Globe Trotting: Sporting amidst unprecedented road trip with three away matches in as many countries

Sporting Kansas City’s 5-0 aggregate victory over Deportivo Toluca FC in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16—clinched with a 2-0 result Thursday night at Estadio Nemesio Diez in Toluca, Mexico—has paved the way for one of the club’s wildest road trips of all time.

With Sunday’s MLS season opener at Los Angeles Football Club followed by the first leg of the Champions League Quarterfinals on Wednesday at Independiente in La Chorrera, Panama, Sporting face the challenge of playing three away matches in three different countries, all in the space of seven days.

For perspective, Sporting have played three away games in a seven-day period just twice previously, in 1999 and 2006. Neither road trip required Sporting to leave the country, let alone do it twice.

Think that’s crazy? We’re only scratching the surface.

Sporting are not only amidst an unprecedented three-game road trip. They find themselves in the thick of a remarkable 18-day stretch in which the club will end up covering nearly 10,000 air miles. Ten thousand miles—that’s almost halfway around the world.

During this 18-day stretch, Sporting will have spent just four full days in Kansas City and played four competitive matches in three different times zones. Three of which will have taken place away from home, each in a different country. The wild travel schedule amounts to six separate flights and approximately 9,760 miles.

To helps us understand how these totals were computed, let’s take a look at Sporting’s travel log since Feb. 18—the day they returned to Kansas City from preseason training in Scottsdale, Arizona. By the time they touch down again in Kansas City on March 7, they will have covered more distance in the air than some do in their lifetimes.

Sporting Kansas City Travel Log: Feb. 18 – March 7, 2019

Date

Flight

Note

Distance

Running Total

Feb. 18

Phoenix to KC

Team returns from preseason training

1,040 miles

1,040 miles

Feb. 23

KC to Albuquerque

Team heads to New Mexico for altitude training prior to Toluca visit

720 miles

1,760 miles

Feb. 27

Albuquerque to Toluca, MX

Team travels to Mexico for Champions League

1,170 miles

2,930 miles

March 1

Toluca, MX to Los Angeles

Team head to LA for MLS season opener

1,530 miles

4,460 miles

March 4

Los Angeles to Panama City, PA

Team heads back south in longest flight of the entire road trip

3,010 miles

7,470 miles

March 7

Panama City, PA to Kansas City

Team finally returns home

2,290 miles

9,760 miles

By the Numbers: Sporting’s Unprecedented Travel Stretch

  • 18 – The time period covers 18 days, running from Feb. 18 to March 7.
  • 6 – Sporting will have taken six separate flights during this time.
  • 4 – Sporting spends just four full days in Kansas City during this stretch.
  • 4 – Sporting plays four matches during this spell, including two against Toluca and one each against LAFC and Independiente.
  • 3 – Sporting’s three away matches during the stretch take place in three different time zones (Toluca in Central, LAFC in Pacific and Independiente in Eastern).
  • 9,760 – The approximate mileage covered from Feb. 18 to March 7.

Below is a look at all three occasions in which Sporting have played three away games in seven days. The club has played three road matches in eight days on several occasions (Saturday to Wednesday to Saturday, for example), but hardly ever have they faced three roadies in the space of a single week.

Date

Match 1

Match 2

Match 3

Sept. 4-10, 1999

at San Jose
Sat., Sept. 4

at New England
Tue., Sept. 7

at Colorado
Fri., Sept. 10

Aug. 14-19, 2006

at Chicago (Open Cup)
Mon., Aug. 14

at Chicago
Wed., Aug. 16

at Chivas USA
Sat., Aug. 19

Feb. 28 – March 6, 2019

at Toluca (SCCL)
Thu., Feb. 28

at LAFC
Sun., March 3

at Independiente
Wed., March 6

As a footnote, two other three-game road trips in club history involved international matches played abroad. Both were played over the space of eight days rather than seven.

Date

Match 1

Match 2

Match 3

Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, 2001

at Dallas
Sat., Aug. 25

at Barcelona (Copa Merconorte) Wed., Aug. 29

at San Jose
Sat., Sept. 1

Aug. 7-14, 2002

at Morelia (Champions Cup) Wed., Aug. 7

at D.C. United
Sat., Aug. 10

at Chicago
Wed., Aug. 14

Sunday’s MLS season opener between Sporting and LAFC will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT with live television coverage from Banc of California Stadium on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The high-profile encounter will also air locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.

Both of Sporting’s matches against Independiente, slated for Wednesday and March 14, will stream live on YahooSports.com and the Yahoo Sports app. Tickets for the second leg at Children’s Mercy Park are now on sale at SeatGeek.com.

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