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. Sporting vs. Vancouver on Saturday
Sporting Kansas City (2-4-4, 10 points) will look to bounce back from Sunday's 1-0 defeat at D.C. United when they begin a three-game homestand Saturday against the 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 contest will be televised live on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus and FOX Sports Midwest Plus. Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM will carry local radio broadcasts.
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, click here.
2. Busio, Freeman and USA-17s vs. Mexico Tonight
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio exploded for three assists in a man-of-the-match performance on Tuesday, leading the United States U-17 Men’s National Team to a 4-0 semifinal win over Canada in the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Busio, Sporting teammate Tyler Freeman and the USA U-17s prevailed 3-0 in Sunday’s quarterfinal versus Panama to punch a ticket to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil later this year. The U.S. will be one of four representatives from the Concacaf region alongside Canada, Mexico and Haiti.
Tonight's championship clash between the USA and Mexico is a rematch of the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Championship Final, which saw Sporting defender Jaylin Lindsey and the Americans fall in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw through regulation. El Tri have won three straight tournament titles and an all-time best seven overall.
3. For Club and Country
A limited-time For Club and Country ticket package is now on sale at SeatGeek.com, giving fans the opportunity to enjoy three marquee matches at world-class Children’s Mercy Park in the space of a week.
The For Club and Country package, priced at just $88, consists of a ticket to the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Group D doubleheader on June 26—headlined by the United States Men’s National Team versus Panama—as well as a ticket to Sporting Kansas City’s high-profile showdown with MLS Supporters’ Shield leaders Los Angeles Football Club on July 3. Supporters can click here to purchase the ticket package while supplies last, offering seats in sections 101, 102, 133 and 134 of Children’s Mercy Park.
4. Besler on 810
Matt Besler joined Sports Radio 810 WHB on Wednesday morning to discuss the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan of the month of May, Busio going off on the U-17 Men’s National Team, the return of Benny Feilhaber and recovering from his hamstring injury. Besler addressed how Feilhaber’s return brings some confidence to the team and how he looks forward to returning to the field soon after his injury.
5. Feilhaber on the Sporting KC Show
Midfielder Benny Feilhaber joined hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine on the Sporting Kansas City Show Podcast Tuesday. Feilhaber discussed his decision to return to Kansas City, bringing a newborn son into the world, how he envisions himself fitting into the squad and the challenges posed by Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
6. Benny’s Best Moments
SportingKC.com has put together a list of midfielder Benny Feilhaber’s best moments. Part 1 consists of his early moments on the team from 2013-2015, including an MLS Cup championship. Part 2 consists of his time with the team from 2015-2017. It includes the 2015 Open Cup run, being announced as one of the three MLS MVP finalists in 2015 and a return to the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2017.
7. King of the Court
These fun, family-friendly futsal tournaments are free of charge and will take place during the first four Saturdays of June, running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT at four different locations in Kansas City, Kansas
8. Rangers vs. Atlanta United 2
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 the stadium's east box office on matchday.
9. Academy at Swope Soccer Village
The Sporting KC Academy U-15s, U-17s and U-19s will continue their playoff pushes Saturday in a U.S. Soccer Development Academy tripleheader against the Dallas Texans at Swope Soccer Village. The U-15s will kick off at 10 a.m. CT, followed by the U-17s at noon and the U-19s at 2:15 p.m. All three games are free and open to the public, and fans can follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates.
10. Vancouver Loses to Atlanta
Atlanta United defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 on Wednesday at BC Place. Atlanta’s goal came from Josef Martinez’s first-half penalty kick, marking his fifth goal of the season. Vancouver will be at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT.
11. Fantasy Camp
Sporting Kansas City is hosting a two-day adult camp created personally by Peter Vermes from July 20-21. This camp includes training sessions at our world-class $90 million facility, recovery sessions with our medical staff, happy hours, exclusive tours not available to the general public, tickets to Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas on July 20, and culminates in a scrimmage on the field at Children’s Mercy Park.