As we survey the weekend sports schedule, a big match up looms in Major League Soccer (MLS). Sporting Kansas City (SKC), the defending MLS champs, will travel to Seattle to take on an always tough and also hungry Sounders squad. As we consider the match up, let’s look at three players that will be core actors in the drama at CenturyLink Field: Eric Kronberg, Matt Besler and Clint Demspey.
For Eric Kronberg, this game is what he has been waiting for since Jimmy “The White Puma” Nielsen announced his retirement after hoisting the MLS Cup. Kronberg, a California native, has wanted to be the man behind the sticks for eight years. On Saturday, he finally will have that chance.
Matt Besler is entering Centry Link Field knowing that he is not just Kansas City’s hometown kid, but also now is Kansas City’s hometown captain. As Nielsen turned his sights to coaching, SKC lost more than a goalie. They also lost their captain. Matt Besler, a U.S National team member, will look to bring leadership to an SKC team looking to repeat. The road back to the podium starts in Seattle on Saturday.
Finally, Clint Demspey is out to prove the critics wrong. The noise around professional soccer, particularly in some media circles, is that Dempsey is on a downward slope. Back from a loan at Fulham in the EPL, he made a long international trip from Heathrow late in the week, but still will be in uniform on Saturday. How much will he play? What impact will he have? Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid says only that “he will play a role” and that fans should not expect a “magic man.”
It will be loud in CenturyLink Field Saturday as a boisterous Seattle crowd looks to create a home pitch advantage for the Sounders. The hosts have had the upper hand of late in the regular season and the last contest, in Kansas City, went down to the wire. Soccer fans should be in for a treat.