"The Week in Review,” is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. Sporting earns fourth straight result in draw at Houston
Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo dueled to a scoreless draw at PNC Stadium on Saturday night. Goalkeeper John Pulskamp earned his second clean sheet of the season, saving all three of the Dynamo's attempts on target. With the draw, Sporting has picked up points on the road in back-to-back matches and earned a result in five of their last six contests. Against the Dynamo, Sporting has won or drawn five straight in all competitions.
The battle in Houston provided end-to-end action throughout the 90 minutes. Midfielder Erik Thommy nearly gave Sporting the lead in the first half when he fired a long-range, dipping effort. Goalkeeper Steve Clark was able to get a paw on the ball, forcing it onto the crossbar where it rattled the cage and flew away. The course of the match changed in the 41st when Matias Vera picked up a second yellow card causing the Dynamo to play the remainder of the match down a man. Houston was able to repel attack after attack, and nearly found the back of the net if it wasn't for the clutch goalkeeping of Pulskamp. Sporting now returns home for their final three home matches of 2022.
2. Double matchweek
The final four matches of the 2022 MLS season for Sporting KC begin with three consecutive home matches before an MLS Decision Day match at FC Dallas. The first match of the homestand is Tuesday night against D.C. United and the second comes four days later against Minnesota United. Sporting has not had to play a double matchweek since July and this will be the final one of 2022. Tickets for all of Sporting's home matches are available for purchase at SeatGeek.com.
In the all-time series against D.C. Sporting is one win behind with 21 wins to D.C.'s 22. There have been 13 draws in the 56 meetings. These two MLS originals have not met since May 12, 2019 when Pual Arriola's lone score in the 79th proved to be the difference maker. In home matches, Sporting is 15-8-5 against D.C. with 48 goals scored and just 32 goals conceded. A revamped squad comes to Kansas City as new manager and former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney brings his team to the soccer capital of America looking to pull themselves out of the basement of the league.
3. Jersey week
Major League Soccer announced the top 25 best-selling jerseys for the 2022 season on Monday. Included in that list, for a third straight season, is Sporting KC captain and leading goal scorer, Johnny Russell. The 22nd top-selling jersey in MLS, Russell's 10 goals in all competitions pace the club as he continues to climb the club's all-time goals scorer chart. Since joining Sporting KC in 2018, Russell's 79 combined goals (48) and assists (31) in regular season play are third-most in that span. Those 79 regular season goal contributions are fourth most in club history.
In celebration, all custom Russell jerseys will be 25% off at SportingStyle.com today and tomorrow as well as 25% off at Children's Mercy Park when Sporting KC takes on D.C. United tomorrow.
4. SKC II picks up win in home finale
Last Monday, SKC II thrashed Rapids 2 with a 5-0 win at Children's Mercy Victory Field in the 2022 home finale. Bakary Bagayoko bagged a brace, Jake Davis and Josh Coan added goals and an own goal gave SKC II their largest margin of victory in team history. Goalkeeper Carlito Saylon picked up his first professional win and clean sheet in the contest.
To conclude the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season, SKC II will travel across the state of Missouri for a Decision Day battle with St Louis City2 at their new stadium, Centene Stadium. SKC II has dropped two matches to their rivals this season and will look to conclude the season on a high note on the road.
5. MLS NEXT season kicks off
The third season of MLS NEXT has kicked off with 628 teams competing in nearly 8,000 matches over a ten-month season. The Sporting KC Academy opened their season up with matches in the Rocky Mountain Cup in Colorado. The U14 and U15 teams suffered defeats to Real Colorado and the Rapids while the U17 team picked up wins over those two sides. The U14, U15, U17 and U19 clubs will face Solar FC as well as FC Dallas this upcoming weekend.