Sporting's five biggest matches of the 2024 regular season

Was that Santa’s sleigh hitting the roof?

Nope, even better. It was the 2024 MLS regular season schedule hitting your inbox, your calendar and your social feed.

That’s right, Sporting Kansas City fans—rejoice! Only now are you fully liberated to begin planning for the new year in earnest, knowing the all-important details of Sporting’s 34-match ledger.

Right off the bat, you should know this: never before has Sporting’s regular season schedule been so compelling.

A mouthwatering home slate featuring the arrival of a man named Leo and bookended by matches against Eastern Conference contender Philadelphia Union and Western Conference powerhouse LAFC. Three big-time battles against that smelly club from St. Louis. Trips to scenic cities (Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver and New York), trips to hipster cities (Portland, Seattle and Austin) and trips to cities that are, well, neither scenic nor hipster (sup, St. Louis).

If you’re a Sporting diehard, you (like me) will have the 2024 schedule memorized by heart before the start of February. Until then, it’s well worth taking a first look at Sporting’s five most exciting matches of the upcoming campaign.

But first, a big heads-up. Given how tantalizing the home schedule looks in 2024, you would be well advised to hit up SeatGeek and secure your seat at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting KC season tickets are available by calling 888-4KC-GOAL and feature exclusive benefits, including a subscription to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and complimentary away match tickets. Sporting is also offering single-match tickets and a variety of ticket packages and promotions, including the Home Opener Pack, the My Five ticket contest and the popular Sporting U Pass for college students.

Alrighty, friends. Let’s dive in!

Sporting vs. Philadelphia Union – March 2 (7:30 p.m. CT)

This high-voltage opener at Children’s Mercy Park pits a “blue blood” from the West against a “new blood” from the East. With a boisterous crowd ready to usher in the new campaign, the litness meter will be off the charts.

Sporting Kansas City, winners of seven major trophies and 20-time playoff participants, figure to boast a bevy of attacking weapons—hello there, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi and Erik Thommy—as Manager Peter Vermes begins what we all hope will be a sweet 16th season at the helm. Sporting won five of its last six home matches in 2023 and ended the year playing as well as anyone, leaving us with palpable buzz entering 2024.

On the opposite sideline, the Philadelphia Union have enjoyed more regular season success over the last five years than any other club, posting the most wins (78) and points (278) since 2019. Two-time MLS Coach of the Year Jim Curtin, like Vermes, has mastered the art of sustained success in a parity-driven league. The winner of this one will set a positive tone early.

Sporting vs. Inter Miami CF – April 13 (7:30 p.m. CT)

With Academy products Noah Allen, Benjamin Cremaschi, David Ruiz and Santiago Morales busting into the first team, and with veteran boss Tata Martino settling into his first full year in charge, Inter Miami sure is a must-see opponent in 2024…

Oh, sorry, that doesn’t quite do it for you? How about this: the Little Magician, the Atomic Flea, the Goat—the one and only Lionel F. Messi—is coming to Kansas City for the first time ever. Messi will be joined by former Barcelona teammates Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and—if certain news reports are true—a player whose first name is Luis and whose last name is Suarez. Simply put, this showdown on April 13 is one of the biggest soccer matches ever played in Kansas City.

Messi’s legend is larger than life. The World Cup champion is undeniably one of the greatest players the sport will ever see and one of the most accomplished athletes to walk the planet. In his native Argentina, the Messiah, Messi and Maradona are the holy trinity.

But let’s pump the brakes for a moment and realize this. The biggest challenge of Messi’s career still awaits: a vaunted visit to the Soccer Capital of America, where Sporting and its fans will no doubt be ready to slay the star-studded giant that is Inter Miami.

Sporting vs. St. Louis City SC – April 20, July 20 and Sept. 28 (7:30 p.m. CT)

Yes, I’m cheating here by counting three matches as one. What do you want from me?

The inaugural season of Sporting’s hot and spicy rivalry with St. Louis was an absolute rollercoaster and nothing short of thrilling. The bad guys were a buzzsaw in the first two meetings at CityPark, bagging four goals in each game, but as you might recall, something super cool happened after that. Sporting yanked that buzzsaw from the hands of its fierce adversary and swiftly beheaded the ugly monster in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, cruising 4-1 on the road and 2-1 at Children’s Mercy Park to clinch an unforgettable two-game sweep.

Let the record show that bragging rights in this young, simmering rivalry currently reside in the Soccer Capital of America. That’s where Sporting will host the first two meetings of 2024—on April 20 and July 20—before trekking across Missouri for the third encounter on Sept. 28. Come loud and come proud, Kansas City.

Sporting vs. Seattle Sounders FC – June 8 (7:30 p.m. CT)

I am not sure which is more satisfying: hot coffee on a winter morning, the smell of freshly baked bread, the cool side of the pillow or beating the Seattle Sounders.

Credit where credit is due: the Sounders have set a benchmark over the last several seasons with MLS Cup wins in 2016 and 2019 and a Concacaf Champions Cup triumph in 2022. But there remains something distinctly dislikable about this Seattle side, something that will fuel players and fans alike when Sporting hosts this high-profile fixture on June 8. Pulido, Russell, Thommy and goalkeeper Tim Melia have all performed well against Seattle in recent years and will look to stamp their names on this edition of the fixture, as well.

Sporting vs. LAFC – Oct. 5 (7:30 p.m. CT)

The 2024 home finale at Children’s Mercy Park drips with intrigue. The recent accomplishments of LAFC are well documented: 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners, 2020 Concacaf Champions Cup finalists, 2022 MLS Cup champions, and runners-up for the MLS Cup and Concacaf Champions Cup in 2023.

Whether the heavy spenders can replicate that success in 2024 remains to be seen, but no matter how you slice and dice it, this has the makings of a barnburner. Sporting notably beat LAFC on Decision Day in 2018 to claim first place in the West, then claimed two more memorable wins over the Hollywood heavyweights in 2021—a wild 2-1 home triumph inspired by Salloi and Pulido and an emphatic 4-1 victory in Southern California. When the teams lock horns next October, it is distinctly possible—if not likely—that playoff positioning will be at stake.