The Full 90

The (Late) Morning Kickoff: When the club president speaks...

Sporting Kansas City's president Robb Heineman isn't shy when it comes to the media (in all its forms). I've always liked chatting with him (he's very passionate about the team) and have found him to a rather plain-spoken guy who genuinely wants to let fans of his club know what's going on. Sometimes, it's insider knowledge.* Sometimes, it's information without any information. Sometimes it's information disguised as not information.

*During the MLS SuperDraft last week, he tweeted the team's picks (case in point, the simple "Sapong") shortly before the league announced the pick itself. That's insider knowledge.

Over the weekend, a two-part Q done by MLSsoccer's Andrew Wiebe hit the Internets. It was a bit of three kinds of information. In case you missed it, you can read it

here
here

.

Since there's not really a whole lot going on today, I've rounded up a few of the most interesting tidbits from this interview and provided my thoughts. We'll spend most of the kickoff on that. But stick around to the end, there are five goals from this weekend you've gotta see twice (or thrice) at least.

On the team's pursuit of a young designated player:

"Obviously, we wind up bidding against bigger teams over in Europe, frankly. One of the players that we have been pursuing very aggressively we think is now going to sign in the Premiership. That’s an issue. Another player that we were after quite heavily down in Brazil is going to sign at a big club in Argentina. It’s instances like that where you try to have this formula around a Designated Player where it’s a young person that you believe is going to enhance your competitive nature becomes even more competitive."

This is the kind of insight I like to hear from a team owner, as this sheds light on the process a bit. It also gives you a bit of a window into just how treacherous navigating international transfers can be.

For the record, Heineman provides just enough that I thought I could find something about out-of-contract Brazilians or incoming players to Argentina, but just vague enough that I wasted 35 minutes and probably gave my computer some sort of Spanish-language virus. This sort of information, to me, is like Diet Dr. Pepper. Sure, it tastes awesome, but there's almost zero nutritional value to it.

On Teal Bunbury:

"...We’re going to do everything we can to keep him in Kansas City for as long as we can."

A strong sign of intent to keep the young striker in town. Of course, drafting C.J. Sapong last week with the #10 pick (basically, a slightly older, more raw and less acclaimed version of Bunbury) might signal that they think Bunbury might not be long our fair town.

On the team's current season ticket numbers:

"I think our ticket sales are going well. We’ve had the opportunity to eclipse our goal. Right now we are approaching 9,000 season tickets so I think we feel good about that number. We’ve got a goal out there to get to 12,000 so we are going to push hard to get there if we can.

I'm not sure if 9,000 is encouraging or not. It sure sounds encouraging (9,000 season tickets at CommunityAmerica Ballpark might have left under 2,000 available for individual game purchase), but it's still less than half of capacity (18,500) with 6 months till it opens. Are there 3,000 more potential season-ticket holders out there in KC? Or are they counting on looky-loos who pick and choose games as the season unfolds to plunk down the dough?

On the team's progress with stadium/shirt sponsors:

"I think we’ve made some really good progress, and we are going to start to announce not only shirt and stadium sponsors but also our founding partnerships and sponsorships in general around the building in the coming weeks. We’re feeling very good about how all that’s going, and we are excited to announce some of those brands."

So, there will be an announcement this year on the shirt sponsor? A lot has changed since I was told in November that a kit-sponsor would be a ways away. Best guest? Sprint or Boulevard. Local makes sense.

About what comes after the stadium for the team:

"Youth development. Youth development is going to have to be a key component of our strategy going forward. Having a vertically integrated pipeline here in Kansas City and probably also in a couple international sites is going to be key to making sure we build a consistent and sustainable winner on the field. That will be big focus."

I believe Peter Vermes has said on a few occasions that another academy product is potentially going to join the team at some point.

Another area they talked about in the interview is the idea of "membership." I've got more thoughts on that (more than I care to spill at this juncture of this post) and I'm working on a bigger piece for a little bit down the road.

This Week in Wonder Goals!

There were a few outstanding goals this weekend, let's round them all up.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a stunning left-foot crack that came from literally nothing.

A brilliant Cani does his best David Beckham.

Absolutely no idea how Roberto Carlos scored on this corner kick. Seems almost impossible.

American midfielder Maurice Edu just returned from an injury to Rangers and scored a nice left-footed volley from outside the box.

A brilliant piece of individual skill from Manchester City's Carlos Tevez.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us=foxsports=foxsports_en-us_videocentral=b2c02169-a80a-4af7-afa2-b6af8360dc4c=FLCP:sharebar:embed" target="_new" title="PL Highlights: Man City/Wolves">Video: PL Highlights: Man City/Wolves</a>

The Lightning Round

• The CONCACAF Gold Cup (which will have a few games here in Kansas City at the new as-of-yet-unnamed stadium in Kansas City, Kansas on June 14), got a few more teams yesterday as

El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama sealed their place

by reaching the semifinals of the Copa Centroamericana. The 10 teams qualified so far: Canada, Mexico, the United States, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Grenada, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. The last two spots will be decided on Tuesday.

Incoming trialist Sheldon Bateau is eager for a chance to prove himself

when he comes to Kansas City for the preseason.

• The Wall Street Journal

explores Qatar's World Cup spending spree.

Down the Byline updates Sporting Kansas City's 10,000 Minute Club.

• Aston Villa

weighs up Cummings loan signing.

• Speaking of Villa, it appears

Sunderland's Darren Bent is about to transfer there.

Which may or may not put a crimp in Cummings' loan deal.

• Former Real Madrid and Chelsea hard-man

Claude Makelele in talks with the LA Galaxy?

Toronto says no to De Ro loan to Celtic.

U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones close to Blackburn loan.

U.S. forward Robbie Findley gets U.K. work permit, moves to Nottingham Forest.
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