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Season 2011-12
Sporting Kansas (a) Friendly


Wednesday 20th July 2011,
7.30pm (local) 01.30 (BST)

 Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.

incredibly hot - 99 degrees Farenheit (37 degrees Celsius) at kick-off

Admission: $20 and upwards



 Sporting Kansas

Newcastle United

0 - 0




Half time: Kansas 0 Newcastle 0

Full time: Kansas 0 Newcastle 0

We Said

A club statement read:

"Hatem Ben Arfa sustained an injury to his left ankle in a tackle during the club's friendly against Sporting Kansas on Wednesday evening and went to a local hospital for a precautionary X-ray.

"Consequently he will be leaving the club's US tour tomorrow and the injury will be reassessed over the next 48 hours."

Alan Pardew said after the game:

"The stadium is absolutely top-drawer. Coming from our league, I can attest that this would easily be in the top amongst stadiums in our league. It was really, really hot. It's probably hard to understand if you are sitting at home in Newcastle just how hot it was. The impact on us was that it made us look a little bit lethargic and heavy-legged.

"We have worked them hard this week, but the opposition were good opposition, and therefore it was a decent result for us.

"I was pleased we got the clean sheet. We obviously lacked sharpness in and around the box, that was pretty evident. Overall, I am very, very pleased. The quality of the opposition did not surprise me because I had John Carver who's managed in the MLS. So we were very familiar with the standard, but I think it surprised one or two of my players.

"No matter what you say to players they can't sometimes accept that their playing on an even playing field. There was a bit of shock in certain areas but for us it was a great workout."

"Jose (Enrique) got a knock in training yesterday - there is nothing suspicious about that. He has a hamstring knock – he’s suffered with his hamstring before. (Sylvain) Marveaux hasn’t played for 10 months, but he showed good quality and was unlucky not to score.

"Demba (Ba) looked a bit ring-rusty, but he is a big guy and his sharpness will come later. He is a diligent worker, but the quality he has he didn’t show last night. We’ve seen him before so it will come.”

"Mehdi (Abeid) has a lot to learn and is in the process of learning the Premier League. He got caught in possession, but he has quality there. He will get more chances."

"Hatem (Ben Arfa) is going to have a few demons from that injury he had last year. I am hoping he's okay. We took him off as a precaution - he was a bit shocked by the challenge, I think - but we think he will be okay."

They Said

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said:

"For us I think it was pretty simple- these exhibitions like this where we get the opportunity to play against such a storied club as Newcastle is tremendous for our team. Although neither team scored any goals which would have been great for the crowd and the atmosphere. I thought there was some good soccer out there. Definitely some glimpses from both teams at times. Obviously they are in their pre-season and we played a split squad in both halves.

"Kevin Ellis, getting the chance to play 30 minutes, and Soony Saad, those types of guys getting experience playing games is tremendous for us. All-in-all it was a great match for us, especially mid-week. It’s great competition, and another game for us to measure ourselves.

"Jéferson is what we expected him to be. He is definitely a number ten, he's a guy that wants the ball, very confident, still needs to understand a little bit of how we play and some of the guys. He's only been here two days, he's trained with us twice.

"I think he'll fit in well, he's going to give us a push here in the second half of the season. I think he can not only grow with us but take us to another level in the way that he sees the game and can give the final pass - I think in our league he's going to be a special player.

"We hope to make this a strong club, not only in the MLS, but also internationally.

"I thought the stadium atmosphere was good. Sometimes you have to take into consideration that MLS is different because you play through the summer months. The heat becomes such a major factor in the game, and both teams have to deal with it no matter what. 

"It really doesn’t matter how fit you are, it has to do with how well you manage the game, how well you manage the ball and the possession of it. We’re continuing to grow as a team, and I think we’re getting better."


First public sightings of Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux in a Newcastle shirt.

This was Newcastle's first game in the USA since a 2-2 draw at Columbus Crew in July 2000. United's sole survivor from that game was unused substitute Steve Harper (although at the club, Shola wasn't on the 2000 US tour) 



United got their three match tour of the USA underway without any away fan antics - but further injury concerns for manager Alan Pardew. Already deprived of the services of Dan Gosling for half of the opening quarter of an hour after he left the field for treatment to a facial wound, Hatem Ben Arfa then departed on a stretcher just after the half hour mark.

Pardew confirmed post-match that the French midfielder had gone for a precautionary X-ray but that he believed Ben Arfa was OK and his Stateside tour wasn't over. However that was quickly rendered overly optimistic by news that the player was flying back to Paris for medical tests.

After another day of sweltering temperatures in Kansas, an evening kickoff at the recently -inaugurated LiveStrong Stadium gave only partial relief, players taking on water regularly and many fans sampling the half dozen different draught beers on sale within the stadium.  

United used 16 outfield players over the course of the game and gave debuts to Demba Ba (deployed as a sole striker with Ben Arfa behind and then later alongside Ameobi) and Sylvain Marveaux on the right wing.

Jose Enrique however wasn't involved (apparently nursing a sore hamstring), Jonas Gutierrez reprising his World Cup cameo at left back before pushing forward when James Tavernier made a half time entrance.

With Coloccini and Steven Taylor in central defence, Ryan Taylor appeared at right back until he pushed into midfield following the appearance of Danny Simpson on the hour. Tim Krul completed the full 90 minutes, with Steve Harper and Fraser Forster our only unused substitutes.

The home side were appealing in vain for a penalty as early as the fourth minute when Gutierrez barely made contact with his opponent in the box. At the other end meanwhile good interplay between Peter Lovenkrands and Ben Arfa led to the latter bursting into the area after nine minutes only to over-run the ball and take it over the byline before shooting against the post. 

Similar combination play on 21 minutes between Marveaux and Gutierrez then ended with the French debutant driving the ball across the KC six yard box. Chances continued to appear during the first half, but neither side were able to test the opposing 'keeper and one booking per side followed for what would be considered routine challenges in England - Cheick Tiote inevitably seeing yellow. 

A clutch of changes in the second half saw the action become more piecemeal, 18 year-old forward Soony Saad announcing his arrival just after the hour mark by forcing Krul into action.

Ryan Taylor then fired a 78th minute free-kick narrowly wide before our best chance fell to Danny Simpson with six minutes remaining, ghosting in from the right and meeting a low Gutierrez centre first time. Sadly, the Toon defender could only direct his shot at Eric Kronberg who blocked well. 

KC's shooting had also left much to be desired, with Sapong finding the target late on, but Krul looking to make the most of what was a unremarkable save.

Another step on the road towards August 13th then, but visa restrictions and concerns over squad strength have diminished the impact of this tour in terms of establishing anything like a settled XI. Seeing Barton and Cabaye with the stiffs and Smith playing here tells its own story. 

At present this team looks like a mix and match affair - which is what pre-season is all about - but with injury worries never far away and ongoing uncertainty about further departures and arrivals.


Page last updated 20 July, 2012