After finishing atop the Western Conference regular season standings, Sporting Kansas City will look to punctuate an unprecedented 2020 campaign by winning silverware on Major League Soccer's greatest stage. The Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs will see Sporting join an expanded field of 18 clubs, all of which have their sights firmly set on hoisting the MLS Cup on Dec. 12.
In order to claim the ultimate prize, Sporting Kansas City must navigate a single-elimination bracket packed with in-form teams. The first step is a Round One showdown with the No. 8 seed San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. CT with live coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes, the FOX Sports app, ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM.
As postseason anticipation continues to build, SportingKC.com is rolling out a 12-day countdown to the club's opening playoff match, offering a comprehensive preview of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. From key storylines and positional breakdowns to history lessons and community initiatives, our Countdown to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs highlights the many reasons to be pumped for Sporting’s pursuit of another MLS Cup title. To visit the series homepage as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/playoffcountdown.
The return of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs means the distinct possibility of penalty kicks, widely considered one of the most exciting and excruciating events in the sport of soccer. If teams are tied after 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time, spot kicks will determine the winner.
For Manager Peter Vermes' side, that may not be a bad thing. Veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia is a perfect 5-0 in penalty shootouts throughout his professional career, including a 3-0 mark at Sporting Kansas City.
As detailed in the table below, Sporting boasts a relatively strong history in penalty shootouts with an 8-4 record. That tally excludes all MLS regular season matches played from 1996-1999, which were decided via penalties if tied after 90 minutes.
Traditional penalty shootouts in single-elimination matches—excluding the old-school MLS shootouts in the league's multi-game playoff series in the 1990s—have seen Sporting post a 7-3 record since 2000. Kansas City has also won six of its last seven shootouts since 2009, including unforgettable triumphs in the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012 and 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finals.
SPORTING KC IN PENALTY SHOOTOUTS
(EXCLUDING 1996-1999 MLS REGULAR SEASON)
- Overall record: 8 wins, 4 losses
- Record in single-elimination matches: 7 wins, 3 losses
- Record since 2009: 6 wins, 1 loss
|10/02/96||at Dallas||T 2-2||W 3-2||Playoffs
|10/13/96||LA GALAXY||T 1-1||L 1-3||Playoffs
|06/14/00||at Chicago Sockers||T 0-0||L 6-7||Open Cup
Round of 32
|06/04/08||COLORADO||T 2-2||W 5-3||Open Cup
|07/08/08||at Seattle||T 0-0||L 5-6||Open Cup
|06/30/09||at Minnesota||T 3-3||W 4-2||Open Cup
Round of 16
|08/08/12||SEATTLE||T 1-1||W 3-2||Open Cup
|12/07/13||REAL SALT LAKE||T 1-1||W 7-6||Playoffs
|09/30/15||at Philadelphia||T 1-1||W 7-6||Open Cup
|10/29/15||at Portland||T 2-2||L 6-7||Playoffs
|08/09/17||SAN JOSE||T 1-1||W 5-4||Open Cup
|07/26/20||vs. Vancouver||T 0-0||W 3-1||MLS is Back
Round of 16
To cap this edition of the playoff countdown, grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy each of Sporting's last five shootout victories in the space below.
2012 U.S. Open Cup Final (Aug. 8, 2012)
2013 MLS Cup (Dec. 7, 2013)
2015 U.S. Open Cup Final (Sept. 30, 2015)
2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal (Aug. 9, 2015)
MLS is Back Tournament Rd. of 16 (July 26, 2020)