Five Things

Sporting Kansas City (2-6-2, 8 points) will face New York City FC (4-3-1, 13 points) in an MLS regular season matchup at Citi Field in New York City on Saturday. This will mark the first time these two sides have met since 2019.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and will air on 38 The Spot with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes prior to kickoff. The match can also be streamed via Sporting One in the Sporting KC Mobile App and at SportingKC.com.

This will be the only matchup between the interconference foes in the 2022 MLS regular season.Here are five storylines to know as Sporting KC heads to the City That Never Sleeps for a match with NYCFC.

Showtime Salloi

Thanks to his equalizer in the 77th minute last Saturday against Dallas, Daniel Salloi received his first selection to the Audi MLS Team of the Week in 2022. In 2021 the Hungarian winger had eight appearances on the MLS Team of the Week. Salloi also drew a penalty early in the match which led to Sporting KC’s first goal of the contest.

The late equalizer against Dallas was Salloi’s second goal of the season, tied for the team lead, and his 16th goal scored from open play since the start of the 2021 season. His 16, open-play goals are tied for second in MLS in that timespan. It is not just on the ball when Salloi is dangerous, he draws defenders' attention off the ball as well. The Sporting KC Academy product leads MLS with 31.5 attacking runs per match.

Melia’s upcoming milestone

Sporting KC’s backstop, Tim Melia is on the verge of a major career milestone. Melia is just three saves away from 600 career saves for Sporting KC in the regular season. Some of Melia’s saves come on penalty kicks, 17 to be exact. His goals conceded percentage of 56.7 (17 of 30) on penalty kicks the lowest clip in league history among keepers (minimum 10 penalties faced).

On the topic of MLS history, the keeper joined Sporting in 2015 and has won at least 10 matches in each of the last seven regular seasons. If he posts 10 wins this season, he will become the first keeper in MLS history to win 10 regular season matches in eight consecutive years. He has also posted 62 regular season clean sheets since 2015, the most in MLS in that time span.

Goals on Goals on Goals

Melia’s shot-stopping ability against NYCFC’s high-powered offense presents an intriguing matchup. Headlining NYCFC’s potent offense is Valentin Castellanos, the 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner. Following up his 19-goal performance last season, Castellanos has netted five goals this season, tied for fourth-most in MLS thus far. NYCFC rank second in MLS with 2.38 goals per match and lead MLS with 17.6 shot attempts per match.

Sporting KC has weapons of their own. As highlighted earlier, showtime Salloi who has two goals this season, netted 16 last season, tied for the fourth-most in 2021. The 2021 Sporting KC Golden Boot winner also has assistance from fellow winger Johnny Russell. The Scotsman converted a penalty against Dallas giving him two goals on the season after he scored 15 last season. Midfielder Remi Walter also has two goals on the season.

Citi Field

The backdrop for Saturday’s match will be Citi Field in New York City. Sporting has had three road matches against NYCFC all at Yankee Stadium. Sporting took all three points from the inaugural matchup but has lost the last two. All told, Sporting is 2-3-0 against NYCFC and will look to even the series. This will be the first match between Sporting’s first-ever appearance at Citi Field.

Reigning champs

New York City FC are the current holders of the MLS Cup. In 2021 they finished the regular season in fourth place and knocked Atlanta United out of the playoffs in the opening round at Yankee Stadium. They then went and knocked out the Supporters’ Shield holding New England Revolution in penalties at Gillette Stadium. In the Eastern Conference Finals, NYCFC beat the Philadelphia Union on the road without Castellanos in the lineup. They captured MLS Cup glory at the Portland Timbers winning 4-2 on penalties. This will be the first time Sporting faces the reigning MLS Cup champions since 2019. Sporting has a 4-5-1 regular season record all-time against the cup holders.