Preview: Sporting concludes homestand Wednesday vs. LA Galaxy

Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 7:30 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
2019 MLS Regular Season | Match 13 of 34

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV | FOX Sports Kansas City Plus
English TV | FOX Sports Midwest Plus
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM
Mobile | Sporting KC App, FOX Sports GO

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

Just 72 hours removed from a pulsating 3-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City (3-4-5, 14 points) will aim to continue their winning ways Wednesday when they host long-time Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy (8-5-1, 25 points) at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and tickets are available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting concludes a three-game homestand before spending the entire month of June on the road.

FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT, while local radio broadcasts will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM. Fans can also access the Sporting KC App for in-game updates and exclusive offers, including a digital coupon for free Powerade at any Price Chopper location in the Kansas City area.

In conjunction with Wednesday’s match, Sporting will hold a Soccer For All celebration that highlights the club’s dedication to fostering local communities and providing an environment in which staff, players, partners and fans are treated with dignity and respect. The initiative signifies that everyone is welcome at Sporting, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

At the forefront of Soccer For All, Sporting has unveiled the club’s new Pride Collection, which will be on sale at SportingStyle locations inside the stadium while supplies last. Supporters are encouraged to arrive early on Wednesday if they wish to purchase the Pride top, with the Toyota Plaza opening at 5:30 p.m. CT and the stadium bowl opening at 6 p.m. CT.

Forward Johnny Russell spearheaded Sporting’s defeat of Seattle on Sunday, bagging a hat-trick en route to MLS Player of the Week honors. His influential contributions helped Sporting snap a seven-game winless draught in MLS and made him the second Kansas City player ever to record two regular-season hat-tricks for the club. Yohan Croizet added two assists in a battle that entertained from beginning to end.

Russell is now tied for fourth in MLS with seven goals this season, including a league-best three from outside the box, and his performances have contributed to Sporting’s strong offensive start to the 2019 campaign. Manager Peter Vermes’ side ranks second in MLS with 1.92 goals per game and leads the league in home scoring with an average of 2.71 goals in matches played at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting did their damage Sunday without the services of striker Krisztian Nemeth, who has scored a team-best 11 goals in all competitions this year. The Hungarian has been issued an additional game suspension (two games total) by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for his red card offense in a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 18, making him unavailable for Wednesday’s fixture against the Galaxy.

In addition to coping with Nemeth’s absence, Vermes has several injuries to account for when picking his squad for the LA clash. Among the players listed as questionable are Matt Besler (hamstring), Andreu Fontas (calf), Daniel Salloi (groin), Wan Kuzain (ankle) and Graham Zusi (oblique). Roger Espinoza (knee), Gerso Fernandes (wrist), Erik Hurtado (knee), Jaylin Lindsey (knee) and Rodney Wallace (hip) will miss out entirely.

Led by first-year head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto—who in 2008 won MLS MVP accolades and led Columbus Crew SC to the MLS Cup title—the Galaxy enjoyed a red-hot start to 2019 before cooling substantially. LA went 7-1-1 through their first nine games but lost four straight from May 4-19. The club then secured a much-needed 1-0 road win at Orlando City SC on Friday, receiving a first-half strike from Mexican international Jonathan dos Santos—a versatile midfielder who ranks among the MLS leaders in passing accuracy and tackles won.

International soccer icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains the centerpiece of LA’s attack, ranking second in the league with nine goals. The 37-year-old Swede amassed 22 goals and 10 assists in his debut MLS campaign last year and has largely picked up where he left off. He was suspended for each of the club’s previous two matches but will be in contention to feature on Wednesday, having scored upwards of 500 goals throughout his 20-year professional career.

For all the success LA has enjoyed over the last decade—the Galaxy have won three MLS Cups since 2011—their travels to Kansas City have been less than prosperous. In fact, the Galaxy haven’t won in the City of Fountains since 2007, when the then-Wizards played their home games at Arrowhead Stadium. Sporting are unbeaten in 11 straight home fixtures against LA, going 5-0-6 overall and 4-0-4 in matches at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting has dominated the series in recent years, owning a 4-0-4 record in the last eight regular season meetings. LA’s most recent win over Sporting came in April 2015 at StubHub Center. The 2018 season saw Vermes’ team emerge with a win and a draw, prevailing 2-0 on the road and settling for a 1-1 draw at Children’s Mercy Park last October. Russell scored in both appearances against the Galaxy in 2018, executing a pair of stunning solo efforts that mirrored his superb second strike versus Seattle on Sunday.

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