Starting XI, presented by StorageMart, 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. Capital Cost
Sporting Kansas City (2-4-4, 10 points) stumbled to a narrow 1-0 defeat at D.C. United (7-3-2, 23 points) on a dreary Sunday night at Audi Field. U.S. international midfielder Paul Arriola decided an evenly contested battle in the nation’s capital with an impressive curling strike on 78 minutes, condemning Sporting to their second straight loss and extending the club’s winless run to six league matches.
2. Caps on Tap
Sporting will look to bounce back from Sunday's setback when they begin a three-game homestand Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3-5-3, 12 points). The Western Conference clash at Children's Mercy Park will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and tickets remain available at SeatGeek.com.
Saturday's matchup will be televised live on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus and FOX Sports Midwest Plus with 30 minutes of pregame and postgame coverage, while Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM will carry local radio broadcasts. Streamers can also catch the live action on FOX Sports GO within the FOX Sports Midwest footprint or on ESPN+ elsewhere across the U.S. The Final Whistle postgame show will air immediately afterward on 810 WHB.
3. Faith and Family
The first 5,000 fans through the stadium gates on Saturday will receive a clear Sporting bag courtesy of Children's Mercy as Sporting celebrates Faith & Family Night, featuring faith-based testimony at 5:30 p.m. CT inside the Ameritas Shield Club from Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt and former Miami Heat and Kansas basketball star Wayne Simien. To purchase a $25 package including one South Stand (general admission) match ticket and access to the Faith & Family seminar, call 816-949-1206.
4. Beat the Lines
SportingStyle has opened matchday pre-orders for pickup at Saturday's match at Children's Mercy Park. Fans can shop a limited assortment of items between now and then, including the men’s Vineyard Vines Winstead stripe polo, the women’s Vineyard Vines Westerly fleece vest and the SPORTING Diagonal Stripe scarf of the match. The SportingStyle Pop-In Store in the Budweiser Brew House at Children's Mercy Park will also be open today through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Follow @SportingStyle on Twitter and Instagram for sneak peeks of all the latest club apparel.
5. First Fridays
Fans of all ages are invited to attend Sporting’s annual First Friday Party from 5-10 p.m. CT on Friday, June 7 in the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District (2020 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, MO), home to Sporting’s corporate office. Guests who RSVP to the free event at SportingKC.com/FirstFriday will be treated to complimentary snacks and beverages and receive a Sporting KC pint glass. The summer celebration will also serve as a watch party for Sporting’s away match at Toronto FC that night at 7 p.m. CT, with a large outdoor screen showing the matchup for supporters in attendance.
6. Roughed Up
The Swope Park Rangers (1-5-2, 5 points) took a 5-1 loss to Nashville SC (5-3-2, 17 points) on Saturday night at rainy First Tennessee Park. Midfielder Felipe Hernandez bagged his third goal of the season with a stunning long-range strike in the second half, but Nashville surged to victory behind a Daniel Rios brace and additional goals courtesy of Alan Winn, Kharlton Belmar and Cameron Lancaster.
7. Home on the Range
The Swope Park Rangers (1-5-2, 5 points) will continue their USL Championship campaign on Sunday, hosting Atlanta United 2 (3-5-2, 11 points) at 4 p.m. CT with a live stream on ESPN+. Tickets for the match at Children's Mercy Park are available at SeatGeek.com and and the stadium's east box office on matchday.
8. Going to Brazil
Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio and forward Tyler Freeman helped the United States U-17 Men's National Team qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Panama on Sunday in the Concacaf U-17 Championship at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Having reached the tournament semifinals, the United States will be one of four Concacaf representatives at the U-17 World Cup later this year in Brazil.
9. Conquering Canada
Having punched their World Cup tickets, the USA U-17s will now aim to win the Concacaf U-17 Championship for the first time since 2011, facing Canada at 4:30 p.m. CT Tuesday in the semifinals. The match will stream live in English on the Concacaf Facebook page while airing in Spanish on Univision Deportes. Should the Americans prevail, they will meet either Mexico or Haiti in Thursday's final.
10. Tune In Tuesday
A new episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast will debut at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday with hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine. The duo will hear from Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber and Vancouver head coach Marc Dos Santos, who previously managed the Swope Park Rangers in 2016.
11. Hey Nineteens
The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-19s strengthened their grip on second place in the Frontier Division of the 2018-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy with a 2-1 victory over Texans SC Houston on Saturday morning at Swope Soccer Village. Enzo Mauriz provided both goals for the hosts, smashing home a superb free kick in the 26th minute before burying the game-winning penalty kick on 70 minutes as head coach Rumba Munthali’s men improved their league record to 14-3-3 and all but secured a spot in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs next month in Frisco, Texas, as a top-three finisher in the division.