Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting set to host reigning champs LAFC | June 17, 2023


Sporting Kansas City remains at home this weekend when the team plays host to reigning MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champions Los Angeles FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV in English and Spanish. The match will also be available on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).


Sporting Kansas City continued the club’s excellent run of form this past weekend when the team claimed another three points with a 4-1 victory over Austin FC at Children’s Mercy Park. The result saw Sporting extend their unbeaten run to four matches (3-0-1), while the squad has lost just once in their last eight, going 5-1-2 since the start of May. Sporting has also won four in a row at home.

Since the start of May, Sporting leads MLS in goals (17) and ranks second in goals per game (2.13), while the team also leads the Western Conference in wins (5) and points (17). No other Western Conference team has more than 12 points during that time, with FC Dallas the closest team to Sporting during that timeframe.

The recent four-game home winning streak is also historically significant, as Sporting’s 13 home goals since May 13 are tied for their most during any home winning streak of four or more regular season matches in club history (May to July 2003).

For the first time in 2023, Sporting are now above the playoff line - sitting in a tie for eighth place with 20 points. Sporting began the season winless in their first 10, going 0-7-3, but have now gone 5-1-2 in their last eight since the start of May to surge up the Western Conference standings.


Sporting Kansas City are set to host reigning MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champions Los Angeles FC at Children’s Mercy Park this Saturday night. For once, Sporting are coming off a week of training and recovery, while LAFC will endure a short turnaround following their 1-0 home loss to Houston Dynamo FC on Wednesday night.

Sporting picked up a point in the return fixture at BMO Stadium earlier this year, claiming a 1-1 draw on May 17, 2023. MLS MVP frontrunner Denis Bouanga gave LAFC an early lead but Sporting responded well and equalized midway through the first half when captain Johnny Russell squeezed a shot home.

LAFC claimed a 2-0 victory during their last visit to Children’s Mercy Park on July 23, 2022. Shortly after Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia had exited the match through an injury that would keep him out the remainder of the season, LAFC snatched the lead through Cristian Arango’s powerful strike and superstar Gareth Bale made the points safe with his first goal for the club late on.

Sporting trails the all-time regular-season series 4-5-1 since LAFC joined MLS as an expansion team in 2018. Saturday’s match will mark the first time Sporting has hosted an MLS Cup champion since Atlanta United on May 5, 2019.


Sporting Kansas City forward and Designated Player Alan Pulido continued his rich vein of form this past Saturday, tallying two goals and the game-winning assist in the 4-1 thumping of Austin FC at Children’s Mercy Park.

Pulido played a part in the first three goals on Saturday as Sporting jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the hour mark. Playing his 50th match for SKC in all competitions, Pulido struck first in the 19th minute with a first-time finish, then flicked on a free kick in the 47th minute as Robert Castellanos doubled Sporting’s advantage and finally bagged his brace with a well-taken goal in the 57th minute.

Among players with at least 50 appearances for Sporting in all competitions, Pulido ranks second in club history with 0.62 goal contributions per game and third with 0.76 goal contributions per 90 minutes.

On Monday, Pulido was voted the MLS Player of the Matchday for Matchday 18 of the 2023 season, marking the first Sporting player to win the award since Johnny Russell in Week 33 of the 2021 campaign.


Sporting Kansas City center back Robert Castellanos enjoyed a banner night at Children’s Mercy Park this past Saturday, tallying the game-winning goal with his first strike for the club in the 4-1 victory over Austin FC.

Castellanos and close friend Alan Pulido linked up to devastating effect on two occasions, with Castellanos’ nodding the ball down for Pulido to open the scoring in the first half before Pulido’s flick off Erik Thommy’s free kick allowed Castellanos to smash the ball home at the far post early in the second period. Only a touch off an Austin FC arm prevented Castellanos from being credited with an assist on the opener.

Castellanos, along with Pulido, was named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for their performances against Austin. Castellanos has made nine appearances in his debut season with Sporting, while his goal was his first in MLS since scoring in his only appearance for Nashville SC on Aug. 1, 2021.


Sporting Kansas City forward Khiry Shelton scored his first goal of the 2023 season last Saturday, tallying Sporting’s fourth and final goal of the 4-1 victory over Austin FC at Children’s Mercy Park.

Shelton pounced on a turnover and fed Erik Thommy into the area who saw his effort saved, but Shelton was on hand to knock home the rebound for his first MLS goal since tallying the game-winner in the 3-0 victory over D.C. United on Sept. 13, 2022.

Shelton, who had seen a goal denied by the offside flag moments earlier, has now scored 15 goals and added 16 assists in 122 appearances across all competitions for the club across two separate stints (2018 and 2020-present). The 29-year-old arrived at Sporting in a trade from New York City FC and spent the 2019 season with SC Paderborn in Germany, making an appearance against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.