Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting to host Toluca FC in Leagues Cup Round of 32 | Aug. 4, 2023


Sporting Kansas City continues the club’s Leagues Cup 2023 campaign this Friday when the team hosts Liga MX outfit Toluca FC in the Round of 32 at Children’s Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be 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). Tickets are available via


Sporting Kansas City silenced the doubters on Monday night when the team beat Mexican powerhouse Chivas Guadalajara 1-0 at Children’s Mercy Park to advance to the knockout stage of Leagues Cup 2023. Not many had given Sporting a chance after the club was drawn into Group 3 of the Central region alongside FC Cincinnati and Chivas - the top teams in MLS and Liga MX, respectively.

Bracket Outlook

  • The winner of Friday’s match between Sporting and Toluca will travel to face either Columbus Crew or Minnesota United FC in the Leagues Cup Round of 16.
  • If Friday’s match between Sporting and Toluca is tied after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will decide the winner (as is the case with all Leagues Cup matches). No extra time will be played.

Sporting will take a lot of confidence from Monday’s win over Chivas as it marked the team’s first 1-0 victory of the season. In all competitions this year, Sporting are 7-0-4 when scoring multiple goals and 1-12-5 when scoring one or fewer.


Sporting Kansas City is set to open up the Leagues Cup 2023 knockout stage with a home match against Liga MX side Toluca FC at Children’s Mercy Park in the Round of 32 on Friday night.

The game will be a rematch of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League Round of 16, where Sporting cruised past Toluca 5-0 on aggregate, including a 3-0 victory during Toluca’s last visit to Children’s Mercy Park in the first leg on Feb. 21, 2019. Krisztian Nemeth, Gerso Fernandes and Ilie Sanchez each tallied that night before Gerso and Nemeth tallied again in the second leg at Estadio Nemesio Diez a week later.

Following Monday’s 1-0 victory over Chivas Guadalajara to advance out of Group 3 in the Central Region, Sporting has now faced off against Mexican opposition on 16 occasions, going 5-9-2 overall and 4-4-2 at home.

Toluca are competing in an international competition for the first time since Sporting knocked them out of the Concacaf Champions League in 2019. The Mexicans are making up for lost time so far in Leagues Cup 2023, scoring the most goals in the tournament during the group stage (eight) on their way to beating Nashville and Colorado despite being winless (0-2-2) in their previous four competitive matches against MLS opponents since 2014.


Sporting Kansas City captain Johnny Russell produced a brilliant performance on Monday night in the 1-0 victory over Chivas Guadalajara at Children’s Mercy Park to lead his side through to the Leagues Cup 2023 Round of 32.

Russell tallied the only goal of the game with an expertly taken half-volley in the 27th minute of the contest, giving Chivas goalkeeper Jose Rangel no chance with his finish. Russell, who was named the official Man of the Match, was a constant threat to Chivas as he ended his 90-minute shift with five shots - the most on the team.

The Scotsman now has 57 goals and 41 assists for the club in all competitions since arriving in Kansas City ahead of the 2018 campaign. By recording his 98th goal contribution across all competitions on Monday, Russell broke a tie for third in club history with Chris Klein. Russell only trails Sporting Legend Preki (185) and current icon Graham Zusi (125) for goal contributions across all competitions in club history.


Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Erik Thommy was called upon to step into an unfamiliar role during Monday night’s 1-0 victory over Chivas Guadalajara at Children’s Mercy Park, going 90 minutes as the team’s center forward.

Typically deployed either in attacking midfield or on either flank, Thommy transitioned into the number 9 role for Sporting with star forward Alan Pulido serving the first game of a two-match suspension following his red card in the club’s Leagues Cup opener at FC Cincinnati on July 23.

Using his midfielder tendencies, Thommy dropped deep on several occasions to facilitate Sporting attacks and his performance encapsulated the “false 9” role. The German was also credited with an assist on the only goal of the match, as his attempted bicycle kick off Gadi Kinda’s cross fell into the path of Johnny Russell who slammed home the winner in the 27th minute.

Thommy now has six goals and 10 assists across all competitions for Sporting since joining the club last July, while he also leads the club with eight assists in 2023. Thommy has 10 goal contributions in all competitions since the start of May, second most on the team, while his six MLS assists during that time are tied for fourth most in the league.


Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper John Pulskamp earned his first shutout in international competition during Monday night’s monumental 1-0 victory over Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara at Children’s Mercy Park.

Pulskamp, 22, made one save on the night as Sporting’s backline limited Chivas to just 0.14 expected goals and advanced to the Leagues Cup 2023 Round of 32 and a matchup with Toluca FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Friday night.

Pulskamp has made nine appearances this season across three separate competitions, posting four shutouts and a 1.22 goals against average. All-time with Sporting across all competitions, Pulskamp has made 32 appearances (31 starts), tallying 10 shutouts and a 1.40 goals against average.