Sporting Kansas City at LA Galaxy
2021 MLS Regular Season | Match 13
Sunday, July 4, 2021 | 9:30 p.m. CT
Dignity Health Sports Park | Carson, California
English TV | Bally Sports Kansas City
English TV | Bally Sports Midwest Plus
Streaming | BallySports.com, Bally Sports app
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
A titanic Western Conference showdown beckons Sunday as second-place Sporting Kansas City (7-3-2, 23 points) visits the third-place LA Galaxy (7-3-0, 21 points) on the Fourth of July.
Sunday's marquee matchup will kick off at 9:30 p.m. CT with three hours of live coverage at Dignity Health Sports Park beginning at 9 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app. Listeners can also catch the action locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.
The Sporting KC app will provide additional in-game updates this weekend and fans are invited to attend a watch party for Sunday's match at No Other Pub, which will offer guests over 21 a free beer or shot every time Sporting scores a goal. Guests who bring four friends to No Other Pub for the watch party will also receive a free game of bowling or virtual golf.
Sunday's mouthwatering battle, which continues LA Galaxy's annual tradition of hosting matches on the Fourth of July, will see two of the league's best teams lock horns. Manager Peter Vermes' men occupy second place in the Supporters' Shield standings, two points behind leaders Seattle Sounders FC, while the Galaxy sit two points behind Sporting. Both clubs boast an MLS-leading seven wins, with Sporting posting a 5-1-1 record in their last seven matches and LA securing consecutive road victories last week over Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the San Jose Earthquakes.
This particular Fourth of July spectacle could deliver fireworks on the field as both sides wield high-octane offenses. Sporting lead MLS in most attacking metrics, including goals scored (22), goals per game (1.83) and expected goals (24.5) as well as chances created per game (12.2) and shots per game (17.2). The club has scored in all but one match this season and has multiple goals in all seven of its wins this year.
On the opposite sideline, the Galaxy boast an MLS MVP frontrunner in Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. The Mexican star floundered during his 2020 debut in MLS, scoring just twice in 12 appearances, but has exploded for 10 goals in the first 10 games of 2021. LA’s 17 goals rank fifth in the league, with the likes of U.S. international Sebastian Lletget (one goal, two assists) and experienced veteran Sacha Kljestan (two goals, two assists) contributing valuably. Between the posts, English goalkeeper Jonathan Bond tops MLS with seven wins and ranks second with 49 saves.
Sporting forward Daniel Salloi has delivered one of the feel-good stories of the year, breaking out for seven goals and three assists through Sporting’s first dozen matches. He places third in MLS in both goals (seven) and combined goals and assists (10), notably bagging an 87th-minute winner in Sporting's dramatic 2-1 home triumph over LAFC last Saturday. The result stood as Sporting's fifth comeback win this year, already tying single-season club record previously set in 1996 and 2007. Vermes' side has claimed a remarkable 16 points from losing positions in 2021, nine more than any other team.
Salloi is one of several Sporting KC Academy products who have made palpable impacts for Sporting through the first two and a half months of the season. Gianluca Busio sits atop the MLS chart in minutes, having started all 12 matches in 2021, and his glowing displays in the midfield have resulted in his first selection to the U.S. Men's National Team for the Concacaf Gold Cup later this month. Fellow midfielder Felipe Hernandez had a goal and two assists in Sporting's back-to-back home victories last week, including a 3-1 defeat of the Colorado Rapids on June 23 that saw Vermes field six Academy products in a competitive match for the first time.
The Galaxy labored to 6-12-4 record in 2020 and missed the postseason by a wide margin, but the 2021 campaign has seen newly appointed head coach Greg Vanney turn the tide. The longtime Toronto FC boss has helped LA develop innate ability to emerge victorious in close games. The Galaxy are 5-1 in matches decided by a single goal this season and their 21 points are the club’s most through 10 regular season fixtures since 2010.
Sporting went 4-0-4 against the Galaxy from 2015-2018, but LA swept the 2019 series with a pair of wins. The teams haven't met since Sept. 15, 2019, when the Galaxy posted a 7-2 win at Dignity Health Sports Park, equaling Kansas City's all-time record for most goals conceded in a match. LA holds a narrow 26-23-15 edge in the regular season series, which has produced only three scoreless draws in 64 matches.