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. Put Out the Fire
Sporting Kansas City secured a vital 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park, using an early Yohan Croizet strike to jump from 12th to 10th in the Western Conference standings.
With the comprehensive triumph, Sporting has now won four straight home games over the Fire and extended Chicago’s road winless draught to 22 MLS matches dating back to May 2018. Between the posts, Tim Melia also recorded his 57th regular season win to tie club legend Jimmy Nielsen for the most goalkeeping victories in Sporting history.
2. Thousands Pack P&L
Over 10,000 supporters packed the Kansas City Power & Light District on Sunday morning to cheer the U.S. to a 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final. Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored second-half goals to propel the Americans to their second straight World Cup title and their fourth overall. All the while, live shots of the KC Live! Block mesmerized viewers across the country and around the world. And in the end, it was the strongest reminder yet that Kansas City is both deserving and ready to become an official Host City for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
3. Local Stars Support #KC2026
Sporting Kansas City, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals have harnessed the excitement and energy of Sunday's Women's World Cup Final to support and shine light on the Kansas City 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid. In conjunction with Sunday's electric watch party, Sporting captain Matt Besler, Chiefs quarterback and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, and Royals World Series winner Salvador Perez delivered an emphatic call to action: visit KC2026.com to sign the petition, donate and volunteer to help bring the world's biggest sporting event to Kansas City in seven years' time.
4. Sports Trivia Night
Sports fans will have the opportunity to play for prizes and test their trivia knowledge against Sporting Kansas City players on Wednesday, July 31, when No Other Pub hosts Sports Trivia Night in conjunction with the 2019 MLS All-Star Game. Sign-up is open now at SportingKC.com/TriviaNight.
Teams of 2-4 players will go head-to-head at 6 p.m. CT, competing for a variety of great prizes including VIP experiences at Children’s Mercy Park, match tickets, autographed SportingStyle merchandise and more. A group of Sporting players will also compete in the interactive event, emceed by Sporting KC commentator and Sports Radio 810 WHB host Nate Bukaty.
5. Vancouver on Saturday
Sporting Kansas City will be traveling north of the border to meet Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4-8-8, 20 points) at 9 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Western Conference clash at BC Place will be shown live on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO, including 30 minutes of pregame and postgame coverage.
The game will also be joined in progress on FOX Sports Kansas City upon conclusion of Kansas City Royals baseball. Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM will carry local radio broadcasts, while the Sporting KC App will provide additional in-game updates and exclusive offers. The Final Whistle postgame show will also air immediately after the match on 810 WHB.
6. No Other Watch Party
Fans are invited to the official watch party for Saturday's contest at No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District (1370 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO). From 8:30 p.m. until the full-time whistle, No Other Pub will offer $4 Bud Lights drafts, $5 Coronas and an all-inclusive buffet with bottomless soda and domestic draft beer.
7. Tune In Wednesday
A new episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast will debut Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine will recap the United States Women's National Team's gripping run to the FIFA World Cup title, hear from a Sporting KC guest and look ahead to Saturday's match in Vancouver.
8. Media Game Set for July 20
Rosters for the 2019 Sporting KC Media Game are set following a draft that took place at No Other Pub following the FIFA Women's World Cup Final on Sunday. Sporting will host the annual media game at halftime of the July 20 matchup against FC Dallas, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Children's Mercy Park. Captains for the two sides were drawn at random, as Marcus Officer from FOX4 and Dani Welniak from KCTV5 were awarded the privilege to pick their respective teams.
9. Rangers Fall to Rowdies
The Swope Park Rangers fell 3-1 to the first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday afternoon at Children’s Mercy Park. SPR forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker scored for the second time in as many games, slotting home midway through the second half, but Tampa Bay had already built a 3-0 cushion amidst stifling temperatures in the midsummer Kansas City sunshine.
10. USA Drops Gold Cup Finals
The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Mexico 1-0 in the Concacaf Gold Cup Final Sunday night in Chicago. LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos gave Mexico the match-winning goal in the 73rd minute and helped El Tri capture its record eighth Gold Cup title.
11. Transfer Window opens Tuesday
The Major League Soccer secondary transfer window is set to open on Tuesday and will run through Aug. 7. Teams will again be able to register new signings starting tomorrow. Per FIFA regulations, MLS teams are able to request International Transfer Certificates (ITC) from players' former clubs to complete signings, loans and transfer deals. While deals can otherwise be completed outside the transfer windows, receipt of a player's ITC is required in order to add players to official rosters and for those players to be eligible to play in competitive matches.