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Two Sporting KC Players Set for International Duty

September 16, 2022 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City News Release


Sporting Kansas City winger Marinos Tzionis and defender Logan Ndenbe have been selected to represent their respective countries during the FIFA international window next week.

Tzionis will join the Cyprus Men's National Team for the resumption of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League, while Ndenbe will link up with the Belgium U-21s for friendlies against rivals Netherlands and France. Both players will travel to Europe after Sporting's home match against Minnesota United FC at 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday (tickets) and will return ahead of the club's following game against Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 2 at Children's Mercy Park.

Tzionis and Cyprus will host nearby rivals Greece on Sept. 24 and travel to face Kosovo on Sept. 27 in the team's final two group stage matches in UEFA Nations League C. As the winners of Group C2, Greece has already sealed promotion to UEFA Nations League B for the 2024-25 edition of the tournament, while Cyprus must climb out of last place in the four-team group to avoid a relegation play-out series in March 2023.

Cyprus Schedule: 2022-23 UEFA Nations League C

Saturday, Sept. 24 vs. Greece | 1:45 p.m. CT | AEK Arena in Larnaca, Cyprus

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Kosovo | 1:45 p.m. CT | Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Pristina, Kosovo

An integral member of the Cyprus national team, Tzionis appeared in his country's first four UEFA Nations League fixtures earlier this summer, including a pair of well-earned draws against Northern Ireland on June 5 and 12. The 21-year-old has collected 18 caps at the senior international level, with five of those appearances coming in 2022 as a member of Sporting.

Tzionis opened his Cyprus scoring account with a stunning strike to spark a 2-0 victory over Estonia on March 29 in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League play-outs, booking the Cypriots a spot in League C for the 2022-23 competition. He then tallied an assist in a 2-2 road stalemate at Northern Ireland on June 12, which kept both sides level with two points apiece and occupying third and fourth place in Group C2.

Acquired by Sporting in a transfer from Cypriot club Omonia Nicosia in February, Tzionis has tallied two goals in 28 appearances across all competitions during his debut campaign in Kansas City. He opened his account with a pivotal 98th-minute equalizer in what became a 4-2 extra-time win over FC Dallas in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 at Children's Mercy Park, glancing home a last-gasp header to make the score 2-2. He bagged his maiden MLS goal four days later in a road loss to the Portland Timbers.

Tzionis previously represented Cyprus at the U-17 and U-19 youth levels-featuring in qualifying competitions for the European U-17 Championship in 2018 and the European U-19 Championship in 2019-before breaking into the senior national team in September 2020. In the two months that followed, he made five starts and six total appearances in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League as the Cypriots finished with a 1-4-1 record. Tzionis started four of six appearances in FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifying over the course of 2021.

Tzionis joined Sporting earlier this year after a strong stint at hometown club Omonia Nicosia, where he scored 15 goals in 88 appearances from 2018 until his departure for Kansas City. During his time with Omonia, he won a Cypriot First Division title and featured in 18 matches across Europe's three most prestigious club tournaments: the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

Ndenbe and Belgium will host the Netherlands U-21s on Sept. 23 at Den Dreef Stadium in Leuven. Three days later, head coach Jacky Mathijssen's side will travel to face the France U-21s at Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes.

Belgium U-21 Schedule: International Friendlies

Friday, Sept. 23 vs. Netherlands U-21 | 10:30 a.m. CT | Leuven, Belgium

Monday, Sept. 26 vs. France U-21 | 2 p.m. CT | Valenciennes, France

A talented left back who signed for Sporting in January, Ndenbe most recently represented the Belgium U-21s in March when he helped the team to a 1-1 road draw against Denmark. The result effectively punched Belgium's ticket to the 2023 UEFA Under-21 Championship, which will take place next summer from June 21 to July 8 in Romania and Georgia. Ndenbe featured in six of Belgium's eight qualifying matches, starting four, as the country finished unbeaten in Group I with a 6-0-2 record and sealed a return to the UEFA Under-21 Championship after failing to qualify for the 2021 edition.

September's friendly matches will serve as ample preparation for Belgium in its march to the 2023 UEFA Under-21 Championship, which will consist of 16 countries from across the continent. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2000, will be eligible to participate in the tournament, making the 22-year-old Ndenbe-born in February 2000-a strong candidate to compete in the biennial event.

Ndenbe has started 20 of 25 appearances for Sporting in all competitions during his debut MLS campaign in 2022, including starts in 19 of 22 league games. The left back has logged over 1,800 minutes in defense, tallied one assist, contributed to five shutouts and created 13 scoring chances in MLS play.

Born in Mouscron along Belgium's border with France, Ndenbe joined Sporting after spending his first five professional seasons with Belgian top-flight side KV Oostende and French club Guingamp. He has made nearly 50 professional appearances since 2017.

Ndenbe began his youth international career by playing eight matches for the Belgium U-17s in 2017, including starts in three qualifiers for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in March of that year. He then jumped to the Belgian U-18 squad, where he made four friendly appearances from November 2017 to March 2018.


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