Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 5
Saturday, March 25 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Apple TV | MLS Season Pass
English Radio | ESPN 94.5 FM and 1510 AM
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City will host reigning Concacaf Champions League winners Seattle Sounders FC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park. Tickets are available online from match sponsor SeatGeek, including standing room only tickets.
The Western Conference clash will kick off at 7:39 p.m. CT and will stream live on Apple TV for MLS Season Pass subscribers in both English and Spanish with pre-match programming starting at 7:10 p.m. CT. The MLS Season Pass subscription will feature every MLS match in 2023 and fans can watch on billions of devices through the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes and game consoles as well as on the web at tv.apple.com.
Saturday's showdown will be will be shown at each of the club's pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network and radio coverage will also air locally in English on ESPN 94.5 FM and 1510 AM, as well as in Spanish on La Grande 1340 AM with streams available in the Sporting KC app.
Two of the most successful clubs in the past decade of American soccer with four major domestic trophies apiece, Sporting and Seattle are each hoping for a return to the postseason in 2023 after missing out on the playoffs a year ago. Sporting eliminated the Sounders from postseason contention - marking their first absence from the MLS Cup Playoffs in club history - with a 1-0 win last October at Children's Mercy Park as Willy Agada bagged his eighth goal of the year and John Pulskamp recorded the clean sheet in the club's home finale.
Sporting has won five of the last seven meetings with the Sounders dating back to 2019, however the club is winless in five straight matches since the most recent victory over Seattle and will be looking for the team's first win of the 2023 season on Saturday. Daniel Salloi - who along with Agada is tied for the MLS lead this year with 25 touches in the opposition's penalty area - scored Sporting's first goal of the season last weekend in a 2-1 road loss at FC Dallas as SKC continue to lead MLS in shots (69) and shots on target (29).
While Sporting snapped a 283-minute scoreless streak to start the season last week, Seattle arrives in Kansas City amidst a run of 212 minutes without a goal - the longest active streak in MLS - despite leading the League in expected goals (8.79). The Sounders have lost five straight away games and are winless in 10 consecutive road matches overall (0-9-1), the longest such streak in the club's MLS history with all nine losses during the stretch coming by a single goal.
Meanwhile, Sporting are currently riding a seven match home unbeaten streak (6-0-1) during which SKC has outscored opponents 17-4 and allowed just one goal in the past five matches at Children's Mercy Park. Manager Peter Vermes will be without five players - Kortne Ford (Achilles), Logan Ndenbe (hamstring), Kayden Pierre (hamstring), Gadi Kinda (knee) and Marinos Tzionis (international duty) - while three additional players are questionable on the club's player availability report: newcomer Tim Leibold, club captain Johnny Russell and Designated Player Alan Pulido.
Russell has scored six goals in eight career regular season appearances against Seattle, however the team's 2022 MVP has been sidelined since preseason. Pulido missed all of 2022 due to knee surgery after recording 15 goals and eight assists in 36 matches across all competitions and the World Cup veteran has recently returned to full training for Sporting.
The Sounders will also be shorthanded on Saturday with six players on international duty, including starting striker Raul Ruidiaz, starting outside backs Nouhou and Alex Roldan, and 2022 FIFA World Cup representative Xavier Arreaga. Brazilian forward Heber started and scored in each of Seattle's first two matches of 2023, however the 31-year-old has missed the Sounders' last two matches with a hamstring strain.
Seattle's roster, which features former SKC midfielder Kelyn Rowe, is headlined by a plethora of MLS All-Stars in Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan, Yeimar and Joao Paulo. Roldan and Morris were each members of the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Morris is tied for second in MLS with three goals already in 2023.
On the opposite end of the field, the Sounders have conceded only once through their first four regular season matches. That stands as a league low so far in 2023 and the team's best defensive performance at this stage of a season since their inaugural MLS season in 2009.
The 2009 season also marked Graham Zusi's first of an MLS-record 15 seasons with Sporting Kansas City. The seven-time MLS All-Star and World Cup veteran is now poised to make his 400th career appearance for Sporting on Saturday. The club's all-time appearance leader, Zusi has the most regular season assists (73) among all active players in Major League Soccer and his 345 regular season appearances are most among one-club players in MLS history.