After starring in Round One of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda has joined the Israel Men’s National Team for a busy four-game slate as UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying reaches a pivotal juncture.
Due to the war between Israel and Hamas, Israel's two Euro qualifying matches in October were postponed until the November international window. As a result, Israel will now play four qualifiers during a crucial 10-day period from Nov. 12-21, including two home matches that will be held at Pancho Arena in Felcsut, Hungary, due to the ongoing war in Israel and Palestine.
Kinda will return from international duty ahead of Sporting's all-important Western Conference semifinal road match on the weekend of Nov. 25-26 against either Houston Dynamo FC or Real Salt Lake.
Israel Schedule: UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying (all matches at 1:45 p.m. CT)
- Sunday, Nov.12: at Kosovo | Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Prishtina
- Wednesday, Nov. 15 | vs. Switzerland | Pancho Arena in Felcsut, Hungary
- Saturday, Nov. 18 | vs. Romania | Pancho Arena in Felcsut, Hungary
- Tuesday, Nov. 21 | at Andorra | Estadi Nacional in Andorra la Vella
With boosted expectations after earning promotion to 2024-25 UEFA Nations League A last year, Israel is aiming to qualify for the European Championship for the first time since becoming a UEFA member in 1994. Euro 2024 will involve 24 teams, including the top two finishers across 10 qualifying groups, hosts Germany and another three nations that will advance through a playoff round.
Israel currently occupies third place in Group I, five points behind leaders Romania and four points behind Switzerland, but has games in hand due to the postponement of last month's fixtures. With group stage action concluding on Nov. 21, Israel faces one of three possible outcomes: a top-two finish and automatic qualification for Euro 2024, a third-place finish and subsequent participation in a final playoff round next March, or finishing lower than third and bowing out of the competition.
Kinda has earned five career caps for Israel, last appearing for the team in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on Oct. 12, 2021. He punctuated his Israel debut with a sensational long-range goal in a 3-1 friendly win at Montenegro on June 5, 2021, and made his first start for the team four days later in a friendly defeat at European powerhouse Portugal. In September, Kinda earned his first national team call-up in almost two years and was an unused substitute in a 1-1 draw at Romania on Sept. 9 and a 1-0 home win against Belarus on Sept. 12.
Kinda is coming off sensational performances in back-to-back wins over St. Louis City SC in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The midfield menace put Sporting's fierce rivals to the sword with a stunning goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory on Oct. 29 before tallying the game-winning assist to Daniel Salloi in Sunday's 2-1 triumph at Children's Mercy Park. The 2-0 series sweep saw Kinda become just the sixth player in Kansas City history to record multiple goals and multiple assists in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs as Sporting swiftly eliminated St. Louis and punched a ticket to the Western Conference semifinals.
Kinda has recorded 16 goals and 20 assists in 79 competitive appearances for Sporting since arriving in January 2020 from Israeli Premier League side Beitar Jerusalem. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Israel, he spent the first nine seasons of his professional career competing in Israel’s top two divisions, including an eight-year spell at hometown club Ashdod.
Kinda helped Sporting to first place in the Western Conference in 2020 and a third-place finish in 2021 before missing all of 2022 with a knee injury. He returned to competitive action in April for his first of 28 appearances this year. The talented midfielder has five goals and eight assists during the 2023 campaign, with four of his 13 goal contributions coming in the victorious playoff series against St. Louis.