"The Week in Review,” is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. A busy July comes to a close
Sporting Kansas City is about to participate in their most important match of 2022 thus far when they take on Sacramento Republic FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals. Three days later they will return home to face Austin FC, currently occupying second place in the Western Conference. These two major matches cap off a busy July that will see Sporting play seven matches when the dust has settled.
The month began with Sporting being handed a frustrating, 1-0 loss at home to the New York Red Bulls on July 3. The club did not hang their heads and went into a three-match road trip hungry. Sporting took all three points in an exhilarating 2-1 win over CF Montreal on July 9 before earning a hard-fought point at Minnesota United. Sporting would then suffer defeats to Real Salt Lake and LAFC. Now the attention turns to the Open Cup, the semifinals and the chance for Sporting KC to etch its name in US Soccer history once again.
2. Open Cup Semifinals on the horizon
After a little over a month, Sporting KC is back in Open Cup play. On June 22, the club punched their ticket to the semifinals with a 6-0 thrashing of Union Omaha at Children's Mercy Park. With their spot in the semifinals secure, Sporting has begun preparation for USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC and a trip to their home grounds of Heart Health Park. The host's path to the semis includes wins over Portland Timbers U23, Central Valley Fuego FC, the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy. Sporting's journey to the semis began with two come-from-behind wins over MLS teams, the first of which came back on Tuesday, May 10.
Sporting fell behind two goals to none to FC Dallas before Nikola Vujnovic halved the deficit. Marinos Tzionis headed home the latest goal in regulation in club history in the 97th and Khiry Shelton's extra-time heroics lifted Sporting past Dallas 4-2. Fifteen days later, Johnny Russell found the back of the net twice to erase a one-goal Houston Dynamo lead to propel Sporting into the quarterfinals where they handled Omaha soundly. Russell and Shelton's two goals are tied with forward Daniel Salloi and midfielder Felipe Hernandez for the most in Open Cup play in 2022. Sporting will look for these three to provide another spark Wednesday night when they take on Sacramento for a spot in the finals. The match begins at 9:30 p.m. CT and can be streamed with an ESPN+ subscription.
3. Austin FC arrives in KC
Once Sporting's business concludes in California, they will return to Kansas City and Major League Soccer with a matchup against Austin FC at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff for the match is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, July 30 with coverage on 38 The Spot. Sporting has faced Austin three times already with the series dead even. The first-ever meeting between the two sides came on May 9 and ended in an electrifying 2-1 Sporting KC win off Gadi Kinda's 90th-minute match winner. The second contest ended in a 1-1 draw and the final game and first Sporting KC match at Q2 Stadium went Austin's way. Austin's return to Children's Mercy Park is a homecoming for two of their coaches. Austin's head coach is Sporting Legends member Josh Wolff and ATX assistant coach Davy Arnaud is the newest Sporting Legends inductee. Tickets for the Western Conference clash are on sale now at SeatGeek.com.
4. Thommy and Agada debut
Saturday night saw the debut of Erik Thommy and Willy Agada as Thommy earned his first Sporting KC start and Agada came off the bench later in the match. Thommy was everywhere in the hour he was on the pitch, leading the team in shots and nearly opening his goals account in the 15th minute. Agada came on in the 84th minute making his first appearance at Children's Mercy Park. He fired a shot that tested the keeper in the 92nd but had it saved. The much anticipated Thommy and Agada are here and are ready to help Sporting finish out the 2022 season, and compete in the Open Cup semis.
5. SKC II suffers defeat to Tacoma Defiance
In a Friday night, MLS NEXT Pro match, Sporting KC II returned to Swope Soccer Village and to Children's Mercy Victory Field where they claimed two USL Championship Western Conference titles. SKC II suffered a 3-0 defeat to the top of the table Tacoma Defiance. Tacoma struck once in the third minute of the match, doubled their lead in the 21st and scored their third on the other side of the half. Head Coach Benny Feilhaber and his squad of road warriors will face North Texas SC on Sunday at Choctaw Stadium at 7:30 p.m. CT. The last time SKC II faced North Texas, Rauf Salifu had the league's first four-goal performance in a 4-2 victory in SKC II's 2022 Rock Chalk Park finale.