Monday, March 26, 2012

Exciting times

Morning all

Sporting KC find themselves 3-0-0 for the first time for 6 years and top of the MLS pile with 9 points. Such a solid start for Sporting and again a deserved victory over FC Dallas yesterday evening. We'll get to that in a second....

During the week, it was much of the same pre producing of the radio show, voice overs and research for me during the week as well as giving an interview or 2. Switching from both the front office downtown and LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for working duties once again which to be honest I really don't mind. Lots of fun characters in both buildings.

It was quite nice to see Kansas City on a Friday night this week also. Can't recall the last time that happened or indeed if it ever had before! It was lovely to head downtown for a night out with some of the sales guys and the usual characters such as Justin and Dan (@the_doubledown) and meet some new people, kind of. We even had an appearance from Mr. Stylish himself, Josh Whisenhunt (@joshwhisenhunt)! Really enjoyed that night out. Saturday was possibly the most laziest day i've had since I got back to KC. I lay in bed listening to BBC Radio 5Live's coverage of the EPL and managed to catch Columbus Crew - Montreal Impact a bits of Toronto FC - San Jose Earthquakes on MLS Live. Another excellent call by Luke Wileman (@lukewileman) up in Toronto by the way, give him a follow, 1 of the best announcers in MLS.

So, to our game on Sunday, I thought FC Dallas did very well defensively but also in spurts looked very dangerous going forward. George John marked CJ Sapong superbly, I think John had 1 of the better defensive displays i've seen in a while yesterday. Ricardo Villar I find very easy on the eye when he's in the kind of form he is at the moment. I think I described his goal as 'vintage' as he hit the net and its safe to say it really was a wonderful strike. For me the timing of Sportings equalizer was key. Jake (@jakeyadrich) mentioned the word momentum on the call and I think if any team gets a goal on the stroke of half time, they go in at the half way point full of momentum. In the first half Sporting seemed to struggle to find a way through the FC Dallas back line, but in the 2nd half, with momentum behind them, they looked a lot more confident and seemed more adventurous as well. Kamara was denied a 2nd of the season thank to a fantastic save from Hartman from the penalty spot, but he got his just rewards in the end and I think Kevin Hartman may want to look at his positioning for that goal.

All in all, another busy week in MLS. Don't forget we have the Olympic qualifiers on Saturday March 31st and Monday 2nd April at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, hopefully the USA will be competing! We're on MLS duties once again this coming weekend, looking forward to our trip to the Home Depot Center, I always feel like i'm on a movie set strutting through the streets of Los Angeles. I think Sporting KC have a good chance of snatching all 3 points at Chivas USA, but remember, they did just beat Real Salt Lake at 'fortress' Rio Tinto stadium. Also as an Aston Villa fan it always nice to see Juan Pablo Angel playing also. Could be a good contest, I wonder if our old friend Ryan Smith will make an appearance? Who knows!

Jake and I will have the call on KSMO - TV. We get underway at 7.30pm CT for the pre game show. We also have the regular slot on 610 Sports Radio on Thursday evening from 7-8pm CT, hoping to have a Chivas USA guest confirmed later today.

Tune in on Thursday and see you all on Sunday from LA.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Home comings

Hello everybody

Hope all is well

What a first few weeks this has been in MLS for Sporting KC. 2 wins from 2, both arguably as impressive as each other. The DC United game was a great result. I've said before, I don't think many teams will go to RFK Stadium and get all 3 points this season. Jake and I spoke about it on the 610 radio show, but I was extremely impressed with Roger Espinoza and once again on Saturday he really looked in the mood.

So let me take you back a few weeks (sorry i've not done 1 of these for a while) to when we arrived at RFK stadium. After a brief but yet exciting tour of the White House, I met to boys in the TV truck outside the stadium. We had a lot to discuss with it being our first show of the year, but once again Jake's (@jakeyadrich) pre production of the show was impeccable and made things a lot easier. I think its clear that Sporting dominated the game and many of us would have been disappointed had we not have taken all 3 points, despite saying before the game we'd of been happy with 1 point. As most of you may have heard, I lost it a little when the ball hit the net, but what a moment that was! However, I was a little frustrated with myself after the call. It was a decent call, but I missed the chance to make it a GREAT call, by not inserting the appropriate information. By the time i'd realized that, it was to late, but either way, it was a fantastic moment for Sporting KC. I could certainly get used to last minute winners! Also, with all due respect, we were happy we don't have to go back to RFK again this season. DC United are in desperate need of a new stadium. I hope they get it.

On we went to week 2 of MLS 2012 and the attentions were turned to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and the 2012 home opener. Once again, lots of pre production was needed with it being our first home broadcast, but for me, I concentrated on the radio pre production as we were told we'd have 2 shows this week. I have to say I enjoyed the reserve game on Tuesday evening at the stadium. So many fans turned out for the reserve game and to see the players signing autographs after, it was a really good event.
However, on Saturday evening, the main event arrived. The first MLS game at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for 132 days!! Jake and I were set up in our new pre game area (on the half way line, by the tunnel) and despite a few problems, I think it worked quite nicely. The 1 thing that did make me laugh was the fact that it was so loud in the stadium thanks to the fans, there were moments when Jake and I struggled to hear our producer, Rudy. We've got a couple more ideas in terms of pre game this year, so keep your eyes pealed. The atmosphere, the occasion, the score line, just everything was perfect about the game on Saturday night. The fans once again were exceptional.  I really do get a sense of pride when I see the Cauldron on a game day doing what they do, they're the most committed fans in MLS and I do feel very very lucky to be their announcer; we're very lucky to have the Cauldron. Amongst all the madness, its all about them and the fans of Sporting KC. For Jake and I, we thought the broadcast went well, although we still have to discuss several things for next week's home game vs FC Dallas. After the 3-0 win over a very poor New England Revolution side, it was lovely to go and join in the celebrations with the fans at the members club and then head on out to enjoy the remainder of St. Patrick day.

