New York Red Bulls midfielder Juninho was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for kicking a ball at Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen during the 91st minute April 17 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
The league announced the MLS Disciplinary Committee’s decision Monday for “violent conduct that endangered the safety of his opponent.”
Trying to nurse a 1-0 lead home, Nielsen, who is in his second season as Sporting KC’s captain, took his time on a goal kick in stoppage time, a common tactic for any team with a late lead.
A frustrated Juninho, 38, ran up to the ball, tapped it forward and then drilled Nielsen with a hard strike. He received an immediate red card.
The Brazilian midfielder in his first season with the Red Bulls sat out last Saturday’s 4-1 home win against the New England Revolution.
Now, he also miss sit for the Red Bulls’ next game this Saturday at Toronto FC.
Nielsen’s shutout streak reached 519 minutes during the win against New York. It ended Saturday at 545 minutes — the fifth-longest streak by a goalkeeper in MLS history — during a 2-0 loss against the LA Galaxy.
Sporting KC and its captain will try to get back on track at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the Portland Timbers FC arrive at Sporting Park. It is the first of three straight home games for the club.
Lopez, Palmer-Brown called to youth national teams
Sporting KC’s first-round pick, rookie midfielder Mikey Lopez, returned to camp with the U.S. under-20 national team Monday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Lopez, a Generation adidas signing who spent two seasons at North Carolina, played in four of five matches last month in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, which qualified the U.S. squad to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup this summer in Turkey.
Additionally, Sporting KC Academy defender Erik Palmer-Brown didn’t make the roster for U.S. under-17 squad trying to qualify for the FIFA Youth World Cup, but he’s still about to get international exposure.
Palmer-Brown, a Lee’s Summit resident who turned 16 Wednesday, was among 19 players called into camp with the U.S. under-15 squad that will play in the Tournament Delle Nazioni in Grandisca, Italy, beginning Friday.
He has spent the last several months at the U.S. Soccer Residency Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Season tickets sold out
Sporting KC has sold out its allotment of 14,000 season tickets, the club announced Tuesday.
New prospective season-ticket members can be placed on a waiting list for a non-refundable $50 fee.
Sporting KC, which boasts a league-best 90 percent season-ticket renewal rate the last three seasons, also announced a new five-game “Pick Plan,” which includes the July 3 match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and four other matches of the buyer’s choice.
Sporting KC announces new pregame beer garden
The Budweiser Beer Garden at Sporting Park — featuring all-you-can-eat stadium fare and all-you-can-drink beverages, including Budweiser products, soda and water — will make its debut Saturday before Sporting KC battles the Portland Timbers FC at 7:30 p.m.
Located at the south end of the Sprint Plaza, it will open two hours before kickoff and close 15 minutes before first kick. There also will be music and tailgating games.
Tickets, which cost $25 or $20 for season-ticket members, are available online at Ticketmaster.com or can be purchased at the Sporting Park box offices on game day.