Sporting Kansas City returns home this weekend to host Seattle Sounders FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and is available on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app in both English and Spanish, while the match will also be broadcast on the radio locally on ESPN 94.5 FM (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).
1. FIRST GOAL ARRIVES IN NIGHT OF FRUSTRATION
Sporting Kansas City continues the club’s 2023 MLS campaign this Saturday when Seattle Sounders FC visits Children’s Mercy Park. Both teams are looking to rebound from disappointing 2022 seasons that saw Sporting miss the postseason for the second time in the last 12 years and Seattle fail to make the playoffs for the first time in club history.
Sporting scored their first goal of the season during this past Saturday’s 2-1 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium, with Daniel Salloi firing home to give Sporting a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute, but second-half goals from Alan Velasco and Jesus Ferreira saw the points remain in Texas.
In a consistent theme this season, Sporting had plenty of chances to turn the game in their favor - most notably seeing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy both miss from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Maarten Paes had encroached on Agada’s attempt.
Sporting, who are currently riding a seven-game home unbeaten streak (6-0-1), still lead MLS in shots (69), shots on target (29) and key passes (53) while ranking second in shooting accuracy (64.4%).
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2. SLAYING THE SOUNDERS
Sporting Kansas City returns home this Saturday night to face off against perennial Western Conference contenders Seattle Sounders FC at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting and Seattle split the season series in 2022, with both sides winning on home turf.
The first meeting took place at Lumen Field in Seattle, with the hosts claiming a 3-0 victory on June 25, 2022. Will Bruin headed the Sounders into an early lead before Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan made the points save in the second half.
The return fixture saw Sporting host Seattle at Children’s Mercy Park in the club’s home finale on Oct. 2, 2022 with a chance to eliminate the Sounders from postseason contention. Sporting did just that as Willy Agada bagged his eighth goal of the season in the first half to lead the hosts to a 1-0 victory.
Since the start of 2015, Sporting has gone 9-4-3 against a Seattle side that has consistently competed in the upper echelons of MLS, including a 5-1-2 mark at Children’s Mercy Park. All-time, Sporting trails Seattle 10-11-4 in the regular season.
3. SALLOI BAGS FIRST GOAL OF 2023, CLIMBS CHARTS
Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi scored his and the club’s first goal of the 2023 campaign this past weekend when the Hungarian international rifled home from the edge of the area to give Sporting a 1-0 lead that eventually turned into a 2-1 loss against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.
The goal was Salloi’s seventh regular season goal against FC Dallas, the most he has scored against any MLS opponent. It also moved the 26-year-old to 39 regular season goals for Sporting, tied with Chris Klein for sixth most in club history.
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Salloi currently sits on 49 goals in all competitions, and his next goal will make him just the fifth player in club history to reach 50 goals.
4. SHUTOUT STREAK SNAPPED AT 319 MINUTES
Sporting Kansas City saw the club’s 319-minute shutout streak come to an end on Saturday night when Alan Velasco scored FC Dallas’ equalizer in the 55th minute of the 2-1 loss at Toyota Stadium. Prior to that goal, Sporting last conceded in the sixth minute of the season opener at the Portland Timbers and had posted back-to-back shutouts.
Anchored by 21-year-old goalkeeper John Pulskamp, Sporting’s 319-minute shutout streak was the second longest in MLS this season, only trailing Nashville SC’s 322 minute streak which came to an end when they conceded their first goal of the season in the 52nd minute of Saturday night’s match in New England.
Sporting’s 0.75 goals against average is tied for fifth best in the league, while the team also ranks tied for fourth with two shutouts and tied for seventh with a 76.9 save percentage.
5. FONTAS’ PASSING GAME ON ANOTHER LEVEL
Sporting Kansas City defender Andreu Fontas is off to another strong start in 2023, as he’s played every minute marshalling a backline that has already posted two shutouts in four matches and only conceded three goals on the year.
For all his defensive qualities, Fontas’ passing game gives Sporting another dimension while building out from the back. Since the start of 2021, Fontas leads MLS in passes (5,027), successful passes (4,435) and touches (5,730).
In fact, since the start of 2021, Fontas has completed more passes (4,435) than any other player in MLS has attempted passes (Michael Bradley at 4,427).
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