Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting returns home for midweek clash with Real Salt Lake | June 19, 2024


Sporting Kansas City returns home for a midweek clash against Real Salt Lake at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be available to stream for free in English and Spanish on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV. The match will also be available on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish). Tickets are available via


Sporting Kansas City will hope to move on quickly from this past weekend’s 4-2 defeat against the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night and shift focus to continuing to recover the club’s home form after snapping a six-game home winless run with the 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Children’s Mercy Park on June 8.

The task doesn’t come much taller as Sporting will be hosting a RSL side that sits atop the Western Conference standings and is unbeaten in their last 14 MLS matches (8-0-6), with their last defeat coming on March 9.

Sporting has a tough schedule this week, facing table-topping RSL on Wednesday before visiting reigning champions the Columbus Crew on the road this Saturday in the club’s first-ever visit to Field. Sporting also has midweek matches in three of the next four weeks heading into the Leagues Cup in mid-July.

Despite the setback against the Galaxy over the weekend, Sporting once again scored multiple goals in a match and has now done so in 11 of the club’s 20 matches across all competitions this season while the team has been shutout just twice all season. The goals are coming by committee with 14 different players all finding the back of the net this season while Erik Thommy leads the way with four goals.


Sporting Kansas City will be looking to use home comforts to their advantage once again this week when the team plays host to Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday night. Sporting snapped a six-game home winless run in MLS action in their most recent outing at Children’s Mercy Park - a 2-1 win over Seattle on June 8 - before falling 4-2 on the road at the LA Galaxy this past Saturday.

Wednesday’s match is the second and final regular-season meeting between Sporting and RSL this season, having already faced at America First Field in Sandy, Utah on May 4, 2024. The two sides battled out a tight contest that night, with RSL narrowly edging it 1-0 courtesy of an 81st-minute goal from leading scorer Chicho Arango.

The most recent meeting at Children’s Mercy Park between Sporting and Real Salt Lake took place on July 12, 2023 - also a midweek match. Sporting raced into a two-goal lead at the halftime interval following goals from Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell, but a set of inspired halftime substitutions from RSL swung the game on its head with Arango and Anderson Julio tallying in the second half to salvage a 2-2 draw for the visitors.

Sporting trails the all-time series with RSL 13-17-9, while Sporting has won just five of their last 23 meetings with the Utes. All-time, Sporting has a 7-5-6 home record against Real Salt Lake but the side has won just once at Children’s Mercy Park since the start of 2018 - a 1-0 victory on March 26, 2022.


Sporting Kansas City forward Stephen Afrifa made an instant impact in Saturday night’s 4-2 defeat to the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park, scoring his first MLS goal just seconds after entering the match as a second-half substitute.

Entering the match in place of Memo Rodriguez in the 65th minute, it took Afrifa just 40 seconds to make his mark. After releasing Erik Thommy with a smart pass down the left wing, Afrifa continued his run into the area to meet the German’s cutback and calmly slot the ball into the back of the net for his first goal in MLS play.

Afrifa, Sporting’s first-round pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, has now scored twice for the club across all competitions - having bagged a goal and an assist in the team’s 4-0 victory over FC Tulsa in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on May 21, 2024. The goal also ensured that Sporting have been shut out just twice all season - a scoreless draw at LAFC on March 9 and a 1-0 loss at this Wednesday’s opponents Real Salt Lake on May 4.


Sporting Kansas City center back has taken full advantage of his opportunities this season and tallied his first goal of the 2024 campaign during Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Castellanos, who grew up 50 miles from Dignity Health Sports Park in nearby Palmdale, California and played for LA Galaxy II in 2017, was making his first MLS appearance in the Los Angeles area and playing his first match against the Galaxy. With Sporting behind 3-1 in the 82nd minute, he met Johnny Russell’s in-swinging free kick and volleyed home a neat finish to cut the deficit in half.

Castellanos has now scored twice for Sporting, having also tallied in the 4-1 victory over Austin FC at Children’s Mercy Park on June 10, 2023. After not appearing in the club’s first 12 MLS matches of the season, Castellanos has now started five of the team’s last six games in the regular season.


Sporting Kansas City captain Johnny Russell extended his fine recent run of form with an assist in the club’s 4-2 defeat against the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night.

Russell bagged his second assist of the season after his pin-point delivery from a free kick on the right wing was turned home by Robert Castellanos to cut the deficit to 3-2 late on during Saturday’s match, only for the Galaxy to seal the points with a fourth deep into stoppage time.

The Scotsman has now tallied a goal or an assist in his last three matches while he has four goal contributions (3 goals, 1 assist) in his last six appearances after recording just one assist in his first nine outings in 2024.

Russell now has seven goal contributions (six goals, one assist) in 10 career appearances against the Galaxy, while he also ranks sixth in club history in regular season assists (37) and assists across all competitions (45). His 110 goal contributions for the club in all competitions (65 goals, 45 assists) are third most in team history.