"This Week in Sporting,” is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. Sporting suffers 1-0 defeat at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Last Saturday, Sporting Kansas City slipped to a 1-0 loss on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada. Ryan Raposo scored the only goal of the contest in the 73rd minute as the hosts outlasted Sporting in front of their home crowd. The evenly contested match saw Uri Rosell return to the Sporting starting XI for the first time since the midfielder picked up an injury in the club’s season-opener at Atlanta United.
2. Nashville comes to Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday
After playing four of the first six matches of the 2022 MLS regular season on the road, Sporting KC will host three of their next four at Children’s Mercy Park. First up is Nashville SC who will be making their Western Conference return to Children’s Mercy Park after a 2021 MLS Cup, Eastern Conference Semifinals exit. Tickets for Saturday's showdown with Nashville are available for purchase at SeatGeek.com with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. CT.
Sporting has played Nashville on one occasion in the MLS regular season, handing them a 2-1 defeat on Oct. 11, 2020, at Children’s Mercy Park. U.S. Men’s National Team defender Walker Zimmerman gave Nashville the lead in the 14th minute, but two Sporting KC second half goals gave the hosts the win. Current Sporting KC captain, Johnny Russell assisted on Sporting’s first goal, jumpstarting the Sporting comeback.
3. SKC II wins, set to host Houston in home opener
This past Sunday, Sporting KC II took part in the MLS NEXT Pro Game of the Week at Allianz Field against Minnesota United FC 2. SKC II scored in the second minute, doubled their lead in the second half and held on to the clean sheet, securing their first-ever MLS NEXT Pro win in their second-ever MLS NEXT Pro match. Team captain Collin Fernandez scored and assisted in the match and Sporting KC Academy product Mataeo Bunbury scored his first professional goal. On loan from the first team, goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh kept a clean sheet after making five saves.
Now, after two straight road matches to open the season, SKC II will play their inaugural match at Rock Chalk Park this Sunday, April 10 at 6 p.m. CT against Houston Dynamo 2. Tickets can be purchased at SeatGeek.com as SKC II hosts the undefeated, Dynamo Dos in Lawrence, Kansas.
4. Sporting KC international spotlight
Last week, a pair of Sporting KC newcomers made a showing on the international stage. Cypriot winger Marinos Tzionis started in the second leg of Cyprus’ UEFA Nations League Play-Out against Estonia on Tuesday, March 29. Tzionis fired Cyprus ahead in the 19th minute with a bar-down beauty from just beyond the box. It was Tzionis’ first senior national team goal as Cyprus knocked off Estonia 2-0 on aggregate.
While Tzionis was starting for Cyprus on Tuesday, Sporting KC left back Logan Ndenbe got the start for Belgium’s U-21 side in their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier against Denmark. Ndenbe started in the Belgian midfield playing 45 minutes in their draw with Denmark. After earning a result in the match, Belgium’s U-21’s have officially qualified for the 2023 UEFA Under 21 Championship which will take place in Romania and Georgia from June 9 to July 2 next year.
5. U.S. Men’s National Team Qualifies for World Cup 2022 in Qatar
While on the topic of international tournament qualification, the United States Men’s National Team officially punched their ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup last Wednesday. With some assistance from Sporting KC Academy products Erik Palmer-Brown and Gianluca Busio, the U.S. Men’s National Team finished third in the Concacaf Octagonal and will compete in Group B at the World Cup against England, Iran and either Scotland, Wales or Ukraine. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will run from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 in Qatar.
6. Sporting City North announces Gerard Jones as Director of Coaching
Sporting Kansas City Youth Soccer announced Gerard Jones as Sporting City North’s Director of Coaching. Debuting during the 2022-23 season, Sporting City North will be the anchor tenant at Central Bank Sporting Complex. Jones comes to Sporting after a stop at the Royal Moroccan Football Federation where he served as the elite coach educator. For the most up-to-date information on Sporting City North, visit the club’s website at www.SportingCN.com.