Entering the penultimate week of July, and with Sporting Kansas City already 13 matches into the 2021 campaign, 20-year-old Academy product Cam Duke had been limited to a pair of appearances from off the bench. The Overland Park, Kansas, native saw time in eight MLS matches last season, including two starts, but Duke's opportunity to make a major impact—even with his undeniable talent as a buzzing young midfielder—had yet to arise in 2021.
All of that changed last week when Duke cashed in on the chance to start consecutive matches against the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC.
In a 1-1 home draw versus San Jose, Duke delivered a man of the match performance by becoming the first MLS player since the dawn of the Opta era in 2010 to win 12 duels, post a 55% duel success rate, draw eight fouls and complete 90% of his passes.
Four days later, in Sporting's biggest game of the season against the first-place Sounders at Lumen Field, Duke scored two minutes into his substitute cameo—a dazzling first-time volley off a Graham Zusi cross—to seal a momentous 3-1 victory.
On the heels of these game-changing displays, Duke made the media rounds this week by joining the Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB and the Nutmeg Podcast with 610 Sports Radio host Rob Brenton. Listen to both podcasts in their entirety above as Duke reflects on his first career MLS goal, his unique qualities as a high-energy midfield player, learning from his older brother Christian (the captain of Sporting Kansas City II), his family's rich soccer background and plenty more.
Duke and second-place Sporting (9-3-3, 30 points) will look to continue their winning ways Saturday when they host FC Dallas (3-7-5, 14 points) in the annual Sporting Salutes match sponsored by Hallmark. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. CT showdown at Children’s Mercy Park are available at SeatGeek.com, including Family Four-Packs consisting of four general admission tickets, four Coca-Cola products and four Domino’s pizzas.
Fans can also catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app as well as Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.