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Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

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Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

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Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.

Sporting First: Sporting KC adds Meghan Cameron to technical staff

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Sporting Kansas City achieved an MLS first on Friday.

The club announced that it has hired Meghan Cameron to the team’s technical staff as the assistant director of player personnel. Although it’s hard to believe, Cameron is the first woman hired to an MLS team’s technical staff.

[MORE: As it happened: The 2018 World Cup draw]

“As we were looking for candidates to become our Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Meghan was at the top of the list because we have had great experiences working with her for the last several years in MLS,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “She has a rich soccer background and excellent knowledge of the rules around player contracts, salary cap intricacies and player acquisition mechanisms within the League. Meghan’s skillset makes her a perfect addition to the club, and we look forward to her excelling in this capacity.”

Cameron comes from the MLS league office in New York, where she most recently had the title of senior manager, player relations. Cameron’s new roll will have her working with Sporting KC director of player personnell Brian Bliss in roster and budget management along with a scouting and player development role with the first team, Swope Park Rangers and the Sporting KC academy.

“In working at the League Office, Kansas City has always struck me as a great city with terrific supporters and a tremendous MLS organization,” Cameron said. “I feel my knowledge of the League’s contracts and rules allows me to bring a unique and long-term perspective of rosters and budgets. I am excited to work with Peter and the rest of the technical staff to continue to grow the success of Sporting KC.”

With the wealth of talented female players and staff across the country in soccer circles, hopefully Cameron is just the first of many appointments in the future, including potentially a female head coach.

Tim Melia wins MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in a landslide

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What was thought to be a close race for Major League Soccer’s top goalkeeper award turned out to be an overwhelming victory.

Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia took more than 50 percent of the combined media, club and player vote as he earned 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors. The 31-year-old, in his best season as a professional to this point, set career highs in wins (12), shutouts (10), saves (91), minutes (2,759) and games started (31).

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While the Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake and Seattle Sounders’ Stefan Frei each had superb seasons for their clubs, Melia was head and shoulders the best goalkeeper in the league this season, making saves in key times to help lead Sporting Kansas City to the MLS Cup playoffs and a U.S. Open Cup title.

Here’s a look below at how the voting panned out across all the nominees.

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Player Vote % Club Vote % Media Vote % Average %
Tim Melia (SKC) 46.12% 48.81% 55.95% 50.29%
Andre Blake (PHI) 15.51% 7.14% 7.74% 10.13%
Stefan Frei (SEA) 4.49% 7.14% 13.10% 8.24%
Alex Bono (TOR) 2.86% 5.95% 4.17% 4.33%
Sean Johnson (NYC) 2.86% 4.76% 5.36% 4.33%
Brad Guzan (ATL) 3.67% 2.38% 1.79% 2.61%

MLS: Timbers beat Whitecaps to top West; RSL out, SKC fall to 5th

Photo credit: Portland Timbers / Twitter
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Portland Timbers 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

The standings: Timbers clinch the West’s 1-seed; Whitecaps fall to West’s 3-seed

The game: For the entirety of the regular season, no one wanted to finish top of the Western Conference. That lasted until the final day of the season, as the Vancouver Whitecaps, who sat atop the West for the last two months, lost 2-1 to the Portland Timbers and fell all the way to the 3-seed (and the knockout round) on the back of the Seattle Sounders’ 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. Kendall Waston put the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark, but Liam Ridgewell quickly equalized and Darren Mattocks came back to bite his old team with the game-winning goal in the 48th minute.

[ MORE: MLS at Week 34 — it all comes down to this ]

The goals

29′ — Waston heads home from a free kick for 1-0 — Waston has had himself a pretty good month or so, turning into a regular goalscorer for Vancouver and helping Costa Rica clinch their place at the 2018 World Cup.

32′ — Ridgewell responds quickly, and it’s 1-1 — The initial shot was saved by David Ousted, but the rebound didn’t fall very far and Ridgewell was quick to pounce.

48′ — Mattocks beats his former club, makes it 2-1 — Vytautas Andriuskevicius (Vytas) cut the ball back for Mattocks, and the Jamaican picked out the 40 square inches that weren’t completely obscured at the near post.

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Man of the match: Darren Mattocks

Goalscorers: Waston (29′), Ridgewell (32′), Mattocks (48′)


Real Salt Lake 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

The standings: Sporting KC clinch the West’s 5-seed; RSL finish 8th in the West

The game: On the bright side, RSL’s revival, which began after three games when Jeff Cassar was fired and Mike Petke was named the new boss, is complete. On the not-so-bright side, so is their season. Petke galvanized a young RSL side over the course of six months and turned them into legitimate playoff contenders, only to come up short on the final day of the regular season. Luis Silva and Brooks Lennon each bagged a goal in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Sporting KC. Speaking of not-so-bright sides, Sporting’s regular season ends with three losses and two draws from their final five games. In that span, they went from competing for the West’s no. 1 spot, to something of an afterthought with a trip to the Houston Dynamo in the knockout round on tap.

[ MORE: MLS at Week 34 — it all comes down to this ]

The goals

3′ — Silva slots past Dykstra for 1-0 — You could count the number of major mistakes made by Ike Opara this season on one hand, even after this early blunder.

41′ — Lennon gets two chances, makes it 2-0 — Silva drew the attention of four defenders and managed to move the ball wide to Lennon. Andrew Dykstra did well enough to make the initial save, but the rebound fell right back to Lennon, who left no doubt about it with his follow-up.

89′ — Opara heads home a free kick to the near post — Graham Zusi’s free kick was low and where only Opara could get to it. Opara’s header was low and where Nick Rimando couldn’t get to it.

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Man of the match: Nick Rimando

Goalscorers: Silva (3′), Lennon (41′), Opara (89′)

MLS Snapshot: Wasteful again, SKC drop more points at home

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): It’s been a rough few weeks for Sporting Kansas City since lifting the U.S. Open Cup here at Children’s Mercy Park on Sept. 20. Peter Vermes’ side has won just one of five league games following Sunday’s scoreless draw against their old late-season foes, the Houston Dynamo. In frustratingly familiar fashion, Sunday’s stalemate saw Sporting KC enjoy 69 percent of the game’s possession, attempt 24 shots on the night, put just six on target, and fail to find the back of the net. Graham Zusi (twice) and Diego Rubio went closest for the two sides, but came up with nothing more than woodwork. With the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders each winning big on Sunday, Sporting slip to fourth in the Western Conference. The point does, however, clinch a seventh straight playoff appearance for Sporting, and signal a return to the postseason for Houston.

[ MORE: MLS at Week 33 — all about playoff places, positioning ]

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Zusi blasts off from distance, and goes just wide — Having made the full-time switch to right back this season, Zusi is in danger of his first goal-less season since 2009, his rookie year. He nearly get off the mark early in the first half.

34′ — Zusi smashes the crossbar with a free kick — The weight of goal-lessness upon him, Zusi goes even closer.

76′ — Rubio hits the crossbar from distance — Rubio went closest in the second half, as his shot caromed off the crossbar and should have resulted in a corner kick for Sporting.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tyler Deric

Goalscorers: None