Match Preview

Match Preview: Sporting KC visits first-place Seattle Sounders on Sunday


Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 11
Sunday, May 7 | 3:30 p.m. CT (3:55 kickoff)
Lumen Field | Seattle, Washington

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV | FOX
Spanish TV | FOX Deportes
Apple TV | Free on MLS Season Pass
English Radio | ESPN 94.5 FM and 1510 AM
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the busiest and arguably the toughest stretch of the team's season this Sunday with the first of five matches in the next 14 days with four of those five matches coming on the road including away trips to the top three teams in the Western Conference.

The action kicks off at 3:55 p.m. CT on Sunday at Lumen Field as Sporting takes on the reigning Concacaf Champions League winners and current Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders FC in a nationally televised match-up.

Sunday's showdown will air on on FOX and FOX Deportes, and will also stream free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV in both English and Spanish. In addition, the MLS Matchday 11 finale 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.

Mired in a four-match losing streak, Sporting Kansas City enter Sunday's matinee match-up hoping to snap a club-record 11-match winless run that dates back to the 2022 season. Sporting's last victory came against Seattle in October as SKC eliminated the Sounders from postseason contention - marking their first absence from the MLS Cup Playoffs in team history - with a 1-0 win at Children's Mercy Park.

Since, Seattle has enjoyed a resurgence - becoming the first team to represent MLS at the FIFA Club World Cup in February - and the Sounders sit atop the Western Conference with a 6-2-2 record boosted by a 4-0-1 mark at Lumen Field, where a visiting team is yet to score in 2023. Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City will arrive in Seattle in the midst of a 12-match road winless run in the regular season and in need of a win on Sunday to avoid equaling the league record for the longest winless streak to start a season, set by Real Salt Lake (2007) and the Colorado Rapids (2019).

Sporting and Seattle have already met once in 2023 with the Sounders claiming a 4-1 victory at Children’s Mercy Park on March 25. Willy Agada gave Sporting an early lead, but Seattle roared back with four goals from Jordan Morris on four assists from Leo Chu as Sporting was reduced to 10 men in the second half. Morris, who featured for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, now leads the MLS Golden Boot race with eight goals while Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei leads all MLS goalkeepers with six shutouts in 2023.

Sporting is 3-1-0 in the team's last four trips to Lumen Field and club captain Johnny Russell has six goals in 10 career regular season appearances against Seattle, the most of any Sounders' opponent since the Scottish winger arrived in MLS in 2018.  Manager Peter Vermes' side is also bolstered by the return of Designated Player Gadi Kinda, who logged his first MLS minutes since 2021 as a second-half substitute last weekend. The 29-year-old Israeli international missed the entire 2022 campaign after undergoing knee surgery and his return puts Sporting KC in position to have all three of the club's Designated Players on the field together for the first time since 2021.

Both teams will be missing four players on Sunday as Sporting remains without Agada (fractured tibia) as well as defenders Kortne Ford (Achilles), Tim Leibold (hamstring) and Kayden Pierre (hamstring). Right back Graham Zusi and holding midfielder Nemanja Radoja have returned to full training and are questionable on the club's player availability report. A trio of MLS All-Stars will be absent for Seattle as Cristian Roldan (concussion protocol), Raul Ruidiaz (hamstring) and Joao Paulo (suspension) are sidelined along with former Sporting KC midfielder Kelyn Rowe (knee). Nouhou Tolo, who represented Cameroon at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is questionable due to an illness that has kept the MLS All-Star off the field for the past two weeks.