Sporting Kansas City vs. Austin FC
2022 MLS Regular Season | Match 24
Saturday, July 30 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:38 kickoff)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Local TV | 38 The Spot
Streaming | SportingKC.com, SKC App, ESPN+
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City (5-13-5, 20 points) resumes the MLS regular season campaign with a Western Conference clash against Austin FC (12-5-5, 41 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park. Tickets are available online at SeatGeek.com, including the Soccer Capital of America Pack which includes tickets to both the Sporting KC and KC Current home matches this weekend as well as a limited edition co-branded scarf.
Saturday's showdown will be locally televised on 38 The Spot with three hours of coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT. The broadcast will also stream live on SportingKC.com and in the Sporting KC app for viewers in Kansas and Missouri (excluding the St. Louis area per MLS policy), as well as ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers. In addition, the match will air live on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
After hosting first-place LAFC last Saturday, Sporting KC will welcome second-place Austin FC to Kansas City this Saturday in the first of two match-ups between the teams in the next two weeks. The clubs met three times during Austin's inaugural MLS season a year ago, splitting the series with 1-1-1 records, as Sporting earned a 2-1 win and a 1-1 draw in the pair of contests at Children's Mercy Park.
Manager Peter Vermes' squad will close out a busy stretch of the schedule on Saturday with the team's seventh match of July and third in the past eight days after falling in penalties in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Wednesday. Sporting has lost the team's last four regular season home matches and will be aiming to snap the skid against Austin FC to avoid the team's first five-game regular season home losing streak since 1999.
While Sporting ranks last in MLS in goals per match (0.83) this season, Austin FC lead MLS in goals scored (45) and goals per match (2.05). Designated Player Sebastian Driussi leads the MLS Golden Boot race with a league-high 13 goals to go along with seven assists, one shy of Diego Fagundez for the team lead in that category as well. Two Austin FC newcomers have also bolstered the Austin attack in their debut seasons as Maxi Urruti has contributed seven goals and two assists alongside Ethan Finlay, who has five goals and five assists in 2022.
After going 2-13-2 away from home last season, Austin FC has an MLS-best 7-3-2 road record this year and enter Saturday's match unbeaten in their past five road trips (4-0-1). The visitors are 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, returning to their old stomping grounds this weekend.
Sporting KC defender Ben Sweat played under Wolff and Arnaud last season and will have his first opportunity to face his former club on Saturday. The 30-year-old outside back led all players in both tackles won and interceptions in Wednesday's scoreless draw in Sacramento.
Club captain Johnny Russell, who ranks third in club history with 46 regular season goals, leads Sporting with eight goals in all competitions. Midfielder Felipe Hernandez, who has appeared in all 27 matches this year, has recorded a team-best and career-high four assists in all competitions.
Sporting KC will be without five players on Saturday, including Designated Players Alan Pulido (knee) and Gadi Kinda (knee) as well as veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia (hamstring). Khiry Shelton is questionable with a calf injury sustained in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup Semifinal in Sacramento. On the opposite side, Austin FC defenders Hector Jimenez (groin) and Frederik Kleeman (knee) have been ruled out due to injury.
Following Saturday's match, The Final Whistle postgame show will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Chad Reynolds and Dave Borchardt. Listeners can tune in via the Sporting KC mobile app or online at 810WHB.com.