Match Preview

Match Preview: Sporting KC kicks off rivalry with St. Louis CITY SC on Saturday


Sporting Kansas City at St. Louis CITY SC
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 14
Saturday, May 20 | 8:30 p.m. CT (8:55 kickoff)
CITYPARK | St. Louis, Missouri

Broadcast Schedule:
TV | FS1 and FOX Deportes
Apple TV | Free on MLS Season Pass
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Sporting Kansas City and St. Louis CITY SC will kick off Major League Soccer's newest rivalry with the highly-anticipated inaugural match-up between the clubs at 8:55 p.m. CT on Saturday at CITYPARK in St. Louis.

Saturday's showdown will be nationally televised on FS1 and FOX Deportes, and will be available to watch free on Apple TV in both English and Spanish. In addition, local radio coverage will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams available in the Sporting KC App.

Chicken N Pickle (5901 W. 135th St.) in Overland Park, Kansas will host Sporting Kansas City's official watch party for STLvSKC on Saturday. Chicken N Pickle is part of the Sporting Pub Network  with pub partners throughout the region showing every Sporting Kansas City match during the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

More than 500 Sporting Kansas City supporters will be in attendance on Saturday through the club's longstanding tradition of offering complimentary tickets to away matches for Season Ticket Members and supporters group members. Over 100 fans were welcomed to St. Louis on Friday by Sporting Kansas City players and coaches after arriving via the Amtrak Missouri River Runner®. The group received free round-trip tickets from club partner SeatGeek and a specialized sendoff featuring Soccer Capital of America rally towels and koozies, as well as free Parisi Coffee and a travel backpack filled with items from adidas, BODYARMOR, Guy's Snacks and Herbalife. 

CITYPARK, a new $458 million soccer-specific stadium with 22,500 seats, will be the site for two of the three matches between Sporting Kansas City and St. Louis CITY SC in 2023. Saturday's winner will hold bragging rights until Labor Day weekend when Children's Mercy Park hosts the rematch in Kansas City on Sept. 2 before the club's play for the final time on Sept. 30 in match 32 of a 34-game regular season campaign.

Sporting Kansas City, a charter member of Major League Soccer with 28 years of history since the inaugural 1996 season, will play an expansion side in St. Louis CITY SC - the SC purportedly standing for both Soccer Club and Soccer Capital - which boasts 11 MLS matches in their all-time club archives. Nevertheless, the professional soccer history between the two cities dates back 55 years to the debut of the North American Soccer League in 1968 when the Kansas City Spurs finished first in a four-team division that also included the St. Louis Stars.

The Spurs would go on to win the league in 1969 - a feat the Stars never accomplished in 10 NASL seasons - and professional outdoor soccer teams from Kansas City and St. Louis would not meet in a competitive match for more than four decades from Aug. 23, 1970 to June 16, 2015, when Sporting defeated Saint Louis FC en route to winning the club's third of four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships to go along with two MLS Cup titles.

Separated by 250 miles on Interstate 70, the long-standing sports rivalry between Kansas City and St. Louis is filled with memorable moments - none bigger than the the Royals beating the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series - and will enter a new era as soccer in North America builds toward the FIFA World Cup 2026 with Kansas City one of 16 host cities selected from 41 bids. St. Louis did not bid for the opportunity to host matches during the next World Cup, however will host the 2026 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists.

Veteran MLS official Chris Penso -- with more than 200 career MLS matches of experience and a league-high 10 games officiated this year - will be entrusted with referee responsibilities on Saturday as Sporting KC closes out a busy stretch of five games in 14 days, including four away trips for an SKC side that will play its league-leading ninth road match in the first 14 matchdays. Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in MLS play over the past two weeks, earning back-to-back wins against Seattle and Minnesota before securing a 1-1 road result at reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC on Wednesday with a goal from club captain Johnny Russell.

St. Louis CITY SC received a bye from mid-week action on Wednesday and will be looking to bounce back from a string of three straight losses in all competitions, falling to the Chicago Fire last week twice in a span of five days. After becoming the first MLS expansion side to win its opening five games, St. Louis is 1-4-1 in the team's past six MLS matches with the lone victory coming in impressive fashion over Supporters' Shield leaders FC Cincinnati by a 5-1 scoreline.

Led by manager Bradley Carnell in his first full-time stint as a head coach, St. Louis CITY SC's roster features the Designated Player duo of Brazilian forward Joao Klauss and German midfielder Eduard Loewen as well as KC natives Niko Gioacchini and Jacob Bartlett. Klauss has contributed five goals and four assists for a team that leads MLS with two goals per game, however Klauss is questionable for Saturday's match after missing the last three matches. Loewen has recorded two goals and five assists this season as one of four players to start all 11 regular season matches for the club along with Swiss goalkeeper Roman Burki, the club's highest paid player and the highest paid goalkeeper in Major League Soccer.

St. Louis CITY SC defender John Nelson will miss his first MLS match of the year on Saturday while serving a one-game suspension. St. Louis will also be without Swedish midfielder Rasmus Alm - who had a goal contribution in his last four matches before being sidelined -- and Swedish centerback Joakim Nilsson, who underwent knee surgery prior to the start of the season. Five Sporting Kansas City players will miss the match due to injury as Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes remains without starting goalkeeper Tim Melia, as well as a pair of defenders (Kortne Ford and Kayden Pierre) and a pair of forwards (Willy Agada and Khiry Shelton).