There were no goals scored in Monday night’s MLS Homegrown Game in Portland, Ore., and Sporting Kansas City’s Jon Kempin was a big reason why.
The goalkeeper Kempin, who was playing for the league’s top homegrown players, was chosen the player of the game in the 0-0 tie against the Portland Timber under-23 team.
Homegrown players can be signed to a professional contract to the team that developed him without having to go through the draft process.
Kempin, who attended Blue Valley North, started the second half and came up with two big saves in a span of 5 minutes to keep the Timber under-23 team off the board. He made diving saves on shots by Jacori Hayes and Cristian Roldan.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Kempin, a member of the U.S. national U20 team. “It’s always good to get 45 minutes and it turned out to be a competitive match.”
In stoppage time, Hayes made a last-ditch effort for a goal but his shot sailed high.
Sporting KC defender Erik Palmer-Brown also played for the MLS homegrown team.
The Homegrown game was played in Providence Park, which will be the site of Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game. That match Wednesday night will pit MLS players from around the league against Bundesliga power Bayern Munich.
Homegrown coach Alfonso Mondelo, the MLS director of player programs, said he hopes that a showcase game for young players will continue to be part of the All-Star festivities.
“I thought it was entertaining,” he said. “The only thing that was missing was the goals.”