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With only two matches left in the 2021 MLS regular season, first-place Sporting Kansas City (17-8-7, 58 points) travels due south to take on last-place Austin FC (8-20-4, 28 points) at Q2 Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT and the game will air regionally on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, Ballysports.com and the Bally Sports app.

Wednesday will mark the third meeting between MLS originals Sporting KC and newcomers Austin FC this season. In the first installment at Children’s Mercy Park, Ilie’s late goal coupled with Gadi Kinda’s clutch 90th-minute game winner lifted Sporting past Austin in the inaugural meeting on May 9. The second time around on June 12, the two clubs fought to a 1-1 stalemate in Kansas City.

MLS Decision Day looms, three teams are gridlocked atop the West and Sporting is set to play their third match in eight days. Here are five things you need to know for Wednesday’s midweek matchup in the heart of Texas.

1. Tight at the Top

After Sporting lost 2-1 at Minnesota on Sunday, the Colorado Rapids picked up a road win at the Houston Dynamo to pull three teams level at 58 points apiece—Sporting, Colorado and Seattle. The Sounders drew LA Galaxy 1-1 on Monday to grab sole possession of first place. Sporting now control their own destiny in the West, trailing Seattle by a point but with an all-important game in hand.

In addition to playoff seeding, Sporting still has plenty more on the line Wednesday. With a win in Texas, Sporting would punch their ticket to the 2022 Concacaf Champions League and guarantee a top-two finish above the Rapids.

2. Dynamic Duo

Johnny Russell extended his club-record goal contributions streak to nine straight games with his eighth-minute assist to Khiry Shelton on Sunday at Minnesota. Russell now has 22 goal contributions (14 goals, eight assists) in 2021, which is tied for sixth in MLS. Fellow Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi is tied for third in MLS with 24 goal contributions (16 goals, eight assists).

Salloi came off the bench in the 54th minute, making his first appearance since Oct. 17. The two Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidates have been nightmares to opposing defenses, pacing Sporting KC in goals scored and assists in 2021. With Salloi coming off an ankle ailment and Russell still in blistering form, Sporting now has two attacking forces to be reckoned with heading into the final week of the regular season.

3. Messing with Texas

With Austin FC entering MLS in 2021, the state of Texas tied the state of California for the most MLS teams. Sporting Kansas City is rather familiar with the two other teams coming out of Texas, having played FC Dallas and Houston 21 times since the start of 2018, boasting a winning record of 10-9-2 against the two sides.

In the 2021 season, Sporting has gone toe to toe with the three Texas teams eight times, posting a record of 5-2-1 against the Lonestar State. Sporting has even collected two wins in three attempts across enemy lines. Sporting KC will make their first trip to Austin, Texas, in club history and look to continue their success against the three teams mentioned above.

4. Growing Pains

Austin FC was announced as Austin’s first professional sports franchise in January 2019. Now in their first MLS season, the expansion side has not found much success on the field. With a record of 8-20-4, Austin finds itself in the basement of the Western Conference and eliminated from playoff contention. Two of Austin’s eight wins have come in their last five matches, however, so they enter Wednesday’s game with some momentum. Austin has taken six of their eight victories at home this season. With a 6-8-2 home record, Austin is a team that can earn results at Q2 Stadium.

5. New Digs

As the new kids on the block, Austin FC owns the title of playing in the newest MLS stadium. Q2 Stadium opened on June 16, 2021, hosting the U.S. WNT in a friendly versus Nigeria. The first MLS match played in the soccer-specific stadium was a scoreless draw between Austin and San Jose Earthquakes on June 19, following Austin’s 1-1 road draw at Sporting KC a week earlier. The state-of-the-art stadium offers a seating capacity of 20,738 and has already hosted the Concacaf Gold Cup Semi-finals and a U.S. MNT World Cup qualifier. Wednesday’s 8 p.m. CT match marks Sporting KC’s first appearance at Q2 Stadium.