Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting heads west to take on LAFC | March 9, 2024


Sporting Kansas City jets off to the West Coast this weekend to take on Los Angeles FC at BMO Stadium on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. CT and will be available to stream on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV in English and Spanish, while the match will also be available on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).


Sporting KC has started the 2024 campaign unbeaten through two matches but still await their first win of the nascent season. Sporting has taken the lead in both games this year but has settled for a pair of 1-1 draws on the road against Houston Dynamo FC and in the home opener vs. the Philadelphia Union.

Across all competitions, Sporting has lost just one of their last eight matches - the 1-0 loss in Houston in the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals. In those last eight games, Sporting has posted a 4-1-3 record since their most recent regular-season loss in St. Louis on Sept. 30, 2023.

Sporting is also currently riding a five-match unbeaten streak at Children’s Mercy Park, going 3-0-2 since a midweek loss to Nashville SC on Sept. 20, 2023. Over their last 12 home games, Sporting has posted a 7-2-3 record since the start of July 2023.

Following Saturday’s frustrating stalemate - which featured a controversial 95th-minute equalizer from the Union - Sporting has now opened a regular season with consecutive draws for the second time in club history and the first time since 2017, when the club would go on to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs and win the U.S. Open Cup.


Sporting Kansas City are set to travel to take on perennial Western Conference powers Los Angeles FC at BMO Stadium this Saturday night in what will surely be a stern test for Peter Vermes’ squad. LAFC is coming off back-to-back MLS Cup appearances in 2022 and 2023, having won the lot two seasons ago before falling in the final to the Columbus Crew last year.

In their last visit to BMO Stadium, Sporting picked up a point after claiming a 1-1 draw on May 17, 2023. LAFC star striker Denis Bouanga gave the hosts an early lead but Sporting responded well and equalized midway through the first half when captain Johnny Russell squeezed a shot home.

LAFC took the season series in 2023 by earning a dramatic 2-1 victory at Children’s Mercy Park exactly a month after the initial meeting on June 17, 2023. Alan Pulido’s penalty kick gave Sporting a halftime lead but after Denil Maldonado equalized early in the second half, Carlos Vela struck in the 90th minute to give the visitors from Southern California all three points.

Sporting trails the all-time regular-season series 4-6-1 since LAFC joined MLS as an expansion team in 2018. Sporting are the only club with more than one regular-season road win at BMO Stadium, where LAFC have gone 61-13-23 in 97 regular season matches.


Sporting Kansas City midfielder Remi Walter opened the scoring in the club’s home opener against the Philadelphia Union this past Saturday, curling home a pin-point finish from 20 yards out to give his side a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute.

Walter has now scored goals in back-to-back regular season home matches for Sporting, having also scored in the 2023 Decision Day victory over Minnesota United FC. Walter also scored in Sporting’s 2022 home opener, a 1-0 win over Houston, making the Frenchman the first Sporting player to score in multiple home openers at Children’s Mercy Park since the stadium opened in 2011.

The 28-year-old has been a stalwart for Sporting since joining the club ahead of the 2021 campaign, appearing in 97 of 104 available matches in the regular season while starting 88 of those appearances.

Across all competitions, Walter has tallied eight goals and nine assists in 113 appearances (102 starts), placing him sixth on the active roster in appearances behind Tim Melia, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton and Andreu Fontas.


Sporting Kansas City Academy product Jake Davis was credited with the third assist of his burgeoning career on Saturday night when his pass found Remi Walter on the edge of the area who fired home with aplomb.

The goal capped a 15-pass sequence for Sporting KC that commenced with a goal kick and concluded with 10 of the 11 players on the field touching the ball at least once in the build-up to the goal, leaving striker Alan Pulido the sole player not involved while his movement pulled defenders away allowing Walter to strike.

Davis, who has started in each of Sporting’s last 29 matches in all competitions since May 28, 2023, recorded his third career MLS assist in the draw, with all three coming in his last seven regular season home appearances at Children’s Mercy Park since last July.


Sporting Kansas City will be one of eight Major League Soccer teams to participate in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, beginning in the Round of 32, MLS and U.S. Soccer announced last week as part of an agreement for this year’s tournament.

The eight MLS clubs include the reigning champions Houston Dynamo along with the top seven U.S.-based teams, according to the 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, not part of the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.

The 2024 U.S. Open Cup will crown a champion on Sept. 25 after eight rounds of single-elimination play and the winner of the 109th edition of the competition will claim the Dewar Challenge Trophy along with prize money and a berth in the 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup. Major League Soccer teams will only play lower division opponents in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup until it cannot be avoided.

The U.S. Open Cup, named in honor of former Kansas City Wizards owner Lamar Hunt, has crowned a champion since 1914 and Sporting KC (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017) are four-time winners of U.S. Soccer’s national championship, tied for the most among MLS clubs. Sporting KC is unbeaten in 13 straight U.S. Open Cup matches at Children’s Mercy Park dating back to 2015 and tickets for home U.S. Open Cup matches are included for Sporting Kansas City Season Ticket Members through the quarterfinals.