Thomas gets a league start at home
St. Thomas Aquinas graduate Michael Thomas started his third MLS game Saturday night, but it was the first start in a league game at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Thomas, a Sporting Kansas City midfielder who played with Matt Besler at Notre Dame before spending two seasons playing professionally in Sweden, went 84 minutes before giving way to C.J. Sapong, who returned from a three-game league absence.
“I got a couple games in the friendlies with Montpellier and Stoke City, but it felt good to get into a game that means a little more, “ said Thomas, who picked up a yellow card in the second minute. “I was ready to show Livestrong what I was made of and I think I did a pretty good job.”
The game also marked the first MLS start for Neven Markovic, a Serbian defender the club signed last month. His only other appearances came during friendlies with Montpellier Herault SC and Stoke City FC.
Markovic started at left back for Seth Sinovic, who sprained his ankle in the 100th minute Wednesday against the Seattle Sounders FC.
Midfielder Oriol Rosell, 20, who was signed from Barcelona’s youth ranks, made the game-day roster for the first time and earned his MLS debut in the 93rd minute.
• Finally, Sporting KC won with style again as it always does with centerback (and French fashion icon) Aurelien Collin in the lineup.
Collin, 26, missed nearly three weeks after suffering two broken bones in his face July 25 during the MLS All-Star Game.
“I missed it so much, the fans and my team,” Collin said.
He started the game with a protective mask, but he shed it barely 10 minutes into the game.
“Part of my game is headers, but it was not comfortable making headers with the mask,” Collin said. “Basketball players can play with it, but soccer players can’t — especially a defender like I am. We use the head so much, so I took it off.”
Collin almost netted a goal in his return as well, but couldn’t connect on a couple first-half headers — sans mask — and also whiffed on a sitter in the 84th minute.
• The spoils from winning the 99th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final made the rounds Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Before the game, tailgating fans were graced with the Cup’s presence and filled Twitter and other social media websites with pictures of Sporting KC fans embracing the trophy.
During the game, the U.S. Open Cup trophy was in the Field Club, but plans call for it to be moved to different spots for different games to give fans a chance to see it.
• It was two years ago Monday – Aug. 13, 2010 – that Sporting KC signed Omar Bravo as the second Designated Player in club history. Bravo wouldn’t play for the club until 2011, when he tied for the team lead with nine goals in helping Sporting KC claim the Eastern Conference regular-season title.
Bravo returned to his native Mexico in the offseason.