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Sporting Kansas City will host the LA Galaxy in a Major League Soccer showdown at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday. It will be the first meeting between the two MLS charter clubs in 2022 and will air nationally on TUDN and UniMas with a live stream available on Twitter. Tickets for Saturday are on sale at SeatGeek.com.

A season ago, Sporting swept the Galaxy, winning two matches both by a 2-0 scoreline. The two teams will meet again, less than a month after their first matchup, in Carson California on Sept. 4. Saturday will be the 67th all-time meeting between Sporting and LA.

Here are five things to know for the Western Conference battle between Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy.

Sporting Salutes

Sporting KC takes on the LA Galaxy on Saturday night in the club's fifth annual Sporting Salutes match with a Purple Hearts focus. The first 10,000 people through the Children's Mercy Park gates will receive a Sporting Salutes lapel pin sponsored by UMB. Also at the match, fans will have the opportunity to purchase Sporting Salutes gear including the white-camo training top, hat and scarf at all Sporting Style locations in the stadium.

Pre-match, the Mazuma plaza will feature four organizations (Heart of America Patriot Foundation, Hiring Our Heroes, Saint Michael’s Veterans Center and Veterans Community Project) dedicated to helping veterans. Five military vehicles will also be on display and the national anthem will be punctuated with a flyover from A-10 Warthogs. The crew that performs the flyover will be honored at halftime.

Children's Mercy Park kryptonite

The World-class, top-of-the-charts soccer-specific stadium Children's Mercy Park hosted its first soccer match in 2011. The La Galaxy made their debut in the stadium on Sept. 5, 2011, leaving Kansas City with just a point after Omar Bravo sank a penalty in second-half stoppage time to tie the match at two. All told, the Galaxy have played in 10 MLS regular season matches at Children's Mercy Park, and have won just one. Their lone win was a 2-0 match that came on May 29, 2019.

Sporting boasts a 5-1-4 record at Children's Mercy Park against LA, and a 17-9-8 record all-time home record. Most recently, Sporting sent the Galaxy back to the sunshine state empty-handed on Oct. 27, 2021, at the tail end of the season. Midfielder Gadi Kinda assisted on two Johnny Russell goals on either side of halftime. Goalkeeper John Pulskamp became the youngest goalkeeper in Sporting history to record a clean sheet in an MLS match en route to Sporting's 2-0 win.

JFR stars against LA

On the topic of Johnny Russell, Sporting's skipper strikes often against the Galaxy. The forward has five goals in six appearances against LA, including two game-winning goals. He scored three times on them last season, an 81st-minute goal to put Sporting on top on July 4, and the brace on Oct. 27. In his first-ever appearance against LA, Russell doubled Sporting's lead to lift them past the Galaxy 2-0 on April 8, 2018. That same year he earned a draw for Sporting at Children's Mercy Park, answering Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal with one of his own in the 83rd. The Scotsman is Sporting's leading scorer with six goals this season and eight in all competitions.

First goal wins?

The LA Galaxy currently sit in ninth place in the west after enjoying 21 weeks above the playoff line. With a record of 9-10-3, they sit two points back of that seventh and final playoff spot, behind two teams. When taking a deeper dive into their record some interesting numbers pop out that tell the tale of their season.

For instance, LA is a perfect 5-0-0 when leading at half. They are an impressive 4-2-1 when tied at half, however, they are 0-9-1 when trailing. When scoring the first goal, LA is 8-1-1, but, when they concede first their record is 1-9-1. Despite their frequent, late-match goal scoring, – 40% of their goals come after the 60th minute – the Galaxy have struggled to erase deficits and come back when trailing at the break. Sporting have a solid 4-2-2 record when scoring first this season. Whoever nets the first score of the match on Saturday will have a huge advantage over the other side.

Galaxy's recent road struggles

Another fact working to Sporting's advantage is the recent struggles on the road the Galaxy have had. This LA side has three consecutive road losses, last picking up a win away from Dignity Health Sports Park on May 8 at Austin. Their last road result was a 1-1 draw at Minnesota on May 18. During this three-match stretch, the Galaxy have been outscored 6-2, being shut out in two consecutive matches. They are also coming off a midweek match, having participated in the Leagues Cup Showcase at SoFi Stadium against Chivas de Guadalajara. Sporting will look to continue LA's road struggles, and keep the history of Sporting's success against them at Children's Mercy Park going on Saturday.