Sporting Kansas City is set to close out a stretch of three games in six days when the team travels to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. CT and will be to stream for free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV in English, Spanish and French. The match will also be available on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).
1. SPORTING ENJOYS INCREDIBLE MONTH OF MAY
Sporting Kansas City took full advantage of the club’s first back-to-back home games in MLS play this season as the team took maximum points with wins over the Portland Timbers on Sunday and FC Dallas on Wednesday. Sporting’s month of May has generated renewed optimism about the prospect of the club’s 2023 season as the team went 4-1-1 and had the best record in the Western Conference.
Sporting’s 13 regular season points during the month of May are tied for their fourth most in a single month in club history (non-shootout era since 2000). Sporting has eclipsed 13 points in May just once previously, in 2000 when the club went on to win MLS Cup.
In addition, Sporting’s 12 goals during the month of May was tied for third most in MLS behind only Saturday’s opponents Vancouver (14) and Atlanta (13). The team had scored just three goals in 10 games from February through April. The Whitecaps leapfrogged several teams in that category with their 6-2 victory over Houston Dynamo FC on Wednesday night.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for Sporting after the club went winless in February, March and April only to have the best record in the conference in May. Sporting now sit just two points below the playoff line with just over half the season remaining.
2. VANCOUVER VIBES
Sporting Kansas City hits the road this weekend as the team closes out a stretch of three games in six days when the club visits Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Sporting are looking to take the momentum from the month of May, where the club went 4-1-1 in MLS play and took the most points of any team in the Western Conference.
Sporting dropped the season series against the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2022, falling to a pair of narrow defeats both home and away. The first meeting - and Sporting’s most recent visit to BC Place - took place on April 2, 2022 where Ryan Raposo’s second half goal was enough for the hosts to see out a 1-0 win and keep all three points in Canada.
Just under two months later, Vancouver paid a visit to Children’s Mercy Park for the return fixture. In another tight affair, the Whitecaps again stole all three points with a 1-0 victory courtesy of Lucas Cavallini’s first-half penalty kick following a foul by Sporting midfielder Uri Rosell.
Sporting leads the all-time series with the Whitecaps 11-6-4, including a winning 5-4-2 mark on the road. Sporting has lost three straight in the MLS regular-season series dating back to late 2021, having gone unbeaten in six (5-0-1) against Vancouver immediately prior.
3. SALLOI ADDS ANOTHER GAME-WINNER
Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi continued to heat up as he tallied his second straight game-winning goal during Wednesday night’s 2-1 victory over FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park.
Salloi’s game-winner was his 15th in the regular season during his Sporting career and extends his lead atop the club’s game-winning goals charts, ahead of Sporting Legend Preki and Dom Dwyer, who both sit on 13.
Salloi has now scored or assisted on nine of Sporting’s 18 goals in all competitions (5 goals, 4 assists) this season. Since the start of May, Salloi has three goals and two assists helping the team go 4-1-1 in MLS play and slowly recover from the club’s slow start to the campaign. While not appearing on the stat sheet, Salloi also set up Gadi Kinda’s opening goal on Wednesday but Opta elected not to award him the assist.
Salloi, who earned his second consecutive MLS Team of the Matchday appearance, has made 190 appearances for the club in all competitions, tallying 53 goals and 29 assists.
4. KINDA BAGS GOAL & ASSIST
Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Gadi Kinda continued to shine since his return from a season-ending injury that cost him the entire 2022 season. During Wednesday night’s 2-1 victory over FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park, Kinda scored the opening goal before setting up Daniel Salloi’s second-half game-winner.
Kinda, who returned to action in late April after not playing since the end of the 2021 campaign, now has two goals and two assists in just 300 minutes of action. That means Kinda is averaging a goal contribution every 75 minutes in MLS play this season, the second best mark in MLS among players with at least 300 minutes played (ORL’s Duncan McGuire has six goal contributions in 339 minutes for a GC every 56.5 mins).
Kinda was rewarded for his performance with a spot on the bench of the MLS Team of the Matchday. Since signing with Sporting ahead of the 2020 season, Kinda has tallied 13 goals and 14 assists in 51 MLS regular-season matches.
5. RADOJA’S GROWING INFLUENCE
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Nemanja Radoja has seen his influence on the team grow from week to week as he returns to full fitness following early-season calf and hamstring injuries.
After being limited to just 72 minutes in the team’s first 11 matches of the 2023 season, Radoja has now started the team’s last five MLS matches, going the full 90 minutes on four occasions as the team has gone 3-1-1 when he’s started in the month of May.
Playing in Sporting’s vital holding midfield position, Radoja has been a calming influence for the squad. He’s completed over 91 percent of his passes (217 of 238) since returning to the team while leading the team and ranking in a tie for 14th league-wide with 38 recoveries.