Starting XI: Back to the Blue Hell

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. RSL Defeat

Sporting Kansas City (4-6-7, 19 points) concluded a five-game road trip in the month of June with a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake (7-8-2, 23 points) at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. Liberian international Sam Johnson's first-half brace lifted the hosts to their third straight home win as both teams—which met in last year's Western Conference Semifinals—reach the halfway-point of the regular season on the outside of the playoff race.

2. Back Home for LAFC

Following a month-long road trip that took the club to five different cities, Sporting Kansas City will return to Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday for a highly anticipated showdown with MLS Supporters’ Shield leaders Los Angeles Football Club (11-2-4, 37 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT.

General match tickets for Wednesday remain available at SeatGeek.com, with the first 5,000 fans through the stadium gates receiving a Sporting KC fanny pack courtesy of Mainstreet Credit Union. FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live coverage starting at 7 p.m. CT. Listeners can also catch the Western Conference clash on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM, while the Sporting KC App will provide additional in-game updates and exclusive offers.

3. Americana Ticket Package

In conjunction with the LAFC match and the Fourth of July holiday, Sporting has launched a limited-time Americana ticket package and unveiled its new adidas x Sporting KC Men’s Americana Top. The $45 Americana ticket package is available at SeatGeek.com while supplies last, consisting of a South Stand general admission match ticket to #SKCvLAFC, an all-inclusive food and drink pregame tailgate, and postgame access to the Children’s Mercy Park pitch for the premier fireworks show in Kansas City. The Americana Top will be available Wednesday at the stadium in limited quantities and can also be purchased via matchday pre-orders at SportingStyle.com or at MLSstore.com.

4. Chicago on Saturday

Sporting faces a quick turnaround after battling LAFC, as the Chicago Fire (4-7-7, 19 points) will visit Children's Mercy Park for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff on Saturday. Ticket are on sale at SeatGeek.com and the match will be shown live on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO with radio broadcasts on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM. The Final Whistle postgame show will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB immediately following both games this week.

5. World Cup Watch Party

Sporting has partnered with the Kansas City 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid and the Kansas City Power & Light District to host free Women’s World Cup watch parties at the KC Live! Block and No Other Pub. The reigning World Cup champion United States Women's National Team will continue their pursuit of a second straight title at 2 p.m. CT Tuesday, facing England in the semifinals in Lyon, France.

6. Rangers Prevail

The Swope Park Rangers (2-8-6, 12 points) claimed a thrilling 2-1 win over rivals Saint Louis FC on Sunday and will play for a second straight home victory this Sunday at Children's Mercy Park, hosting first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies (10-1-6, 36 points) at 4 p.m. CT. Tickets for the Eastern Conference clash are available at SeatGeek.com or at the stadium box office on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. CT. Fans can also catch the game streaming live on ESPN Plus.

7. Tune In Tuesday

A new episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast will debut Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. In addition to hearing from a Sporting KC guest, hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine will look ahead to a pivotal pair of home games at Children's Mercy Park and discuss all the storylines emerging from the Women's World Cup and the Concacaf Gold Cup.

8. Gold Cup Semifinals Set

The 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals rounds have been set. Haiti and Mexico will battle for a spot in the finals on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. CT at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The match will be aired on FS1, Univision, UDN and FOX Sports GO.

The second semifinal game, set for Wednesday, features Jamaica and the United States going head to head at 8:30 p.m. CT at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. The match will be aired on FS1, Univision, UDN and FOX Sports GO. The winner of both semifinal rounds will advance to the finals on Sunday.

9. All-Star Skills Challenge

On Tuesday, July 30 at 7 p.m. CT, soccer icons from the MLS All-Stars, Orlando City SC and Atletico de Madrid will compete in three skills in the new MLS All-Star Skills Challenge. Wayne Rooney, Carlos Vela, Jonathan dos Santos, Nani and other soccer stars will compete in shooting accuracy, touch and volley, and passing. Fans can watch the MLS All-Stars Skills Challenge on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS App.

10. Just Because with Botond Barath

Just Because, presented by Hallmark, is a feature series on SportingKC.com that provides an exclusive look into the lives of players outside of soccer—because everyday moments are sometimes worth celebrating just like a game-winning goal. In the second edition of Just Because, we catch up with center back and Hungary native Botond Barath, who left his hometown of Budapest for the first time last December to join Sporting Kansas City.

11. Sporting Partners with Domino’s

Sporting Kansas City introduced Domino’s as the club’s official pizza provider on National Pizza Day in February, launching a three-year partnership agreement with local franchisee Jamie Poulsen, President and CEO of Dream Team Pizza, that delivers for youth soccer families and professional soccer fans alike.

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