Sunday was lovely. Nice and chilled out, the boys and I got the fire pit going and we decided to go local and cook a HUGE steak. We smoked it and pasted it in BBQ sauce and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous!! So much so, we may even do it again this week. Can't wait for Sunday evening, see you all there.

Until next time guys....



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Things are about to get a little more exciting

Evening all

So, my first blog post of 2012....... here it goes.

I sit here writing this in my room of the house i'll be staying in for the rest of the year. The same place I spent last year (when we weren't slogging it in a hotel half way across the country). I also sit here with lots of thoughts going round and round in my head. I remember this time last year, i'd not long got my work visa sorted out after a trip down to the Embassy in London. Kansas City was completely alien to me at that time, i'd always travelled to cover games in England, but this was something else! I remember being slightly nervous, but very exited as I was about to embark on the biggest adventure of my life thus far. I remember speak with my best friend, Carl, on my final day in England and it hitting us both. He said 'this is really happening isn't it?' in a confused manor. After a tearful goodbye to my loved ones at the airport I felt an over sensing feeling of excitement but nervs as well. I had no idea about Kansas City, I had no idea how friendly people were going to be, had no real idea of how good the TV broadcasts would be, I had no idea i'd make some of the best friends i've ever made. At the time, it was a huge risk and many questioned why I would leave everything i'd ever worked for and knew all behind. It just so happened that the risk was well worth taking and my love for this country, this city, its people and soccer in the USA has grown day by day. Last year was an amazing year and according to most, this year is going to be even better!

I remember departing KC to head home and it was funny, because I had recognizable feelings. I had to have a giggle to myself about it. I thought of all the people i'd miss, all the people I care about in KC and thought for a second 'hold up, i recognize this feeling'. Never the less it was great to head back home for the off season. I got to spend a lot of time with the people I care about back in England and have a good old catch up. It was very rewarding to be able to recharge to batteries and spend some quality time with family and friends over Christmas and New Year. Can I share a secret with you though......... if i'm honest, I could have come back a month earlier! When I saw the wonderful coverage on (which our Sporting KC TV crew produced) of the Combine and the Superdraft, I really wanted to be there. I suppose being back in England I always felt as though there was something missing, I think that thing was a mixture of Kansas City and Sporting KC, because I wasn't involved in the day to day TV stuff. I only worked once when I was back in England for ITV's FA Cup coverage. I could have done more but I didn't want to miss out on opportunities to see people who I knew I probably won't see until December this year. Either way, I had a great time back in England, I really look forward to going back, but right now, there's work to be done :)

I can not express how excited is was to come back to Kansas City and get our season underway. It meant I got to see some people I deeply care about once again, but it also meant the season wasn't to far away from starting up again.

I have to admit, pre season in England is completely different to pre season in the USA. Not saying I didn't enjoy it back home, but I really did enjoy being surrounded and speaking to so many people involved with Major League Soccer. I spoke to so many players, coaches, fans, scouts and fellow broadcasters. It certainly further backed up many people's view that MLS is one big family. The set up was very good down in Orlando, we had mixed weather but mostly glorious sunshine throughout. Our production set up was once again very very good for a live stream (once again produced by the Sporting KC TV team, @abnerha, @the_doubledown, @ctwyche and Craig who isn't on twitter!!). The boys from were also helping out with the camera's whilst Jon Yardley (@jtyardley), Simon Borg (@simonborg), Jake Yadrich (@jakeyadrich) and I would handle play by play duties. It was great to speak with so many people and get that first hand opinion on players..... "no chance, he's still 2 weeks away from being fit", "he is a bit of a loose cannon, but a great player", "ye we took a good luck at him before they took him". I love being involved in that sort of conversation with the coaches and scouts and get it first hand from them. Not going to lie, I love soccer gossip!! Another lad who loves a bit of gossip and is always good company, Mr big time himself Arlo White. I remember going through my notes an hour or so before the 2nd evening and heard a shout of "oi, oi" (typical English greeting). I had a good chat with Arlo that night about the whole NBC broadcasts and their set up for MLS this year, all i'll say is, its going to blow you away!! Spoke several times with Arlo throughout the trip in Orlando and also had a good chat with some of the lads from Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps. The voice of MLS on TSN, Luke Wileman and I get on quite well and once again, both being ex BBC boys we often have plenty to talk about, this trip was no different. Also did an interview with Pete Schaad, the voice of Vancouver Whitecaps for his radio show and in return he came on mine for a chat as well (1 big family).

For those of you worried about Sporting KC's performances/results down in Orlando, its simple, don't. Its only pre season and the players looked fit and even though they didn't win, to my knowledge the coaching staff got what they wanted from that trip. Evaluation and fitness were the keys, mission accomplished.

So I write this to you on the eve of the first week of 'First Kick 2012' and i'm chomping at the bit to get going (i recognize this feeling). Last year was incredible, anybody fancy doing it all again?

See you on Saturday from RFK Stadium ;-)