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Sporting News: Zusi scores in Panama, Heineman says no designated player for now

Charles Gooch
The Kansas City Star

Tonight's installment of Sporting News is short, but sweet. As always, here are the best SKC- and MLS-related stories/tweets/etc.

• Graham Zusi slammed home his first international goal to power the United States to victory over Panama in a friendly on Wednesday night.

Zusi's Sporting teammate Teal Bunbury was involved in the play, having the ball squeeze between his legs after a nice cross from FC Dallas fullback Zach Loyd. It fell to a wide open Zusi to put home. Fellow Sporting KC forward C.J. Sapong entered late in the game as Bunbury's replacement.

The United States played most of the second half down a man after Houston Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron was shown a red card in the 52nd minute. It was the third-straight win for the United States under Jurgen Klinsmann.

It was definitely not a pretty game for the United States. Panama dominated possession and scoring chances. Without the superb play of Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Panama could very well have won by a few goals.

But, a win on the road against a CONCACAF opponent is a win on the road against a CONCACAF opponent.

Zusi definitely played the best (and most) of the Sporting KC contingent. Bunbury had a very uneven game despite being involved in the only goal; Sapong made the most of his cameo appearance as the lone striker of a 10-man team.

Here's the video of Zusi's goal:

It's the last friendly for this group of U.S. national campers. Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com that he plans on giving Zusi, Bunbury and Sapong some time off.

"I’m going to give them time off until we go to Tucson," said Vermes, whose team departs next week for Arizona. "They’ve been going pretty hard for quite some time, and I don’t want to bother them. I’ve already told them not to even show up, just to stay home and relax. Once we get down there, I’ll re-evaluate and maybe give them a day off here or there as well."

• The other talker today: Robb Heineman tweeting that, spare a miracle, Sporting Kansas City won't be signing a designated player this transfer window.

Three thoughts. 1) KC appears to have enough quality on the roster right now that a new player doesn't seem to be necessary. 2) A mid-season designated player is less risk financially -- they don't cost as much against the salary cap. 3) It's not like KC need more help selling tickets right now.

However... if Bobby Convey struggles to take over for Omar Bravo, if Zusi can't handle the role of lead creator or if Bunbury or Sapong struggle, Kansas City might regret having to wait until the summer transfer window to bring in a big-name playmaker.

• Did you guys see what Kevin Ellis look-alike Dani Alves did today against Real Madrid?

That's just disgusting.

(In case you didn't know, Sporting KC's homegrown fullback Kevin Ellis bares a striking resemblance physically and stylistically to the Barca player.)

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