This Week in Sporting - Aug. 30, 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. Splitting the Points

Johnny Russell scored a sensational free kick to help second-place Sporting Kansas City (11-4-7, 40 points) claim a 1-1 draw with the third-place Colorado Rapids (11-4-5, 38 points) in a fiercely contested Western Conference showdown on Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park.

Jonathan Lewis fired Colorado ahead with a close-range finish in the 17th minute, but Russell’s brilliant 25-yard blast restored parity four minutes before halftime as Sporting extended their MLS unbeaten run to six matches and ended the month of August without a league loss.

2. JFR for Goal of the Week

Sporting Kansas City captain Johnny Russell's sublime free kick from a 1-1 home draw against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday is one of four nominees for AT&T MLS Goal of the Week.

The world-class strike is up against goals from LAFC's Brian Rodriguez, Columbus Crew SC's Lucas Zelarayan and FC Cincinnati's Ronald Matarrita. Fans can cast their vote in the Twitter poll below between now and Wednesday.

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3. LAFC on Friday

Manager Peter Vermes' side will now prepare for a pivotal road match against LAFC (6-9-6, 21 points) on Friday with kickoff set for 9 p.m. CT at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app will provide three hours of regional coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT. The game will also air nationally in Spanish on UniMas and TUDN while streaming in English on Twitter at @TUDNUSA. Listeners can catch the action locally on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 94.5 FM

4. World Cup Qualifying on Deck

Two Sporting players have traveled to Europe for the continuation of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying in the UEFA region.

Midfielder Gadi Kinda and Israel will visit the Faroe Islands at 1:45 p.m. CT on Wednesday before hosting Austria at 1:45 p.m. CT on Saturday.

MLS All-Star forward Daniel Salloi, meanwhile, has joined Hungary for a home match against England at 1:45 p.m. CT on Thursday and a trip to Albania at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday. Fans can watch all four games live on ESPN Plus.

5. October Schedule Shuffle

Two Sporting Kansas City matches have been selected by Major League Soccer broadcast partners for national television audiences in October, the club announced last week.

The team’s road match on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Seattle Sounders FC will be shown live on Univision/TUDN as Sporting Kansas City returns to Lumen Field for a marquee match-up with last year’s MLS Cup finalists. The match, originally scheduled for 8 p.m. CT, will now start at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Four days later, Sporting will host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, Oct. 27 in a match that will be nationally televised on FS1 and FOX Deportes with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT and kickoff at 7:55 p.m. CT on Fan Appreciation Night at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets for the match are available online at SeatGeek.com.

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6. Feilhaber Named U-17 Head Coach

Sporting Kansas City announced today that longtime midfielder and MLS Cup champion Benny Feilhaber has been appointed as Sporting KC Academy U-17 head coach.

Feilhaber, who joined Sporting’s technical staff in January after concluding his 15-year playing career in early 2020, will work in tandem with Sporting KC Academy Director Jon Parry and fellow head coaches Rumba Munthali (U-19), Chris O’Neal (U-15), Declan Jogi (U-14), Luis Pacheco (U-13) and Colby Childress (U-12) as well as Academy goalkeeper coach Paulo Pita.

Additionally, Sporting Kansas City midfielders Roger Espinoza and Ilie Sanchez have taken assistant coaching roles with the Sporting KC Academy as part of their B License courses in the U.S. Soccer Coaching Education program. Espinoza will serve as a U-13 assistant to Pacheco, while Ilie will serve as a U-14 assistant to Jogi. Both players will fulfill their duties during training sessions at Swope Soccer Village and at competitive matches throughout the Kansas City area.

7. U.S. WNT Coming to KC

The U.S. Women’s National Team, winners of four FIFA World Cups and four Olympic Games, will travel to Kansas City to play Korea Republic at 7 p.m. CT on Oct. 21 at Children’s Mercy Park, U.S. Soccer announced last week.

Tickets for the match will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Sept. 15 via Ticketmaster.com. Sporting KC Season Ticket Members will have access to a pre-sale beginning at 10 a.m. CT on Sept. 13 and fans can sign up now to be notified when tickets go on sale.

The U.S. roster will feature the players from this summer’s bronze-medal winning Olympic Team, which includes captain Becky Sauerbrunn, KC NWSL goalkeeper Adrianna Franch and four of the top scorers in U.S. Soccer history with Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe.

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