Sporting Kansas City continues the club’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs campaign on Sunday night when Sporting travels to take on St. Louis at Citypark in Game One of the Round One Best-of-3 series. Kickoff is set for 9 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 televised nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes. Fans can also listen to all the action on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).
1. SPORTING ADVANCES TO FACE ST. LOUIS
Sporting Kansas City continued the club’s incredible turnaround by beating the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Wild Card Match on Wednesday and have now advanced to face off against cross-state rivals St. Louis in the Round One Best-of-3 series.
After a tense 0-0 draw against San Jose in regulation on Wednesday, Sporting goalkeepr Tim Melia once again played the hero, saving Cristian Espinoza’s penalty to send Sporting on their way to a 4-2 win in the shootout as Johnny Russell, Erik Thommy, Gadi Kinda and Daniel Salloi sunk their spot kicks.
Sporting, who became the first club in MLS history to make the MLS Cup Playoffs after opening the regular season winless in their first 10 games, will now travel to Citypark on Saturday to open the Best-of-3 series with St. Louis.
- Game 1: Sunday, Oct. 29 in STL (9 p.m. CT)
- Game 2: Sunday, Nov. 5 in KC (4 p.m. CT)
- Game 3: Saturday, Nov. 11 in STL, if necessary (5 p.m. CT)
2. TRAVELING CROSS-STATE TO CITYPARK
Sporting Kansas City is set to continue the club’s run in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs this weekend when the team heads east to take on cross-state rivals St. Louis in Game One of the Round One Best-of-3 series on Sunday night at Citypark. Sporting advanced to this stage after defeating the San Jose Earthquakes on penalty kicks in the Wild Card Match on Wednesday, while St. Louis are the West’s No. 1 seed.
The two sides met three times in the 2023 regular season, with the home team claiming all three points on each occasion. The first-ever meeting between the sides came on May 20 at Citypark with the hosts claiming a 4-0 win.
Sporting won their only home match against St. Louis this season by a 2-1 scoreline on Sept. 2 when Alan Pulido bagged a pair of goals to turn the game on its head after Sam Adeniran’s early strike had given the visitors the lead.
The most recent matchup came at Citypark on Sept. 30 with St. Louis running away with a 4-1 victory despite the match being scoreless beyond the 70-minute mark. St. Louis scored four times in 12 minutes before Willy Agada tallied a late consolation.
3. MELIA EXTENDS REMARKABLE SHOOTOUT RECORD
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia proved his remarkable ability when facing penalty kicks once again on Wednesday night, helping Sporting earn a 4-2 shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes following a 0-0 draw in regulation of the Western Conference Wild Card Match.
Melia saved Cristian Espinoza’s opening penalty kick before seeing Jackson Yueill shoot high which sent Sporting on their way to victory. Melia has now won all seven penalty shootouts in his professional career, including a 5-0 record as a member of Sporting KC.
Only 22 of 37 PK attempts in regulation have been successful against Melia in his Sporting career. Among the 74 goalkeepers who have faced 10 penalties in the MLS regular season, Melia has the lowest goals conceded percentage (.583) in league history.
Sporting KC has prevailed in all five of the club’s penalty shootouts at Children’s Mercy Park, including three times against San Jose.
- 2012 U.S. Open Cup Final vs. Seattle
- 2013 MLS Cup vs. Real Salt Lake
- 2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal vs. San Jose
- 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs First Round vs. San Jose
- 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Wild Card vs. San Jose
4. SALLOI BURIES WINNING PENALTY KICK
Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi continued his fine recent form with a huge moment on Wednesday night as Sporting beat the San Jose Earthquakes in a penalty shootout to advance in the Wild Card Match and into Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Coming off a brilliant two-assist performance in his 250th professional appearance on Decision Day, Salloi delivered once again on Wednesday as he stepped up to take Sporting’s fifth and game-winning penalty in the shootout, roofing the ball to send his team through to a Best-of-3 series with St. Louis.
Salloi ended the regular season with seven goals and nine assists, finishing in a tie for second on the team alongside Erik Thommy with 16 goal contributions (one behind Alan Pulido). In all competitions, the trio all finished with 18 goal involvements.
5. PULIDO NAMED MLS AWARD FINALIST
Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido is one of three finalists for the 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award, Major League Soccer announced on Thursday.
Pulido is up for the annual honor - voted on by players, coaches, technical directors and media - alongside Atlanta United FC defender Miles Robinson and Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Joao Paulo.
Pulido enjoyed a sensational 2023 campaign after missing the entire 2022 season following knee surgery. Pulido made his return following 16 months out on April 1, 2023 and claimed the club’s Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player awards with 15 goals and three assists in all competitions this season as the team’s joint leader in total goal contributions.
Pulido, who recently extended his contract with the club through 2026, first joined Sporting in 2020 and was named a MLS Newcomer of the Year finalist while winning the club’s Golden Boot and Offensive Player of the Year award in his first season. From 2020 to 2023, the World Cup veteran has tallied 30 goals and 11 assists in 67 matches across all competitions and has climbed to the top of the club’s all-time regular season goals per game chart.
SKC All-Time Goals Per Game
(min. 20 regular season games)
- Alan Pulido 0.46 (28 goals in 61 games)
- Dom Dwyer 0.45 (57 goals in 128 games)
- Willy Agada 0.42 (11 goals in 26 games)