This Week in Sporting - Aug. 2, 2021

"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.

1. Downed by Dallas

Sporting Kansas City (9-4-3, 30 points) fell 2-1 to FC Dallas (4-7-5, 17 points) on Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park, suffering their first regular season home loss since September 2020. Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira struck early in each half for the visitors, and although captain Johnny Russell grabbed a goal back in the 85th minute, Sporting’s spirited late rally wasn’t enough to extend an 11-game home unbeaten run.

Saturday’s frustrating defeat keeps Sporting in second place in the Western Conference, three points behind leaders Seattle Sounders FC. Dallas, meanwhile, broke a club-record eight-match road losing streak that dated back to November 2020 and improved to 5-0-1 in their last six meetings against Sporting.

2. Road Trippin'

Second-place Sporting will look to bounce back from Saturday's loss when they travel west for two challenging road matches this week. At 9:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Manager Peter Vermes' side will visit LAFC (6-5-5, 23 points) in a marquee showdown at Banc of California Stadium. Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app will provide three hours of live coverage on Wednesday beginning at 9 p.m. CT. The contest will also air live locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.

After facing LAFC, Sporting will venture to the Rocky Mountains to battle the fourth-place Colorado Rapids in another high-stakes Western Conference clash. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. CT with three hours of live programming set to begin at 7:30 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app. Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish) will transmit local radio calls, followed by The Final Whistle postgame show on 810 WHB.

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3. Welcome to the Club, Patrick Mahomes

Sporting announced last week that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes has become a new member of the Sporting Club ownership group.

Mahomes has spent his first four NFL seasons in Kansas City and guided the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, 2020. The three-time Pro Bowler and 2018 NFL MVP has led the Chiefs to consecutive Super Bowl appearances and was named to the Time 100 list of most influential people of 2020.

Away from the field, Mahomes is a part owner of the Kansas City Royals and his fiancée, Brittany Matthews, is a co-owner of Kansas City NWSL. In 2019, Mahomes established the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children.

4. Busio is a Gold Cup Champion

An epic battle pitting Gianluca Busio and the United States against Alan Pulido and Mexico saw Sporting Kansas City's 19-year-old midfielder emerge as a Concacaf Gold Cup champion.

A capacity crowd of 61,514 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas served as the festive backdrop for the 2021 Gold Cup Final, which was decided in the 117th minute when U.S. defender Miles Robinson headed home Kellyn Acosta's free kick to give the Americans an unforgettable 1-0 extra-time victory.

Busio made his sixth consecutive appearance of the tournament, entering in the 87th minute and featuring in the entirety of a thrilling, back-and-forth extra-time session. The versatile midfielder appeared in every match of the tournament, helping the U.S. MNT to its seventh Gold Cup title.

Pulido recorded his fourth Gold Cup appearance with a 15-minute cameo in the late stages. The Mexicans were tabbed as heavy favorites going into the titanic matchup, boasting a first-choice squad and a bevy of international experience, but a young American squad led by head coach Gregg Berhalter oozed the toughness and resolve of vintage U.S. MNT sides to claim a deserved win.

5. Sporting and Tito's Team Up

Sporting Kansas City and Love, Tito’s, the philanthropic arm of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, announced a new initiative last week to directly support the philanthropic efforts of local nonprofit organizations.

Love, Tito’s will donate $10,000 annually to The Victory Project, Sporting Kansas City’s foundation. In addition, Love, Tito’s will also donate $600 for every assist by a Sporting Kansas City player at Children’s Mercy Park during the Major League Soccer season toward a total $10,000 contribution shared amongst three Kansas City charities: Great Plains SPCA, Kansas City Community Gardens and Friends In Service of Heroes.

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6. Compass Minerals Supporting the Youth

Compass Minerals and The Victory Project are partnering to further the goal of Soccer for All Kids with the launch of a youth soccer scholarship program benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

Compass Minerals, a First Team Partner of Sporting Kansas City and the club’s official plant nutrition and salt provider, will fully fund multiple recreational soccer teams consisting of local children from Boys & Girls Clubs. The soccer teams will feature boys and girls from Pre-K through 2nd grade and compete in the Sporting Recreation League at Compass Minerals Sporting Fields in Kansas City, Kansas, and Garmin Olathe Soccer Complex in Olathe, Kansas.

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