"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. Melia Magic
Sporting Kansas City advanced to the MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals on Sunday night with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC following a scoreless draw at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World.
A one-sided contest saw Sporting outshoot Vancouver 36-8 through 90 minutes, setting a club record for most shot attempts in an MLS match, but Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal made eight saves as the Canadian side forced penalty kicks to decide the Round of 16 encounter. The shootout, however, belonged to Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia, who saved two penalties as Sporting prevailed 3-1 with successful spot kicks from Alan Pulido, Ilie Sanchez and Gianluca Busio.
2. Philly Awaits
Having escaped Vancouver, 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 broadcasts 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 on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus and FOX Sports GO.
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 Manager Peter Vermes' side emerge victorious.
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.
3. Busio's Sporting Diaries
Presented by your local Audi dealers, “Sporting Diaries” is a feature series that offers behind-the-scenes glimpses at Sporting's stay in Disney World during the MLS is Back Tournament through the words of players, coaches and staff. In a can't-miss fifth edition of Sporting Diaries, 18-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio reflects on the funniest moments in Disney World thus far, the team’s golf excursions, advocating for social justice, his message to supporters and more.
4. Gerso nets Goal of the Week
The votes are in from Round 3 at the MLS is Back Tournament group stage, and Gerso Fernandes has taken home AT&T Goal of the Week honors. The Sporting Kansas City forward managed a stunning solo effort in a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake last Wednesday, cutting onto his left foot and curling home with conviction to the far post in the club's final group stage contest.
5. Two in Louisville
Sporting Kansas City II (0-3-0, 0 points) slipped to a narrow 1-0 loss at Louisville City FC (2-2-0, 6 points) on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium. An evenly contested battle was decided in the 50th minute as USL Championship veteran Cameron Lancaster nodded home to snap Louisville’s two-game losing streak. The result keeps Louisville in third place in the regionalized, four-team Group E of the USL Championship, while Sporting KC II remains fourth with a third straight loss to begin the campaign.
Saturday marked the first of four fixtures Sporting II will play at brand-new Lynn Family Stadium this season. The sides will meet once more this Wednesday in a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN Plus before head coach Paulo Nagamura’s side returns to Northern Kentucky for regular season meetings on Aug. 12 and Oct. 3.
6. Tune In Tuesday
A new episode of the Sporting KC Show will debut Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Nate Bukaty, Carter Augustine and Aly Trost, serving as a recap of Sunday's victory over Vancouver and a comprehensive preview of Sporting's showdown with Philadelphia in the MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals. Augustine has traveled to Florida as part of Sporting's delegation, providing first-hand updates from the club's camp in Disney World throughout the competition. Previous episodes of the podcast are available at SportingKC.com/SportingKCShow.
7. Blood Drive Today
Sporting Kansas City and Community Blood Center are teaming up for another blood drive today at Children's Mercy Park, running 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.