Sporting Kansas City is set to take on Los Angeles FC on Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park after three consecutive matches away from home. Coverage of the contest begins 30-minutes prior to the 7:30 kick on 38 The Spot and tickets are still available for purchase on SeatGeek.com.
An exciting matchup whenever Sporting and LAFC take the field, the visitors enter the match currently atop the Supporters' Shield standings with 42 points accumulated so far this season. Both of these teams have their eyes set on hardware this season as Sporting KC will partake in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals on Wednesday, July, 27 at Sacramento Republic FC.
Here are five things to know before Sporting Kansas City takes on Los Angeles FC.
Home at last
Children's Mercy Park will be the backdrop for Saturday night's Western Conference duel between Sporting KC and LAFC and eight of Sporting's final 12 MLS regular season matches. In the previous two weeks, Sporting took part in three straight road matches, winning 2-1 at Montreal, drawing 1-1 in Minnesota and slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Salt Lake. Sporting was able to erase one-goal deficits in both their result against Montreal and Minnesota. Now, Sporting is back at home where they have posted a 6-4-2 record this season.
LAFC have been a tough nut to crack for any MLS side, only losing four matches all season. However, three of those four losses have come away from Banc of California Stadium, including their most recent defeat, a 1-0 slip at Vancouver. They are 2-2-1 in their last five road matches heading into Saturday.
Fresh faces abound
Saturday, Sporting KC's attack will be bolstered by newcomers Willy Agada and Erik Thommy. Agada a Nigerian forward spent the last four years in Israel, tallying 37 goals. Thommy a versatile German midfielder with the ability to roam out wide gathered up 42 goals and 33 assists across nine seasons in Germany. Both players played at the highest level of soccer on their previous teams with Agada playing in the Israeli Premier League and Thommy gathering minutes in the Bundesliga.
Across the pitch, the Black and Gold have been busy during Major League Soccer's Secondary Transfer Window. They resigned talisman and former league MVP Carlos Vela, brought in Italian international Giorgio Chiellini and acquired Welsch Captain Gareth Bale. Tuesday, they
An even series
After eight meetings since LAFC joined MLS in 2018, the series is deadlocked at four games apiece without a single draw between them. The series has been a stretch of two-game win streaks since its inception with Sporting taking the first two meetings. LAFC is currently on a two-match win streak taking the most recent meeting 3-1 at Banc of California Stadium back in April. A season ago, Sporting triumphed in the first two meetings including the most recent meeting at Children's Mercy Park.
Alan Pulido and Daniel Salloi netted second half goals to erase a one-goal LAFC lead en route to a 2-1 home victory on June 26, 2021. Sporting would follow that performance against the Black and Gold up with a 4-1 thrashing of LAFC on their home turf. Sporting holds a slight edge over LAFC at home, posing a 2-1 record at Children's Mercy Park against Saturday's visitors.
Daniel Salloi shines against LAFC
The man who scored the game-winner the last time these two sides met at Children's Mercy Park, Daniel Salloi, also leads all scorers in the series with three goals. He has added one assist in his seven appearances against LAFC since 2018. The Hungarian international has been in superb form this season, ranking second on the club in goals with six in all competitions. His 45 shot attempts are tied for the team lead with the club's leading scorer Johnny Russell. The Scotsman has eight goals in all competitions, and has one assist against LAFC in five starts. The dynamic duo of Salloi and Russell have started five of the last six matches alongside each other as Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes looks to his stars out wide to lead the squad.
LAFC's lauded offense
It is no secret that LAFC is one of the most talented squads in the MLS this season. First-year head coach Steve Cherundolo took control of a squad that missed out on the playoffs a season ago and has them at the top of the Supporters' Shield table with the second most goals in the lead. Poster child Carlos Vela has been accompanied by fellow forward Cristian Arango who leads the team with eight goals. Vela ranks second with six goals but leads his team in assists with eight. The midfield has been helped out by Jose Cifuentes' 10 goal contributions (six goals, four assists) and the play of former Sporting KC midfielder Ilie. This LAFC offense will be put to the test as they come to the not-so-friendly confines of Children's Mercy Park, a stadium where Sporting has conceded just nine times this season.