When we at the KC Soccer Journal were The Blue Testament, we would often write stories called Blue Links or Blue Notes that rounded up stories you may have missed. Welcome to Journal Entries (title pending). Let’s get to the news!
Russell’s Injured Hammy
Johnny Russell was a late scratch from the Portland Timbers game last weekend and now we know a little more on his availability. After receiving some scans, Peter Vermes gave an updated after the FC Dallas game that Russell is likely out for three to four weeks.
— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) June 1, 2023
Marinos Tzionis has stepped in admirably and done well with the starting spot. With the third game in seven days coming up Saturday, it’ll be interesting if the forward line remains unchanged or some of that promised rotation shows up.
It should be noted the Vancouver Whitecaps play on garbage turf.
USMNT Roster Released
The CONCACAF Nations League is just around the corner and a fairly strong roster was announced.
LET'S GO TO CAMP ⛺️🇺🇸
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) June 1, 2023
Headlining the roster is Folarin Balogun, who did a one-time switch from England to the United States recently. Many are hoping he’s the solution at striker for the National Team after a strong season on loan in France. He’s joined by Ricardo Pepi at CF.
The rest of the team is mostly stacked with higher end USMNT talent, with the exception of some injuries to players, like Tyler Adams. It’ll be interesting to see how interim-interim coach BJ Callaghan handles the roster. The team does need to make one cut before games start, with one of the four goalkeepers likely to be on the chopping block.
SKC II Mutually Part Ways with Two
Sporting KC II’s roster got a little lighter on Wednesday when the club announced they had mutually parted ways with two international players. First, winger Yeison Mejia from Honduras, got the boot (apparently to sign with another club). And he was joined by center back Aljaz Dzankic, who is also gone.
Mejia, 25, arrived from Real Espana in preseason and went on trial with the first team. He was eventually signed with SKC II, as we suspected all along, and he barely got on the field for them. He had just 55 minutes as a sub across four appearances and never made an impact.
Dzankic, 21, missed nearly all of the 2022 season have a catastrophic knee injury, when he tore his ACL after just three matches. He featured regularly on SKC II in 2021 when he was just 19 years old. He never returned from that ACL injury though, never appearing in 2023.
Sporting KC II are back in action on Friday night taking on the Vancouver Whitecaps II on the road.
NWSL Expansion Gets a Name
Bay Football Club is official ☑️ pic.twitter.com/5lfA9BPcaA
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) June 1, 2023
I’m a little underwhelmed. I suppose the “bay” can join the Water Wars between the KC Current and San Diego Wave. But the logo (is that the Golden Gate Bridge in the B?) feels somewhat generic. If it’s not the bridge in the letter B, then it just looks like a calligraphy B that could represent any city/team/newspaper starting with a B. It’ll probably look great on a hat though.
It’s still a super promising ownership group in a city without a men’s team. The sky is the limit, and the ambition seems to be there based on the expansion fee alone.
Sporting KC Stats
After every game the PR staff gives stats for Sporting Kansas City’s new high watermarks. We try to tweet them out live, but there were sooo many we couldn’t type fast enough. Here are some fun ones:
- Sporting’s 13 regular season points during the month of May are tied for their fourth most in a single month in club history (non-shootout era since 2000). Sporting has earned 13 points in May just once previously, in 2000 when the club went on to win MLS Cup.
- Sporting’s 12 goals during the month of May are currently tied for second most in MLS behind only Atlanta (13).
- Sporting’s four wins during the month of May (4-1-1 record) are also currently tied for second most in MLS behind only FC Cincinnati (five).
- Sporting has secured its first regular season home win over Dallas since August 2017 after going 0-4-2 in the previous six.
- Daniel Salloi has scored or assisted on nine of Sporting’s 18 goals this season in all competitions with team highs in both goals (five) and assists (four).
- Salloi passes Davy Arnaud for fourth in Sporting KC history with his 53rd career goal in all competitions.
- Salloi’s 42 regular season goals for Sporting are sixth most in club history, one shy of tying current Austin FC coaching duo Josh Wolff and Davy Arnaud for fifth.
- Salloi has scored in each of his last three home appearances at Children’s Mercy Park.
- Salloi now has 10 goal contributions (8 goals, 2 assists) in 15 regular season appearances against Dallas. His 11 career goals against Dallas in all competitions are the most of any MLS player since 2017. No other player has more than six goals against Dallas during that time.
- Salloi’s 68 combined goals (42) and assists (26) in the regular season are eighth most in club history, one shy of tying Josh Wolff in seventh.
- Gadi Kinda has scored a goal and provided an assist in the same MLS match for the fourth time in his career, and the first time since Oct. 3, 2021. Kinda now has 14 goal contributions (8 goals, 6 assists) in 21 regular season starts at Children’s Mercy Park.
- Gadi Kinda has scored in two of his last three home appearances, having scored the final goal in a 3-0 win over Minnesota United FC on May 13.
Not an official stat, but we asked Khiry Shelton, who played right back in an emergency, the last time he played in defense. He said he was five.
Khiry said tonight's cameo at right back was the first time he's played on the backline since he was five. #SportingKC
— Daniel Sperry (@sperrydaniel94) June 1, 2023
This next one is definitely a stat. I asked Peter Vermes about almost making the extremely rare quadruple sub and he joked that he would have broken a record. If you missed it, this was when Dany Rosero went down, and they sat Khiry Shelton back down and brought on Robert Castellanos instead. Presumably Shelton was going to close out the FC Dallas game for Alan Pulido, but it worked out PV held that sub as Zusi went down shortly after, and the team would have been out of subs and down a man.
— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) June 1, 2023
- The Athletic has a list of USMNT stars who could be on the move this summer. It’s pretty extensive.
- The only Sporting KC player announced for any of the international rosters on this upcoming break was Kaile Auvray, who was called up by Trinidad and Tobago’s full senior team.
- The KC Current are in need of help defensively and Maycee Ball, who went to high school in Kansas, is on her Instagram posing in a Kansas City Current training top. She is an All-American for the University of North Carolina who missed most of 2022 with a torn meniscus.
Is Kansas native and UNC Tar Heel Maycee Bell training with the Kansas City Current?
This team could use a good CB. She missed most of the 2022 season with a torn miniscus. #KCBaby
From her IG: pic.twitter.com/dTrOSEnJn8
— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) June 2, 2023
- TST has been fun to watch these first couple days, but controversy loomed over the game between West Ham United and Dallas United, ultimately leading to Dallas pulling out of the competition over one of their player’s use of a racial slur.
- On a happier note, speaking of TST, former KC Wizard Jimmy Conrad sat down with Shades of Blue to talk TST, Ted Lasso and of course, Sporting KC. Put faces to names and go like and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
- To learn more about TST (The Soccer Tournament), Nathan Dunn has you covered.
- There is a lot of USMNT content in here, so it’s worth noting the US U-16’s picked up a win against Japan in the International Dream Cup. They also lost to the Netherlands. Highlights of the win against the hosts below.
- The US U-20s have advanced to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup with a 4-0 win over New Zealand. They face Uruguay on the 4th.
- Not to be left out, the USWNT U-20s advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Championship after defeating Canada and will face Costa Rica for a spot in the U-20 Women’s World Cup.