"This Week in Sporting,” is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. The semifinals await
With a 6-0 thrashing of USL League One side Union Omaha, Sporting Kansas City has advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Felipe Hernandez and Daniel Salloi bagged braces, while Salloi became Sporting’s all-time leading scorer in Open Cup play with seven goals. Khiry Shelton scored his second goal of the 2022 Open Cup campaign, and Kortne Ford opened his Sporting KC scoring account with his first MLS goal since he scored against Sporting as a member of the Colorado Rapids in 2017. Sporting’s six goal margin of victory matches a club record, and the team is set to participate in their sixth Open Cup semifinals.
Standing in the way of Sporting’s fifth Open Cup finals appearance is Sacramento Republic FC out of the USL Championship. Following a draw on Futbol Americas on Thursday evening, Sporting found out that they would be travelling to the California capitol for the win or go home semifinal showdown. The match is set for June 27 on ESPN+ and the kickoff time will be determined following the conclusion of Wednesday’s Cup quarterfinal match between Nashville and Orlando City SC.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting KC 6-0 Union Omaha | June 22, 2022
2. New York Red Bulls come to town
For the first time since 2019, the New York Red Bulls are set to make an appearance at Children’s Mercy Park for an MLS match on Sunday, July 3 at 7 p.m. CT. Sporting last faced the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena to open the 2021 MLS regular season. After falling behind a goal, three minutes into the second half, Gadi Kinda sank a penalty and Salloi netted his first of his 16 goals a minute later to lift Sporting past New York.
The Red Bulls are also competing in the semifinals of the 2022 Open Cup. They await their opponent and host as Nashville and Orlando face off Wednesday night for the last spot in the semifinals. If both Sporting and the Red Bulls win their semifinal battles on July 27, they would meet in the finals at Children’s Mercy Park in September. The potential Open Cup finals match would also be a rematch of the 2017 Open Cup in which Sporting lifted their fourth Dewar Cup after beating New York 2-1 at Children’s Mercy Park on Sept. 20, 2017.
Highlights: Sporting KC 2-1 New York Red Bulls | September 20, 2017
3. New additions coming
Two players will be joining Sporting once the July transfer window opens on July 7. Both forward William Agada and midfielder Erik Thommy were announced by the club as new acquisitions on Thursday. Agada, a Nigerian native, joins Sporting after scoring 37 goals in four seasons in the Israeli Premier League. The 22-year-old striker led Hapoel Jerusalem with eight goals in their return to the top-flight of Israeli soccer.
Thommy joins Sporting after nine seasons of professional soccer in his home country of Germany. He made 96 appearances in the Bundesliga, tallying nine goals and 14 assists. A versatile player, with the ability to perform well in multiple positions, the 27-year-old is excited to join MLS and take the next step in his career.
4. SKC II back in action
After 13 consecutive weeks of matches, Sporting KC II had the week off last week. Now rested and ready for the second half of the MLS NEXT Pro campaign, head coach Benny Feilhaber and SKC II will welcome North Texas SC to Rock Chalk Park on Saturday, June 2. The 2022 finale at Rock Chalk Park will kick off at 7 p.m. CT with a free live stream available at MLSNEXTPro.com, and tickets on sale at SeatGeek.com. SKC II will play their final four home matches of the season at Swope Soccer Village.
5. All-Star Voting now open
Tuesday, Major League Soccer opened the voting process for the 2022 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. Players, fans and media all get a say in who will face off against the Liga MX’s best at Allianz Field in St. Paul, MN on Aug. 10. Fans can vote for their favorite Sporting KC players to compete in the match here.
A total of 26 players will be selected, 12 by the vote, 12 by MLS All-Star head coach Adrian Heath and two by MLS commissioner Don Garber. Players are organized based on the position they have been most utilized and must have appeared in 50 percent of their club’s MLS matches this season as of June 1. Fan voting closes on Friday, July 1 so make sure to get those votes in as soon as possible.
6. MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs underway in Frisco
The MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs have officially kicked off at the Toyota Soccer Complex in Frisco Texas with the Sporting KC U15s already advancing to the quarterfinals. With a 6-5 win in penalties over Total Futbol Academy after a 2-2 draw at the end of regulation, the U15s punched their ticket to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory against Sockers FC. They will face the LA Galaxy U15s for a spot in the semifinals on Tuesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. CT. Fans can follow the action by following @SKCAcademy on Twitter.