Sporting Kansas City returns home for a rare match at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday when the team takes on Minnesota United FC. Sporting is in the midst of a five-game stretch in 14 days, with four of those contests coming on the road. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday and is 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).
1. FULL FOCUS ON REGULAR SEASON
After being eliminated from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on the road at Houston Dynamo FC on Wednesday, it’s full steam ahead in MLS play for Sporting Kansas City who was finally able to pick up the club’s first three points of the season this last Sunday, doing so in the unlikeliest of circumstances as goals from Erik Thommy and Alan Pulido led the team to a 2-1 victory on the road at Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field.
The match saw Sporting double their points tally on the season from three to six, while it also marked the first time since Sept. 17, 2022 that the club had scored multiple goals in one MLS game. The pair of goals were the first Seattle had conceded at home all season, with the Sounders entering the match 4-0-1 at home in 2023.
Sporting typically enjoys their visits to Lumen Field, as the team has won four regular season road matches against the Sounders dating back to August 2019, the most in MLS. Since then, the Portland Timbers (three wins at Lumen Field) are the only other MLS club with more than one road win at Seattle.
Sporting are in the midst of a road-heavy and highly-congested portion of the 2023 schedule. Starting with Sunday’s win at first-place Seattle, Sporting are set to play the top three teams in the Western Conference on the road over a four-game period (LAFC on May 17 and st. louis on May 20). Throw in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup trip to Houston and Sporting are set to play five games in 14 days, with four coming on the road.
2. PERFECT HOME RECORD ON THE LINE vs. LOONS
Sporting Kansas City continues their congested fixture list this weekend when the team plays host to Minnesota United FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night. Sporting were buoyed by the team’s first MLS win of the season last Sunday in Seattle but still smarting from Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Houston in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32.
Sporting claimed the season series against the Loons in 2022, going 1-0-1 across two contests. The first meeting came at Allianz Field on July 13, 2022 with the two teams playing out a 1-1 draw. An own goal from Sporting goalkeeper John Pulskamp gave Minnesota the lead before Johnny Russell salvaged a point for SKC in the second half.
The return fixture saw Sporting claim all three points with a 4-1 victory at Children’s Mercy Park on Sept. 17, 2022. Russell forced an own goal out of Michael Boxall to open the scoring before Erik Thommy and Willy Agada gave SKC a commanding lead at the break. Mender Garcia pulled one back for the Loons before Agada completed the rout.
Sporting KC is 8-4-4 all-time against the Loons in MLS play, including a perfect 7-0-0 mark with 19 goals scored and two conceded at home.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting Kansas City 4-1 Minnesota United FC | Sept 17, 2022
3. PULIDO SCORES FIRST MLS GOAL IN 21 MONTHS
Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Alan Pulido shook off some rust this past Sunday as he scored his first MLS goal since returning from his lengthy spell on the sidelines during the 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field.
Pulido raced onto Erik Thommy’s through ball in the 31st minute of the match and slipped a finish into the bottom corner from a tight angle to score his first MLS goal since Aug. 14, 2021 with what would eventually be the match-winner.
After scoring his first goal since his surgery in the U.S. Open Cup on April 25, Pulido now has two goals in seven appearances across all competitions this season as he works his way back to full fitness and match sharpness following a 16-month spell on the sidelines.
Pulido now has 23 goal contributions (15 goals, eight assists) in 31 regular season starts since 2020 and has tallied 17 goals and eight assists across 43 total appearances for the club in all competitions.
4. THOMMY SHINES IN CRUCIAL VICTORY
Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Erik Thommy rounded into form during Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field, tallying a goal and an assist on his way to being named on the MLS Team of th Matchday.
Thommy’s goal and assist were both his first of the season in MLS action. The German midfielder gave Sporting the lead with a one-time finish into the bottom corner in just the fourth minute of the match, before his perfectly-weighted through ball sent Alan Pulido through to score what would turn out to be the game-winning goal in the 31st minute of the contest.
Thommy began his Sporting KC career on fire during the latter stages of the 2022 season, tallying three goals and two assists while helping the team finish the year 6-2-2. 2023 has been a different beast with Thommy and his teammates struggling to find the back of the net, but the 28-year-old will be hoping Sunday’s goal - his first since Sept. 17, 2022 - is a sign of things to come.
5. DAVIS FILLS IN ADMIRABLY AT RIGHT BACK
Sporting KC Homegrown Player Jake Davis continued to deputize admirably at right back during Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field, providing a steady presence defensively while also contributing to the attack.
Typically deployed as a hard-nosed central midfielder, Davis has now started three games in a row at right back across all competitions, helping the team go 2-1-0. Injuries to regular right backs Graham Zusi and Kayden Pierre has left Sporting light at the position, and Davis has taken his opportunity to shine with both hands.
The 21-year-old Sporting KC Academy product completed 25 of his 31 passes on Sunday while also ranking third on the team with five final third entries. Davis won five of his seven duels and ranked second with seven possessions won in the match, as well as winning two of his three tackles against a dangerous Seattle left flank.