dominic Oduro was the first to find the back of the net in the 26th minute when Sebastian Grazzini picked out the Ghanaian striker who took on the Real Espana goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead. Roughly ten minutes later, Real Espana tied it all up. A well-driven free kick from Puerto found Delgado at the back post who headed the ball past Fire goalkeeper Jay Nolly.
Oduro managed to get the Fire back up in the 44th minute as trialist Ivan Guerrero found Patrick Nyarko with a long, searching ball. Nyarko then played the ball to a sprinting Oduro who rounded the keeper to reclaim a well-deserved lead.
Orr Barouch wrapped it all up in the 88th minute following a well-crafted combination play from Victor Pineda and Mike Videira.
Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini left the first half with an injury, however the seriousness of the injury is yet to be determined.
The team returns to Chicago for a short break as they prepare to depart to Ventura, California for phase two of preseason where they will train from Feb. 8-18.
WHITBREAD INJURED IN NORWICH WIN
Norwich City Zak Whitbread has been playing very well for the Canaries, and has been seen as a player expected to get a call from U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, but he was forced to leave Saturday's Norwich City 2-0 victory against Bolton due to a hamstring injury.
Norwich City manager Paul Lambert said he didn't think Whitbread's injury was too serious, which could still leave Whitbread with an outside chance of being available for the U.S. team's upcoming friendly against Italy on Feb. 29th.
In other Americans Abroad news at the Norwich City-Bolton match, Tim Ream did not dress for Bolton.
IVORY COAST, ZAMBIA REACH ANC SEMIFINALS
The first two places in the African Cup of Nations semifinals were booked after identical 3-0 victories by Ivory Coast and Zambia filled half the field.