Match Preview

Match Preview: Sporting KC set for showdown in St. Louis on Saturday

Sporting Kansas City at St. Louis CITY SC
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 32
Saturday, Sept. 30 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
CITYPARK | St. Louis, Missouri

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

With three matches remaining in the regular season, Sporting Kansas City and St. Louis CITY SC will meet for a third time on Saturday in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer's newest rivalry.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT at the $458-million CITYPark and Saturday's showdown will be available free on Apple TV in English and Spanish via MLS Season Pass. Local radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app, while pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network will also show all of the action including an enhanced watch party at No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District.

Building on a history of soccer competition between teams from Kansas City and St. Louis that spans more than 100 years, the season series between the cross-state clubs -- with stadiums separated by 250 miles in the heart of America -- is deadlocked with one home win apiece, setting the stage for a highly-anticipated rubber match with bragging rights hanging in the balance. The teams last met earlier this month as Sporting KC avenged a 4-0 loss in May with a 2-1 win at Children's Mercy Park behind a first-half brace from Alan Pulido.

The Mexican striker leads Sporting with 13 goals, fifth most in MLS this season, however the World Cup veteran is questionable on the club's injury report after missing the team's last match with a quad contusion. Willy Agada stepped in to score the game-winning goal in a gutsy 2-1 victory over Houston that saw Sporting play shorthanded for over an hour against the U.S. Open Cup champions after a controversial red card to Johnny Russell which will result in a one-match suspension for the club captain to serve on Saturday.

Sporting Kansas City sits in 10th place in the Western Conference, two points shy of playoff position, with the three teams directly ahead of SKC in the standings also playing on the road on Saturday. A victory in St. Louis could move Sporting above the playoff line and would also move Manager Peter Vermes into third place on Major League Soccer's all-time coaching chart for regular season wins with a milestone 300th win in his MLS career.

Most wins in MLS as head coach
(regular season only)

1. Bruce Arena 262
2. Sigi Schmid 240
3. Bob Bradley 194
4. Peter Vermes 193
5. Dominic Kinnear 170

Most wins in MLS as player and/or head coach
(regular season and postseason)

1. Peter Vermes 299
2. Bruce Arena 297
3. Greg Vanney 290

In his first full season as a manager, head coach Bradley Carnell has guided St. Louis to one of the best regular season campaigns by an expansion team in MLS history despite the lowest payroll in the Western Conference. Eight points clear of LAFC and Seattle atop the West, St. Louis is aiming to become the only expansion team to finish in first place in league history and the club's 16 wins are most by an expansion side since the Chicago Fire won 18 games in regulation in 1998.

The highest scoring team in the West, St. Louis is led by KC native Nicholas Gioacchini (10 goals, one assist) and the Designated Player duo of Joao Klauss (eight goals, four assists) and Eduard Lowen (six goals, 11 assists). Defensively, Roman Burki leads the league with 114 saves as the highest paid goalkeeper in Major League Soccer and was a 2023 MLS All-Star alongside centerback Tim Parker.

Since suffering the 2-1 loss in Kansas City at the start of the month, St. Louis CITY SC is unbeaten in the team's last four matches (1-0-3) and is coming off a 2-1 come-from-behind road win in Minnesota last weekend. In addition, St. Louis is unbeaten in five straight home matches (4-0-1) at CITYPARK since the start of July.

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. Fans were able to take advantage of discounts on the Amtrak Missouri River Runner® with free Parisi Coffee at Union Station on departure and the club has several activities planned for the away trip experience, including a happy hour from 8-10 p.m. on Friday at The Pitch Athletic Club and Tavern as well as a pre-match tailgate from 4:30-6:15 p.m. on Saturday at 2310 Market St.