Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting to host Philadelphia Union in 2024 home opener | March 2, 2024


Sporting Kansas City is set to kick off the club’s 2024 home slate this weekend when the team faces off against the Philadelphia Union at Children’s Mercy Park in the club’s home opener on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be available to stream for free 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).


Sporting KC is set to welcome fans back to Children’s Mercy Park for the first time in 2024 when the club hosts the Philadelphia Union in the home opener on Saturday night. Both teams began the season with a point, as Sporting earned a 1-1 draw on the road in Houston while Philadelphia salvaged a 2-2 draw late at home against the Chicago Fire.

Sporting has gone 16-3-9 in regular-season home openers throughout the club’s history, including a 5-1-7 mark at Children’s Mercy Park with the lone loss coming in 2018 to New York City FC. Over the last five seasons, Sporting are 3-0-2 in home openers having defeated the Philadelphia Union (2019) and Houston Dynamo FC twice (2020 & 2022), while also playing to draws with Orlando City SC (2021) and the LA Galaxy (2023).

Coming out of 2023, Sporting is currently riding a four-match unbeaten streak at Children’s Mercy Park, going 3-0-1 to close out the season. Over their last 11 home games, Sporting has posted a 7-2-2 since the start of July 2023.

The regular-season series against the Union is deadlocked at 6-6-6, though Sporting holds a 4-2-3 edge at home.


Sporting Kansas City returns home for the first time in 2024 when the club plays host to the Philadelphia Union at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night in the club’s highly-anticipated home opener. The match marks just the second regular-season matchup between Sporting and the Union over the last five years, having broken a four-year drought in 2023.

Sporting visited Philadelphia early last season, playing out a 0-0 draw on April 1, 2023. Following a 61-minute delay due to inclement weather that rolled through Chester, Pennsylvania, the two teams battled out a nervy draw as Sporting saw new center back Dany Rosero make his debut for the club.

The last time Sporting hosted Philadelphia at Children’s Mercy Park was on March 10, 2019 at Children’s Mercy Park. Ilie Sanchez gave Sporting an early lead from the spot before Tim Melia stoned Marco Fabian’s penalty kick early in the second half. A late own goal from Jack Elliott sealed the points for Sporting with a 2-0 victory.

In the meantime, Sporting also faced the Union in the MLS is Back Tournament during the COVID-19 derailed 2020 season. The two sides met at the Quarterfinal stage on July 30, 2020, with the Union cruising to a 3-1 victory.


Sporting Kansas City midfielder Erik Thommy did the honors of bagging the first goal of the new season for the club when he slalomed through the Houston midfield before rifling home a low effort to open the scoring in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against the Dynamo in the club’s season opener.

Thommy, who has appeared in 51 straight MLS matches for Sporting since making his league debut on July 23, 2022, has now scored goals in back-to-back regular season road appearances dating back to last season.

The German attacking midfielder led Sporting last season with 13 assists in all competitions and ranked third on the team with 18 total goal contributions. He became the fifth player in club history to hit 11 assists in a single regular season alongside Preki (six times), Matt McKeon (11 in 2000), Graham Zusi (15 in 2012) and Benny Feilhaber (15 in 2015, 13 in 2016).

Sporting are unbeaten at 8-0-1 when Thommy scores in the regular season, with last Saturday’s match the sole occasion that he hasn’t led his team to victory when scoring.


Sporting Kansas City saw three newcomers make their debuts for the club during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo at Shell Energy Stadium in the season opener. Left back Zorhan Bassong, midfielder Memo Rodriguez and forward Alenis Vargas all earned their first minutes in Sporting Blue during the match.

Bassong replaced Tim Leibold in the 74th minute and earned his first minutes after joining Sporting as a free agent after spending the last year playing in Romania. Bassong was developed at Belgian clubs Mouscron and Anderlecht before moving to Lille in France and Cercle Brugge back in Belgium. In a previous stint in MLS, Bassong made 43 appearances in all competitions for his hometown team CF Montreal from 2021-2022.

Rodriguez also came on for Erik Thommy in the 74th minute to make his debut at his hometown club. The MLS veteran arrives in Kansas City with a wealth of experience, mostly with Houston from 2015-2022 where he came up through their academy. Rodriguez has scored 34 goals in 227 professional appearances and helped the Dynamo win the 2018 U.S. Open Cup before spending the 2023 season with the LA Galaxy and Austin FC.

Vargas subbed on for the closing stages after replacing Daniel Salloi in the 86th minute. The 20-year-old signed with Sporting’s first team from Costa Rican side Futbol Consultants Desamparados after impressing while on loan with SKC II in 2023. Last season, Vargas recorded six goals and five assists while drawing three penalty kicks and helping the team reach the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs with a third-place finish in the West.


Sporting Kansas City is set to open the club’s home slate of matches in the 2024 MLS season on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union with a host of upgrades and enhancements for fans to experience around Children’s Mercy Park.

Key upgrades took place during the offseason to augment the fan experience, highlighted by the installation of new LED technology designed, manufactured and installed by Daktronics at three different locations – including the main display atop the Price Chopper South Stand. In addition, fans will be treated to new state-of-the-art LED sports lighting, allowing the club to create lighting movement and effects before, during and after matches.

A brand-new concessions initiative sees “Dotte Dogs” available throughout Children’s Mercy Park via a portable cart. Featuring foot-long hot dogs and chili cheese dogs, this concept pays homage to Wyandotte County and its significance and history to the people of Kansas City. In addition, Carnitas Tacos, Junk Yard Dogs, an updated menu in the Huhtamaki Shield Club and a Self-Pouring Drink Command System will also be introduced for the new season.