Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo
2020 MLS Regular Season | Match 14 of 23
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 | 7 p.m. CT
BBVA Stadium | Houston, Texas
English TV | FOX Sports Kansas City
English TV | FOX Sports Midwest
Streaming | FOX Sports GO or ESPN Plus
English Radio | ESPN 94.5 FM
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
As the calendar turns to October, Sporting Kansas City (6-5-2, 20 points) and the Houston Dynamo (3-4-7, 16 points) will launch into the pivotal home stretch of the 2020 MLS regular season on Saturday when they renew their longtime Western Conference rivalry at BBVA Stadium.
The fourth meeting of the year between the clubs will kick off at 7 p.m. CT, with FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO providing three hours of live coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. CT. Supporters can also catch the action locally on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM, while viewers beyond the FOX Sports Midwest footprint can stream the contest on ESPN Plus.
Under the direction of 12th-year manager Peter Vermes—who will look to become the fifth MLS head coach to hit 150 regular season wins on Saturday—Sporting enters the weekend on full rest after last Sunday’s road tilt against the Colorado Rapids was postponed to Oct. 21. The schedule rearrangement means Sporting will play nine regular season matches in a 30-day period for the first time in club history, a challenging stretch that will begin in earnest at BBVA Stadium.
Both sides will view Saturday’s showdown as an opportunity to get back on track at a critical juncture of the campaign. Sporting have gone 1-4-2 in their previous seven matches but remain in third place, four points behind co-leaders Seattle and Portland in the congested Western Conference table. The Dynamo, meanwhile, sit a point below the eighth and final playoff spot and will be seeking their first victory since defeating Sporting by a 2-1 scoreline on Sept. 5. Head coach Tab Ramos’ men have collected three draws and two losses since then, including a 1-1 road draw versus Nashville SC in their most recent fixture last Saturday.
The unpredictable and ultra-competitive West currently sees just nine points separating first place Seattle and ninth-place Houston. Following the conclusion of the 23-game regular season, the conference’s top eight teams will advance to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, which will once again feature a single-elimination format with the higher seed playing host through MLS Cup on Dec. 12.
Sporting winger Johnny Russell made an undeniable impact in 2018 and 2019, landing Offensive Player of the Year honors for the club as one of the league's most dynamic attackers. The Scottish international has carried that form into the fall of 2020, as he has scored each of Sporting’s last four goals dating back to Sept. 13 to take his team-leading tally to six on the season. Russell has become the fourth player in Sporting history to bag four consecutive regular season goals, and his three-game scoring streak is tied for the second-longest in MLS this year.
On the Houston sideline, playmaker Darwin Quintero has built one of the best attacking resumes in MLS. He is one of two players with at least five goals and seven assists, an impressive haul that includes two goals and four assists in his previous two appearances against Sporting on Aug. 25 and Sept. 5—both of which resulted in Dynamo victories. However, Houston faced a recent personnel setback when star winger Alberth Elis was transferred to Portuguese club Boavista last month. His absence will likely be filled by fellow winger Niko Hansen and striker Mauro Manotas, who notably has eight goals in his last 11 appearances versus Sporting across all competitions.
Saturday will serve up the fourth and final regular season meeting between Sporting and Houston in 2020. Vermes' side claimed an emphatic 4-0 triumph way back on March 7 in the Children's Mercy Park home opener, receiving goals from Alan Pulido, Roger Espinoza, Gadi Kinda and Khiry Shelton in a rampant, wire-to-wire performance. The Dynamo have since punched back with two wins of their own, including an eye-opening 5-2 decision at Children's Mercy Park on Aug. 25 and a 2-1 home triumph on Sept. 5.
With a crowded schedule on the horizon and multiple players unavailable—defenders Matt Besler and Luis Martins are out injured, while Kinda will serve a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation—Vermes will leverage his squad’s depth against a Houston outfit that boasts a strong bill of health.
After battling Houston, Sporting will return to Kansas City for a pair of home matches against Eastern Conference opponents next week at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting will host Chicago Fire FC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday before welcoming expansion side Nashville SC at 6:30 p.m. CT next Sunday, Oct. 11. Tickets for both games are available at SeatGeek.com.