This Week in Sporting - Feb. 28, 2020

This Week in Sporting presented by The Smile Generation: July 13, 2020

"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.

1. Sting in the Tale

Sporting Kansas City (2-1-0, 6 points) surrendered a late lead in a 2-1 defeat to Minnesota United FC (3-0-0, 9 points) on Sunday in the club’s MLS is Back Tournament opener at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World. Forward Khiry Shelton fired Sporting ahead on the cusp of halftime, but the Loons struck twice in second-half stoppage time with an own goal and a last-gasp winner from Kevin Molino after goalkeeper Tim Melia received a red card in the 74th minute to reduce Sporting to 10 men.

2. Black Players for Change

Ahead of Sunday's match in Walt Disney World, Sporting players supported the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing special warm-up tops and MLS Unites patches. Captain Matt Besler also wore a unique armband as part of the initiative.

“Taking a minute of silence to honor victims has always been a sports tradition," Sporting players said in a collective statement. "We’re taking a knee and having a minute of silence for all the victims of not just police brutality that we know and don’t know about, but also all the thousands of victims dating since the beginning of slavery.”

3. Friday Night Lights

Sporting Kansas City will look to bounce back from Sunday's loss to Minnesota when the club continues its MLS is Back Tournament group stage campaign Friday against the Colorado Rapids (2-1-0, 6 points).

Kickoff at the ESPN Wide World of Sports is slated for 7 p.m. CT with national coverage on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN app. Listeners can also catch the action locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM as Sporting takes the field for a pivotal Group D clash. Sporting KC Live presented by Michelob Ultra will provide 60 minutes of pre-match coverage Friday on FOX Sports Kansas City starting at 6 p.m. CT, while The Final Whistle postgame show will air immediately after the game on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

4. Barath Departs

Sporting announced on Saturday that the club has agreed to transfer defender Botond Barath to his former club, Budapest Honved FC, in his native Hungary. Per club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Barath, 28, joined Sporting for the 2019 season after previously spending the entirety of his professional career with his hometown club Budapest Honved FC. The Hungarian international made 21 regular season appearances for Sporting a year ago and also featured in three Concacaf Champions League fixtures.

5. Back in Action

Led by head coach and former Sporting midfielder Paulo Nagamura, Sporting Kansas City II (0-1-0, 0 points) will resume their fifth USL Championship season on Saturday against Indy Eleven (2-0-0, 6 points) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT with a live stream live on ESPN Plus and additional in-game updates on Twitter at @SportingKCII.

Sporting KC II last played on March 8, falling 2-1 to Charlotte Independence at Children's Mercy Park, before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the USL Championship to suspend play. Nagamura's side will play a reconfigured 16-game regular season, which will see the club hit the road for 14 of their final 15 fixtures between now and Oct. 3.

6. A Step Toward 2026

Representatives from the Kansas City 2026 World Cup Bid Committee completed a one-on-one presentation to members of FIFA and U.S. Soccer last Thursday as part of the next phase of the event’s venue selection process. Kansas City is one of 17 candidate host cities in the United States in consideration to host matches for the FIFA World Cup 2026. The virtual meeting was a critical step in the on-going process with final site selections expected to be announced in 2021.

7. Donate Blood to Save Lives

Sporting Kansas City has teamed up with Community Blood Center to host another urgent blood drive at 9 a.m. CT Tuesday at Children's Mercy Park. The blood drive will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT inside the Budweiser Brew House, located in the northeast corner of the stadium at the intersection of France Family Drive and Village West Parkway. Appointments are strongly encouraged and walk-ins will only be accepted as capacity safely allows. Make an appointment by clicking here or by calling 1-877-468-6844. All donors are asked to wear masks to their donation.

8. Victory Lap

Sporting Kansas City will host the second annual Victory Lap 5K Run & Walk on Friday, Oct. 23, at Children’s Mercy Park. All funds raised from the event will go directly to The Victory Project, the charitable arm of Sporting Kansas City that helps children fighting cancer and all of life’s challenges.

Registration for The Victory Lap 5K Run & Walk is open for individuals and families of all ages and includes a race T-shirt and finisher item. Participants will also be invited to a post-race party inside the Budweiser Brew House at Children’s Mercy Park and individuals aged 21 and up will receive a complimentary post-race beer.