Sporting Kansas City vs. Austin FC
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 18
Saturday, June 10 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Apple TV | MLS Season Pass
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Riding the momentum of a three-match home winning streak, Sporting Kansas City will host Austin FC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in the club's 250th competitive match at Children's Mercy Park.
Sporting KC took the field at the state-of-the-art stadium for the first time 12 years ago today and the milestone match will kick off a stretch of four straight Saturdays with MLS action at Children's Mercy Park.
Tickets for the Western Conference clash are available fee-free at SeatGeek, including the Sporting U Pass featuring $15 Supporters' Stand tickets for college students and the Coca-Cola Friends & Family 4-Pack featuring four chicken tender meals, four 20-ounce Coca-Cola products and four tickets for $100. Fans can also pre-order team apparel for matchday pick-up at SportingStyle.com - including the Charlie Hustle x Sporting KC collection -- and all value items will be $1 off at Children's Mercy Park concessions.
Saturday's showdown will be broadcast live in English and Spanish on Apple TV with MLS Season Pass subscriptions now available for over 50% off for the remainder of the season as well as a one-month free trial . Local radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app and all of the action will be shown by pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network.
Sporting Kansas City (4-8-5, 17 pts.) takes on Austin FC (5-7-4, 19 pts.) in a match-up of two teams that endured tough starts to the 2023 season before finding their form as Sporting are now 4-1-2 in the past seven matches following a 10-game winless start, while Austin has climbed above the playoff line after going winless in eight league games from March 18 to May 13.
Sporting continued the club’s recent run last week, taking seven points in seven days for the first time in club history with a pair of home wins over Portland and Dallas before picking up a point in Vancouver with a 1-1 draw against the Whitecaps last Saturday. Alan Pulido scored his third goal of the season in the road result and now has 26 goal contributions (16 goals, 10 assist) in 36 career MLS regular season starts.
With half of the regular-season slate still to play, Sporting sits two points back of Austin FC and two points back of playoff position amidst a five-game stretch in the schedule that features match-ups with all four Western Conference semifinalists from the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs as well as the reigning Canadian Championship winners.
Austin FC, who finished second in the West in 2022 and advanced to the Western Conference Final, is led by a pair of Sporting Legends with head coach Josh Wolff, who played seven seasons in Kansas City, and assistant coach Davy Arnaud, who played 10 seasons in Kansas City, guiding the club in its third season. Wolff and Arnaud rank fourth on KC's all-time goals scored chart with 43 regular season goals, one ahead of Sporting KC striker Daniel Salloi.
Salloi has scored in Sporting's last three home matches and will look to score in a fourth straight on Saturday, a feat he previously accomplished in 2021 when the Sporting KC Academy product was an MLS All-Star and MLS MVP finalist. Preki is the only player in club history to score in four consecutive regular season home matches on multiple occasions, doing so twice in the inaugural 1996 campaign.
Salloi ranks fifth in MLS this season with 20 shots on goal and the 26-year-old Hungarian will be up against an Austin FC side that allows the most shots per game in MLS this season. Austin is bolstered by the return of centerback Julio Cascante, who was injured in their season opener and missed the next eight matches, as well the attacking duo of Sebastian Driussi and Diego Fagundez who ranked second in MLS in goals and assists, respectively, a year ago.
Driussi, runner-up for MLS MVP in 2022, has three goals this season and has scored in each of the last three regular season encounters with Sporting KC, including a goal 37 seconds into Austin's home win in 2021 as well as goals in the 90th and 94th minutes of last year's two meetings.
Sporting earned four points with a win and a draw in the first two matches against Austin FC in 2021, however Austin has won three straight in the series since and swept the fixture in 2022. Forward Gyasi Zardes arrived in the Texas capital ahead of the 2023 campaign and the longtime U.S. Men's National Team striker has goals in three of his past four matches, while Austin FC original Jon Gallagher leads all MLS defenders with five goals on the year.
Saturday will see Sporting shorthanded with seven individuals ruled out and two others questionable on the club's player availability report. Andreu Fontas and Logan Ndenbe each exited the team's match in Vancouver a week ago with hamstring concerns while Johnny Russell, Willy Agada, Graham Zusi, Kayden Pierre, Kortne Ford, Tim Melia and Dany Rosero all were sidelined last Saturday. For Austin FC, defenders Žan Kolmanič and Leo Väisänen are each out with ACL injuries while defender Aleksandar Radovanović and Sofiane Djeffal are both questionable.