Starting XI, presented by Ford, is a biweekly series on SportingKC.com that highlights 11 of the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City, MLS and soccer around the globe. Click here to visit the Starting XI archive.
1. Full House
Western Conference co-leaders Sporting Kansas City (9-5-10, 37 points) will duel FC Dallas (9-5-8, 35 points) on Saturday in what is expected to be the 100th straight MLS sellout at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT, with three hours of live television coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO. The contest will also be broadcast on ESPN 99.3 FM (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), and Final Whistle Postgame Show will air immediately after the game on 99.3 FM.
A limited number of tickets for Saturday's all-important showdown are available now at SeatGeek.com, and the first 10,000 fans through the stadium gates will receive a commemorative 100th Sellout poster courtesy of match sponsor Price Chopper. Sporting KC is 9-0-6 at home in all competitions this year and currently boasts a 21-game home unbeaten streak in the regular season, the sixth longest in MLS history.
2. Up For Grabs
All remaining tickets for the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final between Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls are now on sale to the general public at SeatGeek.com. Serving as U.S. Soccer's National Championship, the Open Cup Final is slated for 8 p.m. CT on Sept. 20 at world-class Children's Mercy Park. The highly anticipated showdown will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Sporting Kansas City is a three-time Open Cup champion — having lifted the trophy in 2004, 2012 and 2015 — while the Red Bulls have never won the competition and will be making their first final appearance since 2003. Next month’s championship match will serve as the first Open Cup meeting between the MLS charter members.
3. Countdown to 100
On the precipice of the 100th consecutive MLS sellout at Children’s Mercy Park, SportingKC.com has the club’s greatest goals, best saves and most remarkable comebacks since the sellout streak began on April 7, 2012. In addition, team veterans Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi have shared their favorite memories at the world-class venue. Click here to watch the fond flashbacks with all three players.
4. We Want the World Cup
Kansas City is one of 44 cities to receive a Request for Information (RFI) from the United Bid Committee of the United States, Mexico and Canada about potentially being a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Kansas City has until Sept. 5 to declare its interest in hosting World Cup matches, with formal World Cup hosting bids due to the United Bid Committee by January 2018.
It is anticipated that at least 12 cities across the U.S., Mexico and Canada would serve as official hosts for the world’s most popular sports tournament. The joint-bid from the three countries will go up against a bid from Morocco, and FIFA Congress is expected to select the host for the 2026 World Cup in June 2018.
5. Kiwi Called Up
Sporting Kansas City midfielder James Musa was named to the New Zealand Men’s National Team on Tuesday for a pair of crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against the Solomon Islands on Sept. 1 and 5. Musa will join the All Whites in Auckland, New Zealand on Aug. 27 for training ahead of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Final Playoff. The first leg is slated for Sept. 1 at QBE Stadium in Auckland, with the return leg set for Sept. 5 at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
The winner of the OFC Final Playoff will advance to a two-legged intercontinental playoff in November, meeting a South American side with a 2018 FIFA World Cup berth on the line.
6. Fun Friday
The Swope Park Rangers (12-5-4, 40 points) are back home Friday to battle the United Soccer League’s top team, with kickoff against Real Monarchs (16-3-3, 51 points) set for 7:30 p.m. CT at Children’s Mercy Victory Field inside Swope Soccer Village. Tickets for the Back to School Night fixture are available online at SeatGeek.com or at the venue box office prior to kick off, and the first 750 fans in attendance will receive SPR jersey lunch boxes courtesy of Smile Generation. The game will also stream live on SportingKC.com.
7. Brilliant Busio
Gianluca Busio has guided the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team to the final of the CONCACAF U-15 Championship. The forward bagged a brace in each of the United States’ first two group stage wins — a 2-0 victory over Canada on Sunday and a 6-0 hammering of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday — before also starting in a 4-1 win over Costa Rica yesterday morning. Busio was back on the scoresheet in today’s 3-0 semifinal triumph against Panama, bringing his tournament total to five goals. The U.S. U-15s will now face Mexico in Saturday’s championship match in Bradenton, Florida.
8. Jaylin’s Jaunt
Sporting Kansas City Academy defender Jaylin Lindsey was named to the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team roster today for the 2017 International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek, which will run from Aug. 21-27 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Lindsey is one of 17 players on the roster who were part of the team that finished second at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which serves as the U-17’s World Cup qualifying tournament. The U.S. U-17s were drawn into Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, where they will face hosts India on Oct. 6, Ghana on Oct. 9 and Colombia on Oct. 12. The 24-team competition will see 16 teams advance to the knockout rounds, which begin Oct. 16.
9. Local Legends
In conjunction with the 100th consecutive MLS sellout at Children’s Mercy Park, Sporting KC will launch Sporting Local Legends on Saturday. The Local Legends initiative honors individuals who have dedicated significant time and energy making a positive contribution toward the growth of soccer in Kansas City. This includes coaches, fans, business leaders and other standouts who have supported soccer in the community.
Local Legends honorees will have their names placed on the Sporting Local Legends wall just outside the Boulevard Members Club Patio. They will also receive SportingStyle merchandise and tickets to the match in which they are inducted. Fans are encouraged to nominate a Local Legend by visiting SportingKC.com/locallegends.
10. Fourth Sub
Major League Soccer confirmed today that a fourth substitute will be available to teams during the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs and 2017 MLS Cup for postseason matches that require the two 15-minute extra time periods. A fourth substitute may only be used if a playoff game goes to extra time and may be used regardless of the number of substitutes a team made during regulation time.
In addition, an update to the MLS Disciplinary Committee parameters has been introduced for incidents involving Video Review. Click here for further details regarding the implementation of Video Review as it pertains to the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
11. Two on TV
Two nationally televised matches bookend Week 24 in Major League Soccer as the postseason picture continues to take shape. Sporting Kansas City fans are sure to have their eyes on Saturday's showdown with FC Dallas at Children's Mercy Park, but two other contenders in the West — namely the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC — will take the field Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Timbers will host Open Cup finalist New York Red Bulls at 9 p.m. CT Friday on FS1, while the Sounders will welcome Minnesota United FC at 9 p.m. CT Sunday on FS1.
Games to Watch (Aug. 18-21)
|Friday, 1:30pm||Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen||German Bundesliga||FS1|
|Friday, 7:30pm||Swope Park Rangers vs. Real Monarchs SLC||USL||SportingKC.com|
|Friday, 9pm||Portland Timbers vs. New York Red Bulls||MLS||FS1|
|Saturday, 6:30am||Swansea City vs. Manchester United||English Premier League||NBCSN|
|Saturday, 9am||Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace||English Premier League||NBCSN|
|Saturday, 11:30am||Stoke City vs. Arsenal||English Premier League||NBC|
|Saturday, 7:30pm||Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas||MLS||FSKC Plus, FS Midwest Plus|
|Sunday, 10am||Tottenham vs. Chelsea||English Premier League||NBCSN|
|Sunday, 1:15pm||Barcelona vs. Real Betis||Spanish La Liga||beIN SPORTS|
|Sunday, 3:15pm||Deportivo La Coruna vs. Real Madrid||Spanish La Liga||beIN SPORTS|
|Monday, 2pm||Manchester City vs. Everton||English Premier League||NBCSN|