Preview: Sporting to host Atlanta United FC in Retro Night showdown on Sunday

Sporting Kansas City vs. Atlanta United FC
Sunday, May 5, 2019 | 8 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
2019 MLS Regular Season | Match 9 of 34

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV | FS1
Spanish TV | FOX Deportes
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
English Radio | SiriusXM FC
Spanish Radio | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM
Mobile | Sporting KC App, FOX Sports GO

Sporting KC App | By The Numbers | Five Things to Know | Videos
Match Notes | Media Guide | MatchCenter | FOX Sports GO Link

A marquee MLS matchup beckons Sunday night as Sporting Kansas City, first-place finishers in the Western Conference last season, hosts defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United FC at 8 p.m. CT at Children’s Mercy Park.

Tickets for the highly anticipated Retro Night showdown are available at SeatGeek.com, including a $40 Cinco de Mayo Tailgate Package consisting of a match ticket, an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet and two beverages. The first 10,000 fans through the Children’s Mercy Park gates will also receive a free 1999/2019 team poster courtesy of match sponsor The Kansas City Zoo.

Sunday’s contest will air live nationally on FS1, FOX Deportes and SiriusXM FC, while Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM will transmit local radio broadcasts. Fans can also catch a live stream on FOX Sports GO and receive additional in-game updates on the new Sporting KC App, available for free download on the App Store and Google Play.

Sporting enters Week 10 of the MLS campaign with the second-best scoring offense in the league, having bagged 19 goals through eight matches. Manager Peter Vermes’ men have been particularly lethal at Children’s Mercy Park, where they have scored 15 times in four league games and 23 times in seven competitive matches overall. Sporting is unbeaten in 10 straight regular season home games dating back to last August and boasts a 29-3-15 regular season home record since June 2016.

Last weekend’s 4-4 draw with the New England Revolution saw Felipe Gutierrez and Krisztian Nemeth notch two goals apiece. Nemeth has a team-best 10 goals in all competitions this year, needing 14 more to tie the club record for most goals in a single season.

Indeed, Sporting have had little trouble on the offensive side in recent weeks. The bigger challenge has been limiting the opposition, as the club has conceded four goals in consecutive MLS matches for the first time since 2002. To complicate matters, Sporting currently has nine players on the club’s injury report heading into Sunday. Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Gerso Fernandes, Erik Hurtado, Jaylin Lindsey, Jimmy Medranda and Rodney Wallace are all out, while Spaniards Andreu Fontas and Ilie Sanchez are listed as questionable with calf issues.

Atlanta United FC were the toast of MLS last year, improving on a solid 2017 debut with a rampant 2018 campaign that culminated with an MLS Cup victory over the Portland Timbers. Reigning MLS MVP Josef Martinez amassed a record-breaking 30 regular-season goals, playmaker Miguel Almiron landed a transfer to Newcastle United in the English Premier League with his magisterial midfield displays, and head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino hoisted the trophy before taking the same job with the Mexican national team.

However, Atlanta’s bid to repeat is off to a rocky start. Martino has been replaced by Frank de Boer, and an offense that ranked first in MLS last season has a league-worst six goals through seven matches in 2019. The Five Stripes currently occupy 10th place in the Eastern Conference, and while midfielder Ezequiel Barco has impressed in the early stages—he leads the team with three goals and 14 chances created—the likes of Martinez and marquee offseason signing Pity Martinez have combined for just two goals.

Sporting are 1-0-1 in two previous meetings against Atlanta, earning a 1-1 home draw on Aug. 6, 2017 and prevailing 2-0 on the road on May 9, 2018. Gerso and fellow forward Daniel Salloi scored second-half goals in last year’s victory as Sporting became the first team ever to shut out Atlanta in a regular season match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Continuing a long-standing Retro Night tradition, fans will have the opportunity to purchase the club’s new retro jersey at SportingStyle locations inside the stadium on Sunday while supplies last. A comprehensive throwback experience at Children’s Mercy Park will feature 1990s pregame music and videoboard graphics paying homage to the old-school Kansas City Wiz rainbow.

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