"Five Things" is a season-long series presented by the Children's Mercy Sports Medicine Center that highlights the top storylines and players to watch ahead of each match. To visit the series archive, click here.
One of the most anticipated MLS regular season matches in Children's Mercy Park history will take place Saturday night when second-place Sporting Kansas City (4-2-1, 13 points) hosts fourth-place Houston Dynamo FC (3-2-2, 11 points) in front of the first full-capacity crowd at the stadium since early 2020.
A limited number of tickets for the Western Conference clash are available at SeatGeek.com while supplies last and fans can catch the action from home on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, the Bally Sports app, BallySports.com, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
With tons to be excited about on Saturday, here are the five biggest storylines you need to know about the momentous matchup.
1. Full House
For the first time in almost 15 months, Children's Mercy Park will welcome a full house as Sporting transitions to 100% capacity. As a token of gratitude to the frontline workers who have served Kansas City during the pandemic, Sporting will welcome 1,000 local medical professionals for the match.
Houston coincidentally served as Sporting's opponent in the most recent full-capacity match at Children's Mercy Park on March 7, 2020. In a pulsating home opener, Manager Peter Vermes' men swept aside the Dynamo 4-0 as Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda scored on their stadium debuts.
2. Sporting Sustainability
When Sporting and Houston take the field on Saturday, they will be donning the new adidas PRIMEBLUE jerseys made from Parley Ocean plastic, upcycled plastic waste intercepted on shorelines and coastal areas. In the stands, supporters will have the opportunity to purchase the limited-edition kit at SportingStyle locations while supplies last. Furthermore, all fans who order a PRIMEBLUE jersey online at SportingStyle.com will receive a free reusable tote and be entered to win a pair of PRIMEBLUE adidas shoes. As part of the club’s Sporting Sustainability initiative, ticket holders will receive a sustainability bag upon exiting the stadium after the game.
3. New Beer, New Espresso
In partnership with Anheuser-Busch and Parisi Coffee, Sporting is excited to introduce two new beverage additions this weekend. We start with Sporting Argyle Amber Ale, a commemorative craft beer inspired by “A Force for Good” and Sporting's commitment to serve communities across the region. The beer will be available starting Saturday at the stadium and at pub partner locations across the metro. Over the course of 2021, a portion of profits from Sporting Argyle Amber Ale will go to Sporting Community Kitchen, one of the primary platforms of “A Force for Good.”
Secondly, Sporting and Kansas City-based specialty coffee roaster Parisi Coffee have launched “Il Mentore,” a co-branded espresso blend honoring—and personally selected by—Sporting Manager Peter Vermes. Now available at ParisiCoffee.com and Parisi cafes, Il Mentore will also debut at SportingStyle locations inside Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday.
4. Scintillating Strikers
Are Pulido and Daniel Salloi the hottest attacking duo in MLS? You could certainly make a good argument for it.
During the month of May, Pulido leads MLS with four goals and 25 shot attempts. That includes three goals and an assist in his last two games, which resulted in impressive Sporting wins over Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the San Jose Earthquakes. The 30-year-old Mexican international boasts back-to-back MLS Team of the Week honors and leads MLS since the start of 2020 with 0.99 goals and primary assists per 90 minutes played (regular season and playoffs).
Salloi, meanwhile, has three goals and two assists in seven appearances this year after logging a goal and an assist in the previous two seasons combined. The 24-year-old Sporting KC Academy product has scored in consecutive games and was particularly devastating against San Jose, becoming the second MLS player since 2020 to record a goal, a primary assist, four chances created and 85% passing accuracy in a game.
5. Comeback Kids
No matter the score, do not count this Sporting team out. Sporting already has nine points and three wins from losing positions this season—already eclipsing the eight comeback points they secured in both 2019 and 2020. For added context, no other MLS club has more than one comeback win and four points from losing positions this season.