Running throughout the season on Sports Radio 810 WHB, the Sporting Kansas City Show presented by Michelob Ultra is available on several podcast hubs such as Spotify and iTunes as well as SportingKC.com. With Nate Bukaty, Aly Trost and Conall McCourt hosting the weekly program, Sporting fans have a place to go to catch up on club storylines, guest interviews and more.
One of Major League Soccer's most underrated center backs has headlined the newest episode of the Sporting Kansas City Show presented by Michelob Ultra.
Joining Nate Bukaty, Aly Trost and Jacob Peterson for an in-depth and illuminating discussion, Spanish defender Andreu Fontas reflected on a remarkably successful 2021 campaign that has seen the 31-year-old return to the imperious form he knew he was capable of when he signed for Sporting in August 2018.
Fontas was hampered by periodic injuries in each of the last three seasons, unable to get a consistent run of games in central defense under Manager Peter Vermes. The script has flipped in 2021, with Fontas solidifying his starting spot and leading the league in passes, successful passes and touches—not to mention serving as the lynchpin of a Sporting backline that has secured three straight road shutouts for only the fourth time in team history.
"I'm so happy to be healthy and enjoying my time on the field," Fontas said. "The first few seasons here were very hard for me because I knew I had more than what I was showing. I'm finally healthy and here to help the team have a great season. I'm getting lots of minutes, which is huge for me.
"I came to Kansas City to do what I'm doing now. It has maybe taken too long to get there, but I'm super happy to finally be on the field and doing what I like the most, which is playing every day with my teammates. I always say that after injuries and bad moments, you value the little things more. That's for sure what I'm doing right now."
A defining characteristic of Sporting's defensive success this season has been the Catalan connection between Fontas and his countryman Ilie Sanchez, who has dropped from his signature holding midfield position into the right center back spot. Together, Fontas and Ilie—a pair of technically superb FC Barcelona academy products—have forged one of the most effective center back partnerships in MLS.
"Ilie and I have known each other for a very long time and it's amazing what he has done this season," Fontas said of Ilie's transition to central defense. "For him to switch his position as fast as he did, and to play at the super high level he is playing, it's amazing. Everybody should realize how intelligent he is and how smart he is on the field. He made it look easy, but it is not easy at all to change a position that well and that fast.
"Our connection has always been there, even when he was playing at the No. 6. But having him by my side now is amazing. We know what kind of passes we like and what kind of passes we don't like. We have good communication at all times, so it's great to play with him and super easy, to be fair."
In addition to speaking with Fontas and recapping a resolute 0-0 draw last weekend at Minnesota United FC that required Sporting to play down a man for 70 minutes following Remi Walter's red card, the hosts provided a preview of tonight's MLS All-Star Game featuring winger Daniel Salloi and looked ahead to a colossal Retro Night clash against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The pivotal matchup, pitting the second-place and third-place teams in the Western Conference, will kick off at 8 p.m. CT and tickets remain available at SeatGeek.com while supplies last.
Saturday's highly anticipated Retro Night celebration will feature a wide selection of throwback merchandise from the Since '96 Collection (jersey, T-shirt, long sleeve T-shirt, jacket and headwear) and additional items with the classic Wiz logo and rainbow elements.
For supporters watching from home, Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app will provide three hours of live coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. CT, while the Sporting KC app will deploy additional in-game updates and exclusive offers. Listeners can catch the action live locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.