Starting XI, presented by StorageMart, is a biweekly series on SportingKC.com that highlights 11 of the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City, MLS and soccer around the globe. Click here to visit the Starting XI archive.
1. Knicked in New York
Sporting Kansas City (6-9-7, 25 points) fell to a 3-1 defeat on the road to New York City FC (9-3-8, 35 points) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York on Friday night. New York City took a 2-0 lead with goals either side of halftime from Anton Tinnerholm and Heber before Roger Espinoza was shown a red card for Sporting KC. Ilie Sanchez pulled a goal back for the visitors before Alex Ring sealed the points for NYCFC.
Sporting Kansas City will remain on the road as the schedule ticks into August, with a trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field up next on the docket on Sunday. The nationally televised contest will kick off at 9 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
3. Sports Trivia Night
Sports fans will have the opportunity to play for prizes and test their trivia knowledge against Sporting players on Wednesday when No Other Pub hosts Sports Trivia Night in conjunction with the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. Teams of 2-4 players will go head-to-head beginning at 6 p.m. CT, competing for a variety of great prizes including VIP experiences at Children’s Mercy Park, match tickets, autographed SportingStyle merchandise and more. Sports Trivia Night participants will be quizzed on a wide range of sports topics, not just soccer. Team registration remains open for players of all ages at SportingKC.com/TriviaNight.
4. All-Star Trek
Sporting defender Graham Zusi has returned to his hometown of Orlando for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday at Exploria Stadium. The MLS All-Stars will face 10-time Spanish champions Atletico Madrid in the annual summer showcase, slated to kick off at 7 p.m. CT with live coverage on FS1 and UniMas. Zusi has received MLS All-Star recognition for the seventh time in his heralded career, tying club legend Preki for the most in Sporting history.
Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio headlines a talented roster for the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer, which will see the league’s best young players square off against Chivas de Guadalajara’s Under-20 Team on Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. The contest will kick off at 4 p.m. CT with an English-language live stream on Twitter.com and a Spanish telecast on TUDN.
6. Tune In Tuesday
A new episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast will debut Tuesday night at 7 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Host Nate Bukaty will look ahead to Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, preview Sunday's match between Sporting and Seattle and welcome a Sporting KC guest to the program.
7. Community MVP
Voting for the 2019 MLS WORKS Community MVP is open through Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT, featuring 24 finalists representing the 24 clubs in Major League Soccer. Fans can visit MLSworkscmvp.com to vote for Sporting Kansas City representative Wendy Louque, who uses the platform of soccer to reach underserved youth throughout the metro area.
On Saturday evening, a vehicular accident involving the Charleston Battery occurred on the way to Children’s Mercy Park. After consulting with both teams and the United Soccer League, the match has been postponed and will be rescheduled to a later date.
9. Rangers Return
The Swope Park Rangers (3-10-6, 15 points) will play for their second straight home win on Saturday, hosting Nashville SC (10-5-5, 35 points) at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT and tickets are available at SeatGeek.com. The USL Championship Eastern Conference tilt will also stream live on ESPN Plus.
10. Freeman in Action
Sporting forward Tyler Freeman has been selected to the United States U-17 Men’s National Team for a 26-player training camp that runs through Aug. 7 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. As part of their training camp, the U.S. U-17s will face USL Championship side Orange County SC on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. CT at the Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, California.
11. Academy Duo Called Up
Sporting Kansas City Academy midfielder Rokas Pukstas and forward Osvaldo Cisneros have been selected to the United States roster for the 2019 Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championship at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The USA will begin play in Group B on Sunday, facing Haiti at 8 a.m. CT, before rounding out the group stage next week against Guatemala and Suriname, respectively. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout rounds, with the tournament championship slated for Sunday, Aug. 11.