Starting XI: Heading North

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. Draw with the Dynamo

Sporting Kansas City (3-5-6, 15 points) played out a compelling 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo (7-3-3, 24 points) at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night. Yohan Croizet gave Sporting the lead in the 63rd minute, only for high-flying Houston winger Alberth Elis to equalize six minutes later.

2. Toronto FC on Friday

Manager Peter Vermes' side will continue its month-long road swing Friday, venturing north of the border to meet Toronto FC (5-6-3, 18 points) in a 6 p.m. CT kickoff at BMO Field. FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. CT, while ESPN 94.5 FM and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM will carry local radio broadcasts. The Final Whistle postgame show will also air immediately afterward on 94.5 FM.

3. First Friday Block Party

In conjunction with the Toronto match, fans of all ages are invited to attend Sporting’s annual First Friday Party from 5-10 p.m. CT 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 match that evening, with a large outdoor screen showing the matchup for supporters in attendance. For more information about the event, click here.

4. Internationals on Saturday

Four Sporting players have traveled to Europe to join their respective national teams for the resumption of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. An action-packed Saturday will see Botond Barath, Krisztian Nemeth and Hungary visit Azerbaijan at 11 a.m. CT, Nico Hasler and Liechtenstein visit Armenia at 11 a.m. CT, and Johnny Russell and Scotland host Cyprus at 1:45 p.m. CT. All three matches will stream live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

5. Rangers in Action

The Swope Park Rangers (1-6-4, 7 points) will play two USL championship home matches this week at Children's Mercy Park. SPR will host expansion side Loudoun United FC (2-4-3, 9 points) at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday and the Charlotte Independence (1-7-5, 8 points) at 4 p.m. CT Saturday, with tickets to both games available at SeatGeek.com or at the stadium's east box office on matchday. Both fixtures will also stream live on ESPN+.

6. The Victory Lap

Sporting fans and families of all ages are welcome to participate in The Victory Lap 5K Run & Walk this Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park. All funds raised from the inaugural event will go directly to The Victory Project, the philanthropic arm of Sporting Kansas City that helps children fighting cancer and all of life’s challenges. Registration is now open and includes a race T-shirt, a finisher scarf and a complimentary ticket to the Swope Park Rangers home match vs. Charlotte Independence at 4 p.m. CT that afternoon at Children’s Mercy Park. The Run & Walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. CT, with participants starting and finishing inside the world-class stadium.

7. MLS All-Star Fan Voting

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.

8. Radio Show on Tuesday

A new episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast will debut at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine. A Sporting KC guest will join the show as Bukaty and Augustine recap the Houston draw and look ahead to Friday's battle with Toronto FC.

9. World Cup Watch Parties

Beginning Saturday and running through July 7, No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District (1370 Grand Blvd.,) will open early at 10 a.m. for every 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup matchday. No Other Pub will show 43 of the tournament's 52 matches on their 10-foot-by-15-foot cinema screen and surrounding HDTV screens, in addition to offering food, drink and gaming options for viewers. The Women's World Cup kicks off at 2 p.m. CT Friday as hosts France meet South Korea, while the defending champion U.S. Women's National Team will open its tournament campaign next Tuesday, June 11, in a 2 p.m. CT kickoff against Thailand.

10. Sporting KC Day at the Zoo

Soccer fans and animal lovers of all ages are welcome to attend the fifth annual Sporting KC Day at the Zoo on Saturday, June 15, at the Kansas City Zoo in Swope Park (6800 Zoo Dr., Kansas City, Mo.).

Sporting Kansas City stars Gianluca Busio, Benny Feilhaber, Tim Melia and Daniel Salloi will lead a fun-filled, family-friendly day of activities at one of the premier zoos in the region, painting with elephants, playing soccer with sea lions, interacting with penguins and signing autographs for everyone in attendance.

11. King of the Court

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 second tournament on Saturday at Shawnee Park in Kansas City, Kansas (S 7th St. & Shawnee 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 will qualify for a final playoff at Children’s Mercy Park, taking place before a Sporting Kansas City home game later this year.

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