After defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a penalty shootout following Sunday's scoreless draw, Sporting Kansas City has progressed to the MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals where a showdown with the Philadelphia Union beckons on Thursday night.
The quarterfinal encounter between two of Major League Soccer's most impressive teams at the MLS is Back Tournament will kick off at 7 p.m. CT with live coverage on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, the ESPN app, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM. Sporting KC Live presented by Michelob Ultra will provide 60 minutes of pregame coverage from 6-7 p.m. as well as a 30-minute postgame show.
Sporting finished atop Group D of the historic MLS is Back Tournament in Disney World to set up a Round of 16 clash with Vancouver. The game finished goalless despite Sporting's club record 36 shot attempts, but goalkeeper Tim Melia ensured Manager Peter Vermes' men a deserved victory with two pivotal saves in the decisive shootout. Sporting sits atop the early Western Conference regular season standings with 12 points and a 4-1-0 record.
Led by head coach Jim Curtin, Philadelphia secured its first postseason win in 2019 and has opened 2020 on a strong note, going 2-1-2 in regular season play and finishing tied atop Group A of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-0-1 record before posting a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in the Round of 16 on Saturday. The Union have conceded just twice in four games at the tournament and are seeking their first major title since joining MLS in 2010.
Unlike group stage matches, games in the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage presented by Audi will not count toward the regular season standings. Sporting and Philadelphia still have plenty to play for, however, as the tournament champion will receive a 2021 Concacaf Champions League berth and a sizable share of the $1.1 million prize pool.
Thursday's quarterfinal will serve as a notable rematch of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, which saw Sporting beat the Union on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw through regulation at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Melia was the hero of that shootout as well, making two penalty saves to help Vermes' side emerge victorious.