Sporting Park will host the first National Women's Soccer League match in stadium history when FC Kansas City kicks off their 2015 season at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday against Sky Blue FC.
Tickets start at $10 for general admission seating on each end of the stadium and are available to purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park box offices this weekend. Gates will open at 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday in anticipation of the largest crowd in FC Kansas City history, a record currently held by the 6,784 fans in attendance at the team's inaugural match two years ago.
FC Kansas City returns to the field for the first time since lifting the NWSL Championship Trophy on Aug. 31, 2014 with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Reign. Ten of the 14 players who featured in the final for FCKC remain on the club's roster, which is led by captain Becky Sauerbrunn.
The two-time NWSL Defender of the Year and Best XI selection is one of six FC Kansas City players which made the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2011 FIFA World Cup along with Nicole Barnhart, Amy LePeilbet, Heather O'Reilly, Lauren Holiday and Amy Rodriguez. All six stars then played in front of 16,000+ supporters at Sporting Park in September 2011 for their first international match since reaching the World Cup final.
#SKCvRSL: Meet Sauerbrunn and O'Reilly on Sprint Plaza from 6-7:30 p.m. on Saturday
Holiday was named the NWSL's Most Valuable Player in 2013 after leading the league in both goals and assists. She has collected NWSL Best XI honors each of the past two seasons and was awarded U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year distinction in 2014.
She is joined on the FC Kansas City attack by Rodriguez, who scored 13 goals in 2014 -- second most in the NWSL -- en route to also earning Best XI recognition. Rodriguez scored in all three matches against Sky Blue FC last season as FC Kansas City improved to 3-1-2 in the all-time series with the lone loss coming in the first-ever meeting.
On the opposite end of the field, FC Kansas City is anchored defensively by Barnhart in net. NWSL's Goalkeeper of the Year in 2013, she'll direct a backline that features fellow 2013 Best XI recipient Leigh Ann Robinson alongside Sauerbrunn, LePeilbet and Becca Moros.
Moros -- acquired from the Portland Thorns in the offseason -- is one of several newcomers for FC Kansas City in 2015, headlined by the midfield additions of O'Reilly (a three-time Olympic gold medalist) and U.S. WNT veteran Yael Averbuch. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski added further depth to his squad with the signings of Liberty, Missouri natives Shea Groom and Kaysie Clark, as well as University of Missouri product Domi Richardson.
Following an unbeaten home record in 2014, FC Kansas City will now look to extend their 13-game undefeated streak in KC as the Blues begin their title defense. The top four finishers in the nine-team standings at the conclusion of the 20-game regular season will advance to the playoffs, scheduled to take place Sept. 12-13 (semifinals) and Sept. 26-27 (championship).
Sporting Park will be the third MLS venue utilized for an FC Kansas City match after previous road games at Providence Park in Portland and BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The team's nine subsequent home matches
will be played at recently-renovated Swope Soccer Village
in Kansas City, Missouri.