This Week in Sporting - Feb. 28, 2020

"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. Colorado Crushed


Sporting Kansas City (10-6-3, 33 points) delivered an emphatic second-half display to surge atop the Western Conference standings on Saturday night, defeating the Colorado Rapids (5-5-4, 19 points) by a 4-0 scoreline at Children’s Mercy Park.


After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Alan Pulido, Andreu Fontas, Gadi Kinda and Gerso Fernandes all found the back of the net as part of a wire-to-wire performance in which goalkeeper Tim Melia earned his 50th regular season shutout for Sporting and moved into a tie with Tony Meola for first place on the club’s all-time regular season saves chart.



2. Playoff Math


In the second edition of Playoff Math, SportingKC.com takes a closer look at the Western Conference standings—as they stand now and as they could change over the next two weeks—as a regular season unlike any other comes to a close. Based on points and points per game, Sporting has already clinched a top-eight finish in the Western Conference and the playoff berth that comes with it. However, rare circumstances currently prevent Sporting from celebrating postseason qualification just yet. Get all of the details here.


3. Cincy Showdown


Riding a wave of momentum, Sporting Kansas City (10-6-3, 33 points) will look to continue their winning ways on Wednesday with a visit to FC Cincinnati (4-12-4, 16 points) at 6:30 p.m. CT. Sporting can clinch a berth in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a win or a draw in Cincinnati's final regular season home match at Nippert Stadium before the club moves into its new West End Stadium next year.


Wednesday's cross-conference encounter will be shown live on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO, including 30 minutes of pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. CT as well as a 30-minute postgame show. Listeners can also follow the action on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM, while viewers outside of the FOX Sports Midwest footprint can stream the contest on ESPN Plus.



4. Sunday Home Finale


After traveling to face FC Cincinnati, Sporting Kansas City will return to Children's Mercy Park for the club's regular season home finale against regional rivals Minnesota United FC (7-5-6, 27 points) at 6:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. Tickets for the match are available at SeatGeek.com with stadium capacity reduced to 18% and comprehensive health and safety protocols in place.


FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live programming on Sunday starting at 6 p.m. CT. ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM will also carry the game locally, followed by The Final Whistle postgame show on 94.5 FM. Viewers outside of the FOX Sports Midwest region can stream the match on ESPN Plus.


5. Harris Signs for Sporting


Sporting Kansas City announced Wednesday that the club has signed 20-year-old striker Wilson Harris as a Homegrown Player. Harris has signed an MLS contract through 2021 with options for 2022 and 2023, becoming the 13th Homegrown Player to emerge from the Sporting Kansas City Academy. He has scored 23 goals for Sporting Kansas City II since 2018, notably becoming the youngest USL Championship player to eclipse 20 career goals.



6. Busio Among the Best


Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio earned his second straight “22 Under 22” selection last Thursday, coming in at No. 9 in MLSsoccer.com’s ranking of the best players in Major League Soccer under the age of 22. At age 18, Busio jumped one spot in the “22 Under 22” presented by BODYARMOR after coming in at No. 10 in 2019. The Sporting Kansas City Academy product has notably become the second-youngest active MLS player to record five goals and five assists in the regular season, doing so in 47 league appearances since his club debut in 2018.



7. Combatting Racism


Major League Soccer unveiled last week a series of initiatives to combat racism, advocate for social justice and increase representation in the sport. The new programs, which include the formation of a Diversity Committee consisting of members of the MLS Board of Governors, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, representatives of the Black Players For Change (BPC), and other members of the soccer community, are the result of several months of discussions with key stakeholders across the league, including a recent meeting between the MLS Board and the BPC.

8. Academy Spotlight


Audi and Bleacher Report will release Episode 3 of "The Academy" on Friday, shining a spotlight on the Sporting Kansas City Academy and its youth development system. Over the course of five episodes, "The Academy" will provide an all-access look at the commitments and sacrifices that young athletes make within the Sporting KC Academy. To watch each episode and to learn more about the Audi Goals Drive Progress program, visit bleacherreport.com.

This Week in Sporting presented by The Smile Generation: Oct. 26, 2020 -