LIVESTRONG Sporting Park

MLS Cup will close banner 2013 for Kansas City’s Sporting Park

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Come Saturday, our attention will again shift to Kansas City, just as it did for Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game in July and the United States’ World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica in October. Add in a pair of CONCACAF Champions League matches, a full post season, and two U.S. Open Cup games and the two-year-old stadium has been the most prominent in MLS this year. Only a Cup final and some CCL knockout round action would have made it a perfect season at the park.

Not that Sporting Park needs any of that to raise its profile. Opened in July 2011, the home of the Eastern Conference champions has quietly surpassed Red Bull Arena as the most-admired facility in the league, with seeming none of its $200 million price tag going to waste. Whereas the Harrison site enjoyed one year as the object of MLS’s affection after it opening in 2010, the role Sporting Park has had in the former Kansas City Wizards’ overall rebranding has shown the power that comes with a new, well-executed venue.

Modest in size (18,467, for soccer), Sporting Park has combined the charms of something shiny and new with the character of a facility with soccer at its heart. In the process, they’ve given the Cauldron and the team’s other supporters groups a place to take root. With a packed stadium that’s become known as one of loudest in the league, it’s no mystery why Sporting Park was able to force its way into the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifier rotation.

If breaking into that cloister of preferred venues had been Sporting Park’s only noteworthy moment of 2013, this would have still been a momentous year, but showcased by Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game and the league’s title match, only greed could hope for a better year Kansas City’s venue. And on Saturday, the stadium and its fans will get a chance to close the year in style, Sporting Park having quickly become one of the flagship venues in Major League Soccer.

Celtic 3-3 Manchester City: Visitors come back thrice on wild night in Glasgow

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City battles for the ball with Nir Bitton and Scott Brown of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Celtic FC and Manchester City FC at Celtic Park on September 28, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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  • Dembele nets twice
  • Celtic led 1-0, 2-1, 3-2
  • Sterling scores for, against City
  • Fernandinho, Nolito also score

Moussa Dembele scored a brace, but Manchester City came back from a trio of deficits to draw Celtic 3-3 at Celtic Park in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

Raheem Sterling had a goal and an own goal for Man City, while Fernandinho and Nolito also netted for the visitors.

The draw means Pep Guardiola remains unbeaten at City through 11 matches in charge, but City falls behind Barcelona in Group C. City is three points ahead of third-place Celtic after two matches.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

What a start we had at Celtic Park, with four goals coming in the first 28 minutes as Brendan Rodgers‘ Scots have opened up a pair of leads.

Moussa Dembele‘s was a bit offside for his third-minute redirection of a Erik Sviatchenko attempt, but Celtic had its surprise 1-0 lead nonetheless.

Fernandinho leveled things for Man City when he in the right place at the right time to turn a low left-footer home for 1-1.

It was then Sterling’s turn, as he first deflected Kieran Tierney’s cross into his own goal before scoring a goal of his own eight minutes later.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Celtic found a third lead through Dembele, and this one was onside and deliberate. Aleksandar Kolarov made a horrible attempt at a trap, and Dembele trapped, turned, and fired by Claudio Bravo to make it 3-2.

Believe it or not, there were stops in this one, too. Craig Gordon dove left to parry a good free kick from Ilkay Gundogan. Gordon then made a solid palm save on Aguero before Nolito found the rebound and deposited into the gaping goal.

It would be wrong to say Celtic looked a threat to retake the lead, but the Bhoys were resolute at the back to keep things 3-3. Gordon stopped Gundogan just into stoppage time.

Man City now turns its attention to Sunday’s Premier League showdown with second-place Spurs. City next faces Barcelona on Oct. 19 in the Champions League.

UCL AT HALF: Man City, Celtic in thriller; Walcott driving Arsenal

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  David Silva of Manchester City runs with the ball uner pressure from Nir Bitton of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Celtic FC and Manchester City FC at Celtic Park on September 28, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
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The goals have been flying in around Europe, as the UEFA Champions League treks on through the group stage with an octet of Wednesday games.

[ LIVE: UCL scores ]

Celtic 2-2 Manchester City

The Scots have opened up a pair of leads through Moussa Dembele‘s third-minute redirection of a Erik Sviatchenko attempt and a Raheem Sterling own goal, but Fernandinho has one for City and Sterling made amends with a goal of his own to level things in a thriller at Celtic Park.

Arsenal 2-0 Basel

A Theo Walcott brace has the Gunners rolling at the Emirates in a match which pits Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka against older brother Taulant Xhaka.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 Barcelona

Well, well, well… the middle Hazard brother, Thorgan, had staked the German hosts to a 1-0 lead over Lionel Messi-less Barcelona with his 34th minute tally.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

Yannick Carrasco has the hosts up at the Vicente Calderon, on a nice shot to boot.

Elsewhere
Ludogorets Razgrad 1-1 PSG — Matuidi nabs equalizer
Napoli 1-0 Benfica — Hamsik scores for hosts
Besiktas 1-0 Dynamo Kyiv — Quaresma the scorer
FC Rostov 2-2 PSV Eindhoven — Two for Dmitri Poloz

LIVE, UCL group stage: Celtic-Man City, Arsenal-Basel, Atletico-Bayern

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City is congratulated by Josep Guardiola manager of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City FC and VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach at Etihad Stadium on September 14, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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We have another packed slate of UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday as Groups A through D are in action across Europe.

[ LIVE: UCL scores ]

Manchester City head to Celtic and Pep Guardiola‘s boy can expect a cauldron of noise at Celtic Park, while Arsenal host Basel at the Emirates. Elsewhere a mouthwatering clashing takes place in the Spanish capital where Atletico Madrid host German giants Bayern Munich.

City will be hoping to avoid an upset ahead of their next two UCL games against Pep’s old side, Barcelona, while Arsene Wenger will look to build on Arsenal’s solid draw away at PSG in their Group A opener two weeks ago.

All matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, and you can follow all the action live as it happens by clicking on the link above.

Wednesday UCL schedule

Celtic vs. Manchester City
Arsenal vs. Basel
Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Barcelona
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Napoli vs. Benfica
Besiktas vs. Dynamo Kyiv
FC Rostov vs. PSV Eindhoven

Men In Blazers podcast: Arsene Wenger on 20 years at Arsenal

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Roger Bennett
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Rog talks with Arsene Wenger about his 20 years as manager of Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League’s changing landscape, and what motivates him to continue.

Rog’s film, “Inside the Mind of Arsene Wenger,” airs on NBCSN Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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