The Full 90

Kansas City to host French champs Montpellier in July

An already jam-packed schedule for Sporting Kansas City got a little more crowded Friday when the club announced a friendly against French Ligue 1 champions Montpellier HSC.

The game against Montpellier — which will be making its U.S. debut led by French national team players Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Olivier Giroud, who scored 21 goals with nine assists in league play last season — is set for 7:30 p.m. July 24 at Livestrong Sporting Park.

“For the first time in its history, our club, Montpellier Herault SC, will play a match on American soil, and it will be a very exciting moment,” Montpellier deputy president Laurent Nicollin said in a release from Sporting KC. “I am very happy and proud that we have the opportunity to play against Sporting Kansas City. The match will be a very good test for us.”

Four days later, Montpellier will open the French season with a battle against Coupe de France winner Lyon in the Trophée Des Champions on July 28 at Red Bull Arena.

Sporting KC, 8-3-1, which sits third in the Eastern Conference with 25 points, already had 13 games on the slate between tonight’s match against Toronto FC and a road battle Aug. 4 at the New England Revolution.

Now, manager Peter Vermes’ club has 14 game days in the next 49 days — a number that could rise again if Sporting KC survives its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal June 26 against the Dayton Dutch Lions.

Tickets for the game start at $20 and are on sale through Ticketmaster.com or at the Livestrong box offices.

Besler to sign autographs before Toronto gameDefender Matt Besler, who will sit out Saturday night’s match against Toronto FC after an emergency appendectomy eight days ago, will sign autographs at the Time Warner Cable/ESPN Fan Zone at Livestrong Sporting Park’s Sprint Plaza.

Besler will sign autographs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fans also will have a chance to register for a prize giveaway that includes at Xbox 360 and iPod touch in addition to learning about the WatchESPN application, which allows streaming of ESPN broadcasts to mobile devices.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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