This Week in Sporting - Nov. 22, 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. Emphatic Victory

Khiry Shelton, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Graham Zusi opened their MLS postseason scoring accounts on Saturday as No. 3 seed Sporting Kansas City claimed a comprehensive 3-1 win over No. 6 seed Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs at Children’s Mercy Park.

In the inaugural playoff meeting between Sporting and Vancouver, MLS MVP finalist Daniel Salloi added two assists and goalkeeper Tim Melia collected his 100th win for the club in all competitions. Sporting improved to a perfect 18-0-0 when scoring at least twice this year and more importantly punched a ticket to the conference semifinal stage of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

2. Seattle or RSL Up Next

Following Saturday's victory, Sporting has advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals and will play at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday live on ABC and ESPN Deportes versus the winner of tomorrow's Round One match-up between Seattle Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake.

Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal will be hosted by the higher-seeded club. If the No. 2 seed Seattle Sounders FC advance past No. 7 seed Real Salt Lake, No. 3 seed Sporting will travel to Lumen Field for a third time this season to take on last year's Western Conference champions. If Real Salt Lake prevails in the Round One finale at 9:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday live on FS1, Sporting Kansas City will host the Western Conference Semifinal at Children's Mercy Park this Sunday afternoon.

Tickets for the potential 2013 MLS Cup rematch in Kansas City are available at SeatGeek.com and all ticket buyers will be automatically refunded for their full purchase price via SeatGeek's Buyer Guarantee if Real Salt Lake does not advance on Tuesday.

3. Openers Announced

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the 2022 Major League Soccer regular season on Sunday, Feb. 27 at Atlanta United FC before hosting the club’s home opener on Saturday, March 5 against Houston Dynamo FC at Children’s Mercy Park.

Major League Soccer announced today the home openers for all 28 clubs in a highly anticipated 2022 season slated to begin on Feb. 26. The regular season will come to a close with Decision Day on Oct. 9, setting the stage for postseason play with MLS Cup to be held on Nov. 5.

2022 Sporting KC Regular Season Schedule (Weeks 1 and 2)

  • Sunday, February 27: Sporting KC at Atlanta United FC (2:00 p.m. CT)
  • Saturday, March 5: Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo FC (2:30 p.m. CT)

Season tickets for Sporting Kansas City’s 2022 campaign are available and include exclusive Season Ticket Member benefits. Fans interested in securing season tickets can visit SportingKC.com or call 888-4KC-GOAL to learn more and place a deposit in one of 10 different seating sections inside Children’s Mercy Park.

4. Offseason Events

Major League Soccer announced last week the full calendar of offseason roster building events, highlighted by the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 14 and the 2022 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas on Jan. 11.

As 2022 expansion club Charlotte FC prepareS to begin MLS play next season, the team will have the opportunity to select up to five current MLS players to help shape the core of their inaugural roster during the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft, as well as have the first overall selection in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas.

The full calendar for offseason roster building events and dates is available here.

5. Locker Room Sale Returns

The annual SportingStyle Locker Room Sale, featuring player-worn and autographed items, will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Black Friday inside the Budweiser Brew House at Children's Mercy Park. Fans can RSVP in advance and shoppers will receive 25% off all full-priced SportingStyle items and up to 50% off sale items.

6. Nagamura Departs

Sporting Kansas City II announced last week that Paulo Nagamura has ended his tenure as the club’s head coach to pursue other professional opportunities.

Nagamura, a former midfielder and MLS Cup champion with Sporting Kansas City, spent five seasons on the Sporting KC II technical staff, serving as an assistant in 2017 before taking the helm as head coach in 2018.

“It was an amazing honor to be a part of the Sporting KC II technical staff for the last five years and a privilege to start my professional coaching career at a club that means so much to me,” Nagamura said. “I want to thank Sporting Kansas City ownership, Peter Vermes and the entire organization for the opportunity. I have learned a lot during my time here and will always be grateful for this special experience.”

“We thank Paulo for his fantastic service to the club and the impact he has made within our professional pathway,” said Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director. “He was an excellent leader and mentor for all players at our club and will always be a part of the Sporting family. Paulo has a very bright future ahead of him and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”