By: Salvatore Sesti
May 29, 2021
Sunflower State FC UPSL Spring Mid-Season Review
Where are We Now?
Sunflower State FC currently sit in 2nd place in the Midwest South Premier Division
How Did We Get Here?
Sunflower State FC (SSFC) opened the season with a 5-3 win against Inter Wichita FC. The game was exciting, but one could tell both teams were knocking off some rust from the offseason and were working on becoming familiar with their teammates. The second game was a 2-2 tie at home against Sporting Wichita SC, where the team looked more organized but allowed a goal in the 90th min for the tie. The third game was our first away game of the season against Des Moines United FC. SSFC allowed goals in the opening minute and the last minute for our first loss of the season 1-2. The last game before the break was against fellow Kansas City club, Barilleros FC. It was an important 5-0 win at the Olathe District Athletic Center.
The Attack – SSFC leads the division with goals having scored 13 so far this season. Forward Girma Kassa, who has been the MVP so far this season, has really improved his outdoor game compared to last year. Kassa has been more composed on the ball and lethal when in the opposition’s box. He leads the team with 6 goals so far this season but has also created chances for teammates as well. He is followed closely by player -coach Nick McDonald. McDonald picked up where he left off last summer, scoring 4 goals so far this spring. He has had a knack for getting behind the defense and causing headaches for other teams through the halfway point of the UPSL season.
Home Support – For our first two home games we had many fans show up to Mill Valley High school to support us. It was amazing seeing so many fans come out and show Sunflower State some love. Even in the second game, where the temperature was in the low 50s and cloudy, fans continued to show up! We cannot thank you all enough and hope to see you again soon. Our next home game will be played at Rockhurst University against Barilleros.
Address:1336-1338 E 53rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
Fitness – Fitness has been a constant struggle for SSFC. “The team is 5 minutes away from 12 points and being first in the division.” Coach McDonald said. The two 90th minute goals from opposing teams have plagued Sunflower State so far this year. Sporting Wichita and Des Moines United were able to pick up the intensity in the final 5-10 minutes of the game and SSFC did not have enough gas in the tank to match. UPSL rules allow seven substitutions per game, however, once a player is subbed off, he is unable to return to the field. Many of our players are still used to college, youth, or indoor rules where players are allowed to sub back in. SSFC have also been hurt with injuries this year — too many players picking up strains, sprains, or contusions during games or practice.
Missed opportunities – There has been a failure to capitalize on too many chances this year. Those 13 goals could easily be 20. A missed penalty, open net, 1 v 1 with the keeper, shots going over the bar in the 6-yard box, and shots directly at a stationary goalkeeper have held Sunflower State back this year. The team is going to need to take advantage of those moments in games if they have a hope of finishing at the top of the division.
Second Half Preview
Barilleros FC – Following the mid-season break Sunflower State will take on Barilleros in a rematch at Rockhurst University on 06/05. The game will be played at Rockhurst University’s Bourke Field located at 1336-1338 E 53rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110.
The game is a double header. If you come early, you can catch the KC Courage play at 4:00 PM CST against the St. Louis Scott-Gallager Women’s team in their UWS regular season play. Assistant coach, and Youth R.I.S.E director Dr. Anne Murphy will be playing in that game then will turn around and manage SSFC for their game.
The game will start at 6:15PM CST, it will be streamed on my.cujoo.tv/sunflowerstatefc
@Inter Wichita – Inter Wichita has yet to win a game this season but has shown improvement with a tie against fellow Wichita team Sporting. They have several young players that are beginning to gel together and will be more dangerous in the second half of the season.
@Sporting Wichita – After a promising opening tie against SSFC, Sporting Wichita followed it up with a loss to Barilleros and a tie against Inter. They play the style all Sporting affiliates do with the 4-3-3 and will be difficult to play against.
@Des Moines United – the undefeated table- toppers make their way to Kansas City for the last game of the regular season. This game will likely decide who is moving on to post season play. It is our last home game of the Summer Season so we will need all of our fans support to propel us into the national Tournament.
Other Upcoming Events
SSFC Juniors Summer Camp
Bring your young athlete out to Richardson Elementary in Lee's Summit every Tuesday this June for some soccer fun with Sunflower State FC! An hour with friends on the field each week with professional coaching from the Sunflower State FC staff and players! T-Shirt and swag bag included!