Sporting Kansas City (2-6-0, 6 points) will host the Columbus Crew (2-3-2, 8 points) at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday, April 23 as the two sides face off in Kansas City for the first time in nearly four years.
Kickoff for the interconference clash is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and will air on 38 The Spot with Nate Bukaty, Jacob Peterson and Aly Trost on the call. Fans can also stream the match via Sporting One in the Sporting KC Mobile App and stream the contest at SportingKC.com.
Saturday presents the only matchup between these two in the regular season and tickets are available for purchase at SeatGeek.com as the 2020 MLS Cup Champions come to town.
Here are five storylines to have your eye on as Sporting KC welcomes the Crew to Children’s Mercy Park.
MLS originals meet again
Both Sporting and Columbus have been around since the dawn of MLS in 1996. With 56 matches played against each other in the regular season, Columbus is one of Sporting’s most common historical opponents, despite the two playing in separate conferences. Sporting holds an all-time record of 26-22-8 over the Crew. The two sides have met in the playoffs on one occasion with the Crew taking home a 3-1 aggregate win over the then Kansas City Wizards in 2008. Despite the frequent historical meetings, Sporting has not seen Columbus in any capacity since 2019 and has not hosted them since 2018.
It’s been a minute
Having not locked horns in almost three years, Sporting and Columbus are ready to square up on Saturday. The 1,035-day hiatus from one another is the longest gap between matchups for the two clubs ever. In the 2019 matchup, Sporting claimed a 1-0 victory in Columbus on the heels of a Felipe Gutierrez match-winner. In the last matchup in Kansas City, neither side found the back of the net as the match concluded in a scoreless draw on May 27, 2018.
Sporting collecting wins against the Crew
While the meetings have become more infrequent, Sporting’s results against the Crew are still commonplace. Sporting are unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Crew (2-0-2) and have not lost to them since 2015. Dating all the way back to 2013, Sporting hold a 7-1-2 advantage in their last 10 meetings, at one point winning five in a row.
The points have also come to Sporting in front of the home fans. All-time, Sporting are 14-9-3 when playing in front of home crowds. That win percentage against Columbus has only improved since Children’s Mercy Park opened its doors with Sporting posting a 5-1-1 record against Columbus at the world-class venue. The Crew’s one victory at Children’s Mercy Park was nearly 10 years ago on July 28, 2012.
More milestones on the horizon
This season, Sporting KC and their players have already surpassed some major milestones. Sporting Captain Johnny Russell surpassed 10,000 career minutes for Sporting, showtime Daniel Salloi made his 100th start in all competitions and Graham Zusi become the all-time minutes leader in club history. Saturday presents another milestone marker opportunity for a handful of deserving players.
As a club, Sporting is just one goal away from the 700th all-time home goal scored, and just three goals shy of 400 goals scored at Children’s Mercy Park in competitive matches. On an individual level, midfielder Roger Espinoza is one shy of passing Matt Besler for the second-most regular season appearances in a Sporting uniform. The two are currently tied at 294. Goalkeeper and world-renowned penalty stopper, Tim Melia is one start shy of the seventh-most regular season starts in club history, and six saves away from 600 career saves. Russell is also one shy of his 500th professional appearance for both club and country.
Columbus’ recent form
The Columbus Crew started the 2022 MLS regular season off blazing. They thumped the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 in their opening match, pulled out a 3-3 draw on the road against San Jose and erased a one-goal halftime deficit to take a 2-1 win over Toronto. Since then, the crew are 0-4-1 in all competitions with two total goals scored. Their most recent result was a midweek loss at Detroit City FC in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, resulting in their elimination from the tournament.
Columbus finds themselves in the midst of a four-match losing skid, with three of those losses coming in MLS regular season play. They are on a 270-minute goalless drought in MLS regular season matches as well. They have a talented core group headlined by Lucas Zelarayan (four goals, two assists), Derrick Etienne (two goals, two assists) and Darlington Nagbe (one goal) that following a hot start, have cooled off as of late.