It's been a quiet bye week here in Kansas City, with the biggest game of the year still 8 days away.
While the rest has probably been good for the Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo players (many played over 200 minutes in a three-day span), it's been a slow, tense week for fans. I've probably fielded the question "What's with this awkward break"? at least three dozen times. (Most of these have come from people I wouldn't identify as soccer fans, but are interested.)
News out of the Sporting KC camp has been mostly positive. The two-week break has allowed several key players to rest and, according toThe Star's Sam McDowell
, Lawrence Olum might return to the practice field next week despite a displaced fracture in his leg. He hopes to be fit in time for next Saturday! (The injury was suffered in the first leg of the New England series.)
The news on ailing midfielder Peterson Joseph isn't so great. Two weeks after briefly passing out during training,Steve Brisendine at MLSsoccer.com
reports that the team is still awaiting test results. Until those results are in, Peter Vermes said that Joseph "will not set foot on the field."
On the Dynamo side, key players Will Bruin (undisclosed) and Ricardo Clark ("left leg" injury) were bothabsent from a Wednesday training session this week
Here are a few other notes to get you through the Sporting-less weekend.
Graham Zuis's "shroos" (part shot, part cross) against the Chicago Fire earlier this year has reachedthe semifinals of the MLS Goal of the Year competition
. Give it a vote.
Also from Mr. Brisendine,Aurelien Collin wants to make it clear
: "It's up to the owners and the coaches. Of course, me, all my life I would stay here in Kansas City.” The French defender was responding to reports that he was weighing a return to Europe this winter.
The referee for the big match next week? Baldomero Toledo. The 10-year vet lead the league with 72 yellow cards and 12 red cards shown. (That goes with an average of 26.9 fouls called per game.) He's bossed four Sporting KC games this year and handed out four reds, all to KC opponents: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Daniel Paladini (Chicago), and Dimitry Imbongo and Andy Dorman (New England).
There were a very limited number of standing-room tickets available earlier this week — that number is going to evaporate quickly. If you don't have yours, you might not be able to wait too much longer.
If you're looking for a soccer fix, the Missouri Comets open the season on Saturday night against the Milwaukee Wave at the Independence Events Center. Kickoff is at 7:35 p.m. Go tocometsindoorsoccer.com for more information.