Five Things

Another Western Conference road test awaits Sporting Kansas City as they face the Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field in a Saturday afternoon showdown at 2 p.m. CT. Coverage of the match will be on ABC and ESPN Deportes as Sporting looks to keep their hot streak in Seattle rolling.

After a 6-0 offensive clinic Wednesday night in the Open Cup Quarterfinals, Sporting has won back-to-back matches. In MLS play they snapped Nashville’s 25-straight home unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at GEODIS Park last Sunday. Now the attention turns to one of the best in the west in Seattle.

Here are five storylines to have an eye on as Sporting Kansas City takes on the Seattle Sounders.

Back-to-back

Coming off FIFA’s international break, Sporting Kansas City, and Kansas City as a whole have been red hot. FIFA named Kansas City one of 16 host cities for the FIFA World Cup 2026 last Thursday, and the side has advanced to the Open Cup semifinals where they will face Sacramento Republic FC for a right to go to the finals. The side appears to be rounding into form as they have now won back-to-back, high-stakes matches.

On Sunday, June 19, Sporting played their first MLS match in Nashville ever, also becoming one of the first teams to play at brand-new GEODIS Park. Sporting promptly handed Nashville their first home loss in their new stadium and first home loss since Nov. 2020. Felipe Hernandez struck in the 41st with a 38-yard free kick he skipped past Joe Willis, and Graham Zusi blasted a wonder strike into the top corner to give Sporting two goals which they would use to win 2-1. The club followed that performance up with a six-goal thrashing of Union Omaha. Hernandez and Daniel Salloi bagged braces, while Khiry Shelton and Kortne Ford each added a goal of their own.

Offense has come alive

On the topic of the six-goal match, Sporting’s offense appears to be coming to life. Their six-goal margin of victory ties the all-time club high for a match. The offense was coming from all levels of the field. Ford’s goal was his first in Sporting blue, and his first time finding the back of the net since he scored against Sporting on May 27, 2017. Hernandez’s brace gave him two consecutive matches with a goal, and three total on the season. Salloi’s first goal put him in a tie with Dom Dwyer for the club record in goals in the Open Cup, and his second gave him a solo hold on the record with seven Open Cup goals.

Looking good at Lumen Field

With the offense firing on all cylinders, Sporting heads to a stadium that they have found success in, in recent seasons. In 2021 Sporting defeated Seattle on the road twice, becoming just the second MLS team ever to win two matches in Seattle in the same season. Sporting has won four of their last five matches at Lumen Field and has a current record of 8-3-3 in their last 14 matches against the Sounders, dating back to 2015.

Sporting’s captain Johnny Russell kicks it into high gear against Seattle. He has six goals, and one assist in just seven matchups with Seattle. His six goals vs. the Sounders are his most against any one club in MLS. All of these stats are all the more impressive when you consider Saturday’s opponents.

Seeing Seattle

The 2022 Seattle Sounders currently find themselves in seventh place in the west. Head coach Brian Schmetzer and the Sounders have kept Lumen Field a stronghold this season, going 4-2-1 in front of their home fans. They are in the midst of a five-match home stand, earning three consecutive results. Seattle is headlined by forward Raul Ruidiaz and midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro. The duo is tied with eight goals in all competitions. Ruidiaz is joined by forward Fredy Montero atop the club’s leaderboard with 55 regular season club goals. A solid Seattle side awaits a red-hot Sporting KC side on Saturday.

Perennial powerhouses

Since joining MLS in 2009, Seattle has yet to miss the playoffs. They have won four of the last six Western Conference championships and became the first MLS team to win the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, in its modern form, in May. This makes Sporting’s record against Seattle since 2015 even more spectacular.

Sporting and Seattle are two of the best in the west. Sporting’s four Open Cup titles are only matched by Seattle and Chicago in MLS. Sporting is the only one of those three teams with a shot to win a tournament-record-tying fifth Dewar Cup. A fiery rivalry with no love lost between these two is set for Saturday, as Sporting looks to improve on their already amazing record in Seattle.