"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. To visit the series archive, click here.
1. Tripped in Portland
Sporting Kansas City (5-3-2, 17 points) saw their four-game unbeaten run come to an end in a narrow 2-1 road loss to the Portland Timbers (4-4-0, 12 points) on Saturday night at Providence Park. Homegrown defender Jaylin Lindsey tallied his second goal of the season to give the visitors a first-half lead, but the Timbers struck twice before halftime through Dairon Asprilla and Marvin Loria to claim victory.
2. Home Sweet Home
Occupying second place in the Western Conference, Sporting will look to bounce back from Saturday's loss in Portland when they host two regular season matches this week at Children's Mercy Park.
On Wednesday, Manager Peter Vermes' side will welcome the third-place Colorado Rapids (5-2-1, 16 points) for a 7:30 p.m. CT showdown with tickets available at SeatGeek.com. In a pregame ceremony shortly before kickoff, former captain and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen will be inducted as the newest member of the Sporting Legends hall of honor. Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app will provide three hours of live coverage starting at 7 p.m. CT, while listeners can catch the action on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish). The Final Whistle postgame show will air immediately afterward on 810 WHB.
On Saturday, Sporting will host LAFC (2-3-3, 9 points) in a nationally televised contest on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN app. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. CT and a limited number of tickets for the match remain available at SeatGeek.com. Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM will broadcast the game locally, with The Final Whistle postgame show also airing on 810 WHB.
3. Terrific Ticket Package
Kansas City soccer fans can enjoy a double feature on Wednesday and Saturday when Sporting Kansas City and Kansas City NWSL host home matches at Children's Mercy Park and nearby Legends Field, respectively.
On Wednesday, Kansas City NWSL will host the Orlando Pride in a 1 p.m. CT kickoff before Sporting welcomes the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. CT. On Saturday, Sporting will host LAFC at 4:30 p.m. CT and KC NWSL will welcome the Washington Spirit at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Ticket packages for both doubleheaders are now available at SeatGeek.com at the links below. Each package includes a co-branded scarf as part of the purchase.
4. Capsule Collection
Sporting Kansas City and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum have partnered to commemorate Juneteenth and celebrate the 101st anniversary of the Negro leagues by launching a limited-edition capsule collection for supporters. The vintage capsule collection combines the nostalgic look of the Negro leagues with Sporting’s classic soccer threads and features a T-shirt, a match scarf and two different hats.
The capsule collection will be available beginning Wednesday while supplies last at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Extra Innings Gift Shop, NLBM.com and at all SportingStyle locations inside Children’s Mercy Park when Sporting Kansas City hosts the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. CT (tickets). Pre-orders for the new merchandise are now open at SportingStyle.com with pickup taking place on the Mazuma Plaza beginning at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
As part of the launch, Sporting Kansas City will donate a portion of all capsule collection sales to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
5. Preliminary Rosters
Concacaf released on Friday the provisional rosters for national teams participating in this summer’s 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, which will feature five games played at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City from July 11-18. Four Sporting Kansas City players were named to the preliminary squads with each national team selecting up to 60 players on their provisional roster in accordance with Concacaf regulations. The final 23-player rosters will be announced prior to the start of the competition on July 2.
Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio and goalkeeper Tim Melia have been selected by head coach Gregg Berhalter for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s provisional list, marking the first time either player has been announced to a full U.S. MNT roster. Sporting forward Alan Pulido will be in contention to represent Mexico at a Gold Cup tournament for the first time in his distinguished career as part of head coach Gerardo Martino’s preliminary squad, while veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza has been named to Honduras’ player pool after representing his country at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics.
6. Pro Pathway
Led by head coach Paulo Nagamura, Sporting Kansas City II (1-5-4, 7 points) will continue their USL Championship campaign with two road matches this week as they visit OKC Energy FC (1-4-4, 7 points) on Wednesday at Taft Stadium and Memphis 901 FC (2-3-2, 8 points) on Saturday at AutoZone Park. Both games will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and stream live on ESPN Plus.
Additionally, four Sporting Kansas City Academy teams will travel to the Dallas Metroplex this week for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase, which will take place from June 25-July 3 and crown MLS NEXT Cup champions in four age groups at the U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19 levels. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates throughout the tournament.
7. New League Rising
Continuing its deep commitment to growing and elevating the sport of soccer throughout North America, Major League Soccer today announced plans to launch a new professional league in 2022 that will complete the player pathway, from the youth development platform MLS NEXT to the professional ranks, while also bringing the excitement and passion of professional soccer to cities that currently do not have a professional soccer team.
Establishing this new league will provide an integral step in the professional player pathway, accelerating the development of elite talent by providing a highly competitive environment for rising stars to compete alongside established professional players. With a record high of 20 percent of MLS roster slots now occupied by players who were developed through MLS club academies, MLS NEXT and the new league will provide even greater opportunities to players to participate for the first team. The creation of a new league will provide MLS clubs with the optimal environment to produce the next generation of players and more opportunities for talented young players.