"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. A Precious Point
Sporting Kansas City (10-4-4, 34 points) moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference following a resolute 0-0 draw against the Colorado Rapids (8-4-4, 28 points) on Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia had three excellent saves en route to his third shutout of the season, snapping Colorado's streak of 32 straight MLS home matches with a goal. Sporting's first goalless draw in the regular season moves the club one point clear of second-place Seattle Sounders FC in the West and just three points behind the New England Revolution in the Supporters' Shield race.
2. Leagues Cup Awaits
Another busy week awaits Manager Peter Vermes' men, who will begin their Leagues Cup campaign on Tuesday before continuing their Supporters' Shield chase on Saturday.
At 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Sporting will host Mexican powerhouse Club Leon in the quarterfinals in the 2021 Leagues Cup, a premier international tournament featuring elite clubs from MLS and LIGA MX. Tickets for the highly anticipated matchup are available at SeatGeek.com. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and TUDN, stream live on the ESPN app and air locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.
3. A Trip to Dallas
After hosting Club Leon, Sporting will travel south to face in-form FC Dallas (5-7-6, 21 points) in another pivotal Western Conference clash. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT with three hours of live programming set to begin at 7 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.
4. Busio Joins Venezia
Sporting Kansas City announced last Thursday that the club has transferred 19-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio to Venezia FC in the Italian Serie A, pending a physical and personal terms. Busio has joined Venezia in a club-record deal after spending five seasons in Kansas City. Busio recorded eight goals and nine assists in 70 appearances for Sporting across all competitions as one of the top teenagers in American soccer. He recently helped the U.S. Men's National Team to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup title this summer by starting in four of six appearances at the tournament.
5. Welcome, Jose Mauri
Sporting Kansas City has signed 25-year-old Argentine-Italian midfielder Jose Mauri, the club announced last Thursday. Mauri has signed an MLS contract through the 2022 season with an option for 2023. He will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
Mauri, who holds dual citizenship in Argentina and Italy, boasts six seasons of top-flight experience in the Italian Serie A, where he competed for Parma, Empoli and European giants AC Milan from 2013-2019. He arrives in Kansas City after a two-year stint with Argentine Primera Division club Talleres de Cordoba.
6. Freeman Loaned to Germany
Sporting Kansas City announced last week that the club has loaned 18-year-old forward Tyler Freeman to Karlsruher SC for the 2021-22 German 2. Bundesliga season with an option to recall the player.
Freeman, a Sporting KC Academy product and a native of Shawnee, Kansas, became the second youngest player in Sporting history upon signing an MLS contract with the club at age 15 in October 2018. Since then, the versatile attacker has recorded six goals and one assist in 35 USL Championship appearances for Sporting Kansas City II.
7. The Victory Gala
The sixth annual Victory Gala take place at 6 p.m. CT Friday at the Loews Kansas City Hotel in downtown Kansas City (1515 Wyandotte St). The flagship fundraising event for The Victory Project will feature silent and live auction items including a private jet getaway, luxury vacations, VIP experiences at Children’s Mercy Park and more. In addition to bidding on auction items, guests will be treated to dinner and live music. For more information, visit VictoryKC.org/events.
8. Two on Tap for SKC II
Led by head coach Paulo Nagamura, Sporting Kansas City II (3-10-5, 14 points) will continue their USL Championship campaign with two matches this week. The club will visit Birmingham Legion FC (9-5-2, 29 points) in a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday before hosting Atlanta United 2 (4-7-6, 18 points) in a 4 p.m. CT showdown on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park. Both games will stream live on ESPN Plus.