Match Preview

Match Preview: Sporting KC to face MLS champions LAFC on Wednesday


Sporting Kansas City at Los Angeles FC
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 13
Wednesday, May 17 | 9:30 p.m. CT (9:39 kickoff)
BMO Stadium | Los Angeles, California

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

Boosted by wins in back-to-back MLS matches, Sporting Kansas City will travel to the West Coast to take on reigning Supporters' Shield winners and MLS Cup champions Los Angeles FC at 9:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday at BMO Stadium.

The Western Conference clash will be broadcast live on Apple TV for MLS Season Pass subscribers and local radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams available in the Sporting KC App. Fans can also enjoy all the action at each of the club's pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network, including No Other Pub (1370 Grand Blvd.) in the Kansas City Power & Light District. No Other Pub's matchday specials will start at 8:30 p.m. CT., highlighted by $4 domestics, $5 wells and 50% off select appetizers.

Wednesday's showdown in Tinseltown sees Sporting continue a stretch of five matches in 14 days during which the club plays on the road four times - including trips to the top three teams in the Western Conference. Ten days after stunning the first-place Seattle Sounders with a 2-1 road win, Sporting will face a formidable LAFC side sitting in second place in the Western Conference and second in Major League Soccer in points per game.

LAFC too is tasked with a congested calendar as the team is the first in MLS history to reach the Concacaf Champions League final twice and will be navigating the club's fourth of six straight mid-week matches on Wednesday. Both teams enter the Matchday 13 finale coming off 3-0 wins in Matchday 12 as Sporting KC put in a strong performance at home against Minnesota United FC on Saturday while LAFC picked up all three points on the road at Real Salt Lake.

Daniel Salloi contributed a goal and the game-winning assist for Sporting on Saturday as the MLS All-Star now has four goal contributions in his past four MLS matches, while Dany Rosero tallied the game-winning goal to earn MLS Team of the Matchday honors for both players. Designated Player Gadi Kinda was also on the scoresheet for the first time since 2021 after missing the 2022 season with a knee injury and Sporting's last seven regular season goals have now been scored by seven different players.

Despite the balanced attack and offensive outburst, Sporting remains last in the league in goals scored this season and will be up against an LAFC offense that leads the league in goals per game courtesy of the Designated Player duo of Denis Bouanga and Carlos Vela. Bouanga leads the MLS Golden Boot race with nine goals, including goals in three straight MLS matches, and has 15 goals and six assists in 17 matches across all competitions this year.

Vela, the three-time MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI selection who set the all-time single-season scoring record with 34 goals in 2019 as the league MVP, is tied for third in MLS with five assists and has scored six goals in all competitions. Since arriving in Major League Soccer in 2018, Vela leads the league in regular season goals (72) and total goal contributions (124) when adding his 52 assists.

LAFC's goal-scoring prowess is backed by an equally impressive defensive unit as head coach Steve Cherundolo's squad has conceded the fewest goals in the Western Conference. MLS Cup MVP John McCarthy anchors the team in net with Maxime Crepeau out, while LAFC added MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long in the offseason to play behind former Sporting KC standout Ilie Sanchez (2017-2021). Cherundolo became the only manager in MLS history to win the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup double as a first-year head coach in 2022, continuing the winning ways for a team that leads MLS with a .622 regular season winning percentage since joining the league in 2018.

The club has been especially successful inside BMO Stadium, where LAFC has the best home record over the past six seasons and has started the 2023 regular season campaign with a perfect 4-0-0 mark in front of their fans. Sporting will have history on its side, however, as the only MLS club to have won multiple times at BMO Stadium in the regular season with a 2-0 road result in 2018 and a memorable 4-1 victory in 2021 highlighted by goals from Salloi, Kinda and Alan Pulido.

On Wednesday, Sporting Manager Peter Vermes will become the third coach in MLS history to manage 450 regular season matches and the only to do so with one club, Vermes will be without five players due to injury as defenders Kortne Ford (Achilles) and Kayden Pierre (hamstring) as well as forwards Willy Agada (fractured tibia) and Khiry Shelton (adductor) remain sidelined. In addition, goalkeeper Tim Melia exited Saturday's match in the second half with a quad injury and defender Tim Leibold has missed the team's last nine MLS matches with a hamstring injury.