Starting XI 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. Men in Black
Sporting KC unveiled the club’s new secondary jersey on Wednesday, featuring a prominence of black with metallic silver elements. The secondary kit will be available to purchase beginning at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 28, when Sporting KC hosts its official Season Kickoff Party, presented by Ivy Investments. The free event at Children’s Mercy Park — held in partnership with adidas and Bud Light — will be open to the public with Sporting KC players in attendance. Click here for more information about the new kit.
2. Welcome, Felipe
Sporting KC has signed 27-year-old midfielder Felipe Gutierrez as a Designated Player, the club announced on Tuesday. Gutierrez, who has been capped 35 times by the Chile Men’s National Team, joins Sporting KC on a three-year contract through 2020 with an option for 2021.
The versatile midfielder has competed on a global stage at the sport’s highest level, featuring at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and helping Chile lift the 2015 Copa America title as champions of South America. On the club side, Gutierrez has played nearly 250 matches during his accomplished career in Chile, Netherlands and Spain.
3. Pinnacle Moment
Pinnacle — a brand new facility located a mile from Children’s Mercy Park and Wyandotte Sporting Fields in Kansas City, Kansas — officially opened Tuesday when Sporting KC trained at the $75-million, world-class venue for the first time. Formerly the National Training and Coaching Development Center, Pinnacle is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a professional sports team (Sporting KC), a national sports federation (U.S. Soccer) and a sports medicine provider (Children’s Mercy).
The state-of-the-art Pinnacle will welcome tens of thousands of visitors annually as a premier destination for the development of elite players, coaches and referees of all ages. In addition to serving as the new training home of Sporting KC, the complex accommodates the Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center at Village West and the U.S. Soccer National Development Center.
4. Dykstra Departs
Sporting KC announced today that the club has traded goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a natural second-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Dykstra joined Sporting KC ahead of the 2017 season and appeared in the club’s last four regular season matches of the year. He then made his debut in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Oct. 26, saving a penalty kick as Sporting KC suffered a 1-0 extra-time loss to the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Knockout Round.
5. Open the Window
With the likes of Felipe Gutierrez, Johnny Russell and Yohan Croizet inching closer and closer to their MLS debuts, it’s safe to say that Sporting KC — and just about every other club across the league, for that matter — has been busy this offseason. It was only on Wednesday, however, that Major League Soccer’s primary transfer window officially began. The early-season window will remain open until closing at 10:59 p.m. CT on May 1. Click here for more.
6. Rangers Rollout
Tickets for Swope Park Rangers regular season home matches at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium in Overland Park, Kansas, are now on sale via SeatGeek.com. Season ticket packages start at $7 per game and Season Ticket Members can add a Kids Club (ages 13 and under) season ticket for $50. In addition, group tickets (minimum 15 tickets) start at $8 per ticket and single-game tickets start at $9 per ticket.
7. Join the Club
Are you passionate, energetic, personable and dedicated? Do you have experience providing exceptional service? Then you will want to stop by Children’s Mercy Park on Friday. The state-of-the-art home of Sporting KC is hosting a job fair to hire a variety of matchday associates for the 2018 season. The job fair will take place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Click here for more details.
8. Ilie Up and At ‘Em
Sporting KC midfielder Ilie made an excellent first impression in 2017, delivering a stellar debut campaign in MLS. As he prepares for his sophomore season, SportingKC.com assembled an Exposure photo gallery of the Spaniard at preseason training in Arizona.
9. What's Up, Doc?
Sporting KC has welcomed Kurt Andrews to the club’s technical staff to serve as Director of Sports Medicine. Andrews, a Michigan native, arrives in Kansas City after six seasons as the LA Galaxy’s assistant athletic trainer during which time he was part of two MLS Cup championship teams. He has participated in Major League Soccer’s annual Medical Symposium each of the past seven years, while also completing U.S. Soccer’s Recognize 2 Recover concussion awareness program.
10. Back to Business
With a two-month break in the books, the Sporting KC Academy U-15's, U-17's and U-19's will host Solar Soccer Club (Dallas, Texas) in a U.S. Soccer Development Academy tripleheader starting at 10 a.m. CT Saturday at Swope Soccer Village. The Sporting KC Academy U-19's can move into sole possession of first place in the Central Conference's Frontier Division with a victory. All three matches are free and open to the public to attend.
11. Presidential Plight
U.S. Soccer’s widely covered presidential election process has featured just about everything — except any real certainty. The historic campaign for U.S. Soccer President will finally end with Saturday’s election in Orlando, Florida. Eight candidates are vying to replace longtime president Sunil Gulati, and all eight have staked their credentials over the last several weeks in the dramatic buildup to the election.
Games to Watch (Feb. 9-11)
|DAY / TIME (CT)||GAME||COMPETITION||CHANNEL|
|Friday, 1:45pm||Fiorentina vs. Juventus||Italian Serie A||beIN SPORTS|
|Saturday, 6:30am||Tottenham vs. Arsenal||English Premier League||CNBC|
|Saturday, 8:30am||Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg||German Bundesliga||FS2|
|Saturday, 10am||Toulouse vs. PSG||French Ligue 1||beIN SPORTS|
|Saturday, 11:30am||Manchester City vs. Leicester City||English Premier League||NBC|
|Saturday, 11:30am||Bayern Munich vs. Schalke||German Bundesliga||FS2|
|Saturday, 1:45pm||Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad||Spanish La Liga||beIN SPORTS|
|Sunday, 8:15am||Newcastle vs. Manchester United||English Premier League||NBCSN|
|Sunday, 9:15am||Barcelona vs. Getafe||Spanish La Liga||beIN SPORTS|
|Sunday, 10:30am||Southampton vs. Liverpool||English Premier League||NBCSN|