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. Summertime Setback
Sporting Kansas City (4-7-7, 19 points) suffered a 5-1 loss to MLS Supporters’ Shield leaders Los Angeles Football Club (12-2-4, 40 points) on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park. Yohan Croizet came off the bench to score the hosts’ lone goal in the 85th minute, but LAFC received goals from five different players to extend their cushion atop the Western Conference to nine points and keep Sporting at the foot of the standings.
2. Back on Saturday
An opportunity to bounce back presents itself Saturday when Sporting hosts long-time rival Chicago Fire (5-7-7, 22 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the match are available at SeatGeek.com and fans can catch the action live on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
3. Sunday Spectacular
Sunday is the most anticipated day of the year on the soccer calendar, and fans of all ages can enjoy every moment of the action from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT with free watch parties at KC Live! and No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District.
What’s on tap for the ultimate Soccer Sunday? The Women’s World Cup champion will be crowned in France when the U.S. WNT battles the Netherlands at 10 a.m. CT on FOX. The Copa America champion will be crowned in Brazil when the hosts face Peru at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN Plus. And the Concacaf Gold Cup champion will be crowned in Chicago when the U.S. MNT meets archrivals Mexico at 8 p.m. CT on FS1.
4. Great Wolff
Sporting Kansas City has announced former forward Josh Wolff as the newest member of the club’s Sporting Legends hall of honor. Wolff, who starred for the Kansas City Wizards from 2003-2006 and 2008-2010, will be officially inducted as a Sporting Legend in a pregame ceremony before Sporting Kansas City hosts FC Dallas on Saturday, July 20, at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets for the Western Conference clash are available now at SeatGeek.com.
Wolff, currently an assistant coach for the United States Men’s National Team, is the 10th club icon to join Sporting Legends, an initiative launched in 2013 that pays tribute to all-time greats while providing a platform for inductees to engage with the Kansas City soccer community. Wolff was selected through an online ballot of write-in votes submitted by fans.
5. Milestone Man
Left back Seth Sinovic logged his 250th appearance for Sporting in all competitions on Wednesday, taking the field in a 5-1 loss to MLS Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC. Sinovic, who joined the team in a 2011 trade from the New England Revolution, becomes the eighth player in Sporting history to reach 250 games played for the club. He is one of four players on the current roster to hit the landmark alongside captain Matt Besler, defender Graham Zusi and midfielder Roger Espinoza.
6. Vermes Hits 400
Peter Vermes, who took the managerial helm in 2009, coached his 400th Sporting match in all competitions on Wednesday. To say a lot has changed since Vermes' first match in charge in August 2009 would be an understatement. At the time, Sporting still went by the Kansas City Wizards, home games took place at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, and the club's current trophy cabinet had four fewer titles than it does today. Fast-forward over a decade, and Vermes has become the longest-tenured head coach in MLS and one of the winningest coaches in league history.
7. Benny and Sal
Episode 5 of BS The Podcast dropped Wednesday as Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber and Sal Zizzo caught up with 14-year MLS veteran Dax McCarty, whom Sporting will face at 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday when the Chicago Fire pay a visit to Children's Mercy Park. In addition to discussing his infamous Twitter troll, McCarty dished on the contentious final days of his tenure with the Red Bulls and shared a few revealing stories about his time with the U.S. MNT.
8. Operation: Back of the Net
Major League Soccer has partnered with Southern New Hampshire University and the USO to launch Operation: Back of the Net, an initiative to raise funds for and honor the men and women who selflessly serve our nation. For every goal by a U.S. based club between Wednesday and Sunday this week, SNHU will donate $2,000 to the USO in support of transitioning service members.
9. Going to Disney World
What's better than a visit to Disney World? Adding a Sporting Kansas City road match into the trip. Away tickets for Sporting’s match at Orlando City SC on Wednesday, Aug. 14, are now available. Click here to request your tickets to the contest, slated for 6:30 p.m. CT at Exploria Stadium near downtown Orlando (7:30 p.m. local time).
10. Rangers in Action
The Swope Park Rangers (2-8-6, 12 points) claimed a thrilling 2-1 win over rivals Saint Louis FC last weekend 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.
11. Good Samaritans
Sporting and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City are teaming up throughout 2019 to recognize Blue KC Sporting Samaritans, honoring students and teachers who make the Kansas City community a better place to live, work and play. Once a month, a Samaritan will be recognized on the pitch at Children's Mercy Park before a Sporting KC home game. The Samaritan and a limited number of guests will receive a behind the scenes VIP experience with a wide variety of all-inclusive perks. Supporters can nominate members of their community to be the next Blue KC Sporting Samaritan at SportingKC.com/bluekc.