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. Galaxy Defeat
Sporting Kansas City (3-5-5, 14 points) suffered a 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy (9-5-1, 28 points) on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park, succumbing to second-half strikes from Favio Alvarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. LA entered the night winless in eight straight meetings with Sporting and 0-5-6 in their previous 11 trips to Kansas City, but Alvarez’s header in the 55th minute and Ibrahimovic’s close-range finish in the 86th minute ended both draughts and prevented the hosts from climbing out of 11th place in the Western Conference standings.
2. Sporting visits Houston
Sporting Kansas City opens the month of June with a trip to rivals Houston Dynamo on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Western Conference clash will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT as Manager Peter Vermes' side begins a four-game MLS road swing. FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest Plus will provide three straight hours of live television programming starting at 7 p.m. CT, including 30 minutes of pregame and postgame coverage. The game will also be available on FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
3. No Other Pub Watch Party
With Sporting set to embark on a four-game MLS road swing, supporters across the Kansas City region are invited to Saturday watch parties at any of the club's official pub partners. Among them is No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District, serving as the flagship hub for Sporting in the heart of downtown. From 7 p.m. CT until the final whistle, No Other Pub will offer $4 Bud Light drafts, $5 Coronas, $6 select vodka cocktails and an all-you-can-eat buffet with bottomless domestic drafts.
4. Minnesota in the Open Cup
Sporting will begin their 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign against fellow MLS club Minnesota United FC, visiting their regional rival in the tournament’s Fourth Round at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, June 11, at the new Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.
5. All-Star Voting Now Open
Fan Voting for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target is now available online at SportingKC.com, through the free MLS app, and via the EA SPORTS “More Than a Vote” Challenge. Fan voting will run until 1:59 a.m. CT on June 14. The following Sporting players are eligible for fan voting: goalkeeper Tim Melia; defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi; midfielders Gianluca Busio, Felipe Gutierrez and Ilie Sanchez; and forwards Krisztian Nemeth and Johnny Russell.
6. King of the Court on Saturday
Players of all ages are invited to join Sporting for the club's annual King of the Court Futsal Tournament series presented by Raising Caines. Registration is now open at SportingKC.com for the first tournament on Saturday at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas (2501 Minnesota Ave.). The family-friendly event is free of charge and will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT. Tournaments will be split into two age groups (13 and under, 14 and over) and the winning teams from each weekend in June will square off at Children’s Mercy Park before a Sporting Kansas City home game later this year.
7. Russell to Join Scotland
Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell has been named to the Scotland Men’s National Team for the resumption of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying during FIFA’s international window in June. Russell and Scotland will continue their Group I qualifying campaign on June 8, hosting Cyprus in a 1:45 p.m. CT matchup at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The Scots will then travel to face world No. 1-ranked Belgium on June 11 at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels with kickoff set for 1:45 p.m. CT.
8. Hasler to Join Liechtenstein
Sporting defender Nico Hasler has been selected to the Liechtenstein Men’s National Team for the resumption of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying during FIFA’s international window in June. Hasler and Liechtenstein will continue their Group J qualifying campaign on June 8, visiting Armenia for a 9 a.m. CT matchup at Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium in Yerevan. Liechtenstein will then host Finland on June 11 at Rheinpark Stadion in Vaduz with kickoff set for 1:45 p.m. CT.
9. Youngsters at Man City Cup
Three Sporting Kansas City Academy teams visited Southern California during Memorial Day Weekend to compete in the 2019 Nexen Manchester City Cup, a premier youth tournament featuring some of the most prominent academies in North America. The Sporting KC U-14s, U-13s and U-12s all played six matches across a five-day period from May 23-27, taking the field at SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside and Surf Cup Sports Complex in Del Mar.
10. Academy Tripleheader on Sunday
The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-15s, U-17s and U-19s will play their penultimate matches of the 2018-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season on Sunday, facing Solar Soccer Club in a tripleheader 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 2:30 p.m. All three matches are free and open to the public. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates this Sunday and throughout the year.
11. Hasler and Medranda on 810 WHB
The newest episode of the Sporting KC Show Podcast gives fans the chance to familiarize themselves with defenders Nico Hasler and Jimmy Medranda like never before. In a pair of heartwarming and candid interviews, Hasler and Medranda reflected on their professional careers and shared illuminating insight on their family backgrounds.