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.
Somebody get this team a jersey sponsor…
I think Klopas on the sidelines is an upgrade from DLC.
I think Klopas out of the front office is an upgrade from Klopas in the front office only.
Am I skeptical? Absolutely.
I’m not entirely certain you really know what you are talking about. The rhetoric you espouse sounds all well and clever, but it simply is not correct and shows more that you have been following headlines (or the lack of them) as a barometer for success in 2012. My guess is that you haven’t been near the team or the pre-season camp to actually know that the team which has been assembled is coming together quite nicely. Sure there are areas that can continue to be improved, but that is the job of the technical staff to constantly be looking for upgrades in those areas (which they are).
While Real Espanna’s current record isn’t shining (at only 5 games into their season), they were not pushovers. The Fire could have actually won this exhibition game against the defending Honduran league champions by a wider margin with a few sharper finishes. but at least it wasn’t for lack of opportunity creation. A smaller note about this game in particular is that it was nice watching the Fire (pre-season) beat a foreign team that was already into it’s own domestic season.
Maybe the result or the opposition isn’t really taking it to the Chelsea’s and Inter’s of the world, but the belief this team has in one another, the healthy and positive attitude, as well as the competition for starting minutes is going to continue to propel this side forward through the off-season and into the 2012 season. So the result in and of itself was a small way to show that the final push of 2011 may have been in vein, but it was no fluke.
But hey, I’m not going to convince you here–I’ll let the team’s results continue to speak for themselves while your commentary will increasingly lose it’s skepticism until you are a believer–if you can be. If not, that’s cool. It’s always good to have a doubter to prove wrong.
If you’re a fan of the Fire, past or present, casual or hardcore, you’ve gotta believe that 2012 is going to have some very positive results.
Finally, I’d like to thank the Lousiana Fire Juniors and New Orleans for being a great host to a few first time guests! We had a blast and hope this becomes an annual pre-season trip.
If the playoffs are our only objective, then average works.
However, I’d prefer to have a legitimate shot at some silverware. We both agree the Fire’s outlook is average, we just disagree whether or not it’s acceptable.
Perhaps the fan base being fine with mediocrity is why the team looks so vanilla this year.
A “very average team” has a better chance than not, to do quite well in the East this year(i.e. the East is full of fail). So this Fire fan is not worried if that turns out to be the case.
“were enough to push past the Honduran side and show the critics that their respective forms in 2011 were no flukes.”
I’m sorry, what? I have to use your go-to-saying Ives, “Slow down there” to this result.
They’re on track to be a very average team this year and beating some Honduran side hardly shows THIS critic they’ll be anything BUT average.
No Emirates Cup this year. They cancelled because of the Olympics
I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m 98% sure that when Henry’s loan deal was first officially announced, either the NY or the Arsenal website said that the 2-week extension option was part of the deal so that, if the loan went well, Henry could stay and play against Spurs.
What I mean is, I don’t think this is anything new, and I don’t think that it’s any indication that Arsenal want to keep him longer than the original terms of the loan (since the original terms always included the possibility of the 2 week extension).
He wants to extend Henry for the rest of the season, loan a player to the Red Bulls through the MLS season.
I suppose we’re going to settle for being ‘allowed’ to ‘defend’ our ‘trophy’ from last year. Maybe they’ll come over for the NY challenge.