Starting XI - May 7, 2018

Starting XI: Here to Stay

Starting XI is a biweekly series on 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. Here to Stay

Sporting KC announced today that Manager and Technical Director Peter Vermes has signed a contract extension with the club through the 2023 season. Vermes, who became Sporting KC’s manager in 2009, has won four major championships at the helm — the 2013 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017. Currently the longest tenured manager in Major League Soccer, he has led Sporting KC to a club-record seven straight appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Under Vermes' guidance, Sporting KC has become the only American club in MLS to win four major trophies since 2012.

2. Rapids Rolled

Sporting KC (6-2-2, 20 points) opened a four-point lead at the top of the Western Conference with a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids (2-4-2, 8 points) on Saturday night at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park. Daniel Salloi’s strike in the 16th minute separated the sides as Manager Peter Vermes claimed his 150th career coaching win for the club in all competitions.

3. Down in the ATL

Vermes' men will now prepare for a high-profile showdown on Wednesday when they visit Atlanta United FC (7-1-1, 22 points) in a matchup of the top two teams in the Supporters’ Shield standings. Kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, with three hours of live coverage beginning at 6 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO. Local radio broadcasts will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle Postgame Show running immediately after the game on 810 WHB.

4. No Other Party

The official watch party for Wednesday’s cross-conference battle will take place at No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District (1370 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO), featuring $6 Till Vodka cocktails and an all-you-can-eat buffet with bottomless domestic draft beer. Specials will begin at 6 p.m. prior to kickoff at 6:30 p.m.

5. What You Missed

Didn't catch every minute of MLS Week 10?'s Charles Boehm has you covered, including his take on Atlanta United FC's 19-year-old Ezequiel Barco opening his scoring account in an impressive 2-1 road win over Chicago.

6. Rangers Strike Late

The Swope Park Rangers moved within a point of first place in the USL’s Western Conference with a 1-0 road win at OKC Energy FC on Saturday. Hadji Barry converted a penalty kick in the 86th minute for his third goal of the season and Darrin MacLeod recorded four saves for his first clean sheet of the year.

Like Sporting KC, the Rangers (4-1-3, 15 points) face a quick turnaround this week as they travel to play Real Monarchs SLC (5-1-1, 16 points) on Wednesday at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. The match will kick off at 8 p.m. CT and stream live on ESPN+.

7. Back in Action

The Sporting KC Academy will travel to Houston this weekend for a pair of tripleheaders as the 2017-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season hits the stretch run. The Sporting KC U-15s, U-17s and U-19s will face Texans SC Houston on Saturday before meeting Houston Dynamo Youth on Sunday. Follow the Sporting KC Academy on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Snapchat (skcacademy) for live updates this weekend and throughout the year.

8. Day of Giving

On Friday, Scooter's Coffee will celebrate the grand opening of its new cafe in Overland Park, Kansas (10650 Roe Ave.) with a a Day of Giving, donating 100 percent of the location's proceeds to The Victory Project. The donation day is the fifth Day of Giving in a season-long collaboration in which Scooter’s Coffee raises money for The Victory Project and helps raise awareness for the philanthropic program.

9. Join the Club

Children's Mercy Park will host a job fair this to hire Fan Services associates, taking place from 4-7 p.m. CT on both Wednesday and Thursday. The event will take place inside the Budweiser Brew House on the east side of Children's Mercy Park (One Sporting Way, Kansas City, KS 66111). Parking will be available across the street in the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot, and guests can enter the building through the Budweiser Brew House gates. All applicants must be at least 16 years old. For more information, contact Olivia Diehl at

10. El Clasico Stalemate

In the latest installment of El Clasico, Barcelona and Real Madrid played to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both scored for their respective teams. The result keeps La Liga champion Barcelona's unbeaten league record in tact, while Real Madrid moved within striking distance of second place in the Spanish table. Ronaldo and Real Madrid will play for their third straight UEFA Champions League title on May 26 against Liverpool.

11. Sir Alex

Manchester United legend and former manager Sir Alex Ferguson remains in serious condition as he recovers from brain surgery. The football world sent its best wishes to Ferguson over the weekend after the longtime coach suffered a brain hemorrhage. In a club statement, Manchester United confirmed that the procedure went well, but that "Sir Alex needs a period of intensive care to optimize his recovery."

Games to Watch (May 8-10, 2018)

Tuesday, 1:45pm Swansea City vs. Southampton English Premier League NBCSN
Tuesday, 2pm Les Herbiers vs. PSG Coupe de France Final beIN SPORTS
Wednesday, 1pm Barcelona vs. Villarreal Spanish La Liga beIN SPORTS
Wednesday, 2pm Manchester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion English Premier League NBCSN
Wednesday, 2pm Juventus vs. AC Milan Coppa Italia Final GOLTV
Wednesday, 6:30pm Sporting KC at Atlanta United FC MLS FSKC Plus, FS Midwest Plus
Wednesday, 8pm Rangers at Real Monarchs SLC USL ESPN+
Thursday, 1:45pm West Ham vs. Manchester United English Premier League NBCSN