Match Preview

Match Preview: SKC hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday for club's annual Sporting Salutes theme night


Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 22
Saturday, July 1 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.

Broadcast Schedule:
Apple TV | MLS Season Pass
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Sporting KC will kick off the Fourth of July festivities this Saturday when the club hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps FC with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. CT at Children's Mercy Park followed by a special post-match fireworks show for fans.

Tickets for the Western Conference clash are available at SeatGeek, including the  Americana Pack, the  Coca-Cola Friends & Family 4-Pack and the  Sporting U Pass. Saturday's match will be the team's sixth annual Sporting Salutes theme night as Sporting honors the service and sacrifice of military members and their families.

The enhanced matchday experience will feature a pre-match naturalization ceremony on the Mazuma Plaza, where fans will be able to see military vehicles on display from the Kansas National Guard and Fort Riley. Anheuser-Busch will also host a tailgate on the Mazuma Plaza for service members as well as a pre-match check presentation to Folds of Honor.

Sporting KC players will warm up in the new adidas Americana pre-match top -- available to pre-order for matchday pickup on - and will walk onto the field with children of local Gold Star Families. A C-130 will fly over Children's Mercy Park prior to kickoff and the flyover crew will be recognized on field at halftime during a special presentation for Gold Star and Survivor Families in attendance.

All fans with a military ID can receive 50% off value menu items, Coca-Cola products and 25-ounce Michelob Ultra or Bud Light cans at Children's Mercy Park concessions on Saturday. Sporting Kansas City will also recognize three local organizations who support military families - Friends in Service of Heroes (FISH), Survivor Outreach Services and Fisher House -- during halftime.

Saturday's encounter comes four weeks after Kansas City and Vancouver played to a 1-1 draw north of the border as two of Major League Soccer's most in-form players traded goals at BC Place. Alan Pulido scored his first of six goals in June during the draw and was voted MLS Player of the Month on Friday. Ryan Gauld, the reigning MLS Player of the Matchday, equalized with a penalty in the 88th minute and enters Saturday's showdown with goals in four straight games - the longest active streak in the league and one shy of the club record set by Camilo Sanvezzo in 2013.

Pulido has scored four goals in three career regular season appearances against Vancouver - tied for his most against any MLS opponent - including a goal on his MLS debut in 2020. The Mexican international leads Sporting with 11 goal contributions (eight goals, three assists) across all competitions in 2023 and is set to make his 50th career regular season appearance on Saturday.

While Sporting KC are coming off a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Chicago and looking to snap a three-game winless skid, Vancouver were victorious at reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC last weekend. The 3-2 road win snapped a 15-match winless run away from home in MLS play as the 'Caps goals came courtesy of Ranko Veselinovic, Brian White and Gauld.

Vancouver, the back-to-back Canadian Championship winners, will be in action on Canada Day as head coach Vanni Sartini looks to improve on his 3-0-1 regular season record against Sporting Kansas City since becoming the club's manager in August 2021. However, Sartini will be without three players currently competing in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup with Julian Gressel (United States), Javain Brown (Jamaica) and Ali Ahmed (Canada) all on international duty. In addition, three 'Caps contributors are listed on the team's player availability report with Tristan Blackmon (heel) and Russell Teibert (knee) ruled out while White (hip) is questionable.

Sporting Kansas City has four players - Tim Melia (quad), Kortne Ford (Achilles, Graham Zusi (hamstring) and Willy Agada (tibia) - sidelined with extended injury absences. Left back Logan Ndenbe (hamstring) has been upgraded to questionable after missing the team's last four matches and right back Kayden Pierre (hamstring) is also questionable.

Apple TV will stream the match in English, Spanish and French for MLS Season Pass subscribers (sign up for 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.