Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy - 16 Days

As Sporting Kansas City prepares for its 26th season as a charter member of Major League Soccer, SportingKC.com is rolling out a 26-day countdown to the start of the 2021 campaign. A mouthwatering opening weekend of MLS action will see Sporting Kansas City visit the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. CT on April 17, giving supporters their first look at Manager Peter Vermes’ side since last December.



The 2021 Preseason Countdown, presented by Children’s Mercy, will serve as the comprehensive, go-to preview of everything that awaits Sporting Kansas City in the weeks and months to come. From key storylines and bold predictions to statistical breakdowns and players to watch, the 2021 Preseason Countdown will highlight the many reasons to be excited for what’s ahead. To visit the series homepage as it expands, visit SportingKC.com/2021countdown.




With just 16 days until Sporting opens the 2021 MLS regular season at Red Bull Arena, it's time to take stock of the approaching milestone for many of the club's more accomplished players. Let's dive right in.


Defender Graham Zusi


  • 294 regular season appearances for Sporting – one shy of passing Matt Besler for first in club history
  • 345 competitive appearances for Sporting – four shy of passing Besler for first in club history
  • 29 regular season goals for Sporting – two shy of seventh in club history
  • 2,329 minutes shy of 30,000 minutes for Sporting in all competitions
  • 32 goals for Sporting in all competitions – three shy of seventh in club history
  • Currently fifth in MLS history with 798 regular season corner kicks
  • Currently eighth in MLS history with 28 game-winning assists in the regular season (two shy of fifth)


Tim Melia


  • 167 regular season appearances for Sporting – 33 shy of 10th in club history
  • 167 regular season starts for Sporting – 16 shy of 10th in club history
  • Six shy of 200 competitive appearances and starts for Sporting
  • 52 shutouts in the regular season – currently 15 shy of cracking the top 10 in MLS history
  • 1.27 GAA in his MLS career – would crack the top 10 in MLS history if it drops to 1.25


Roger Espinoza


  • 21 shy of 250 regular season starts for Sporting – currently third in club history
  • 20,014 regular season minutes for Sporting – 143 shy of fourth in club history and 501 shy of third in club history
  • 37 regular season assists for Sporting – six shy of fourth in club history
  • 271 competitive starts fro Sporting – one shy of fourth in club history, 10 shy of third
  • 24,025 minutes for Sporting in all competitions – 690 shy of fourth in club history, 1,253 shy of third


Daniel Salloi


  • 14 shy of 100 regular season appearances for Sporting
  • 23 goals for Sporting in all competitions – eight shy of 10th in club history


Johnny Russell


  • 21 shy of 100 regular season appearances for Sporting
  • 25 regular season goals for Sporting – three shy of 10th in club history, four shy of ninth, six shy of seventh, 13 shy of sixth, 14 shy of fifth, 18 shy of third
  • 23 regular season assists for Sporting – two shy of ninth in club history, three shy of eighth, five shy of seventh, 12 shy of six
  • Four shy of 100 competitive appearances for Sporting
  • 20 shy of 100 competitive starts for Sporting
  • 27 goals for Sporting in all competitions – four shy of 10th in club history, five shy of eighth, eight shy of seventh, 14 shy of sixth, 16 shy of fifth
  • Currently third in Sporting history with 0.39 goals per 90 and second with 0.36 assists per 90 (regular season)


Ilie Sanchez


  • 202 shy of 10,000 regular season minutes for Sporting
  • 12 shy of 150 competitive appearances for Sporting