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. Visiting Vancouver
Fresh off a pivotal home victory over the Chicago Fire last weekend, Sporting Kansas City (5-7-7, 22 points) will look to continue their winning ways Saturday night in a showdown with Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4-8-8, 20 points) at BC Place. Kickoff is slated for 9 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM. The Western Conference clash will also be joined in progress on the main FOX Sports Kansas City channel following the conclusion of Kansas City Royals baseball.
2. Watch Party at the Pub
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.
3. Busio to Homegrown Game
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio headlines a talented roster for the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer, which will see the league’s best young players square off against Chivas de Guadalajara’s Under-20 Team on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. The annual showcase will kick off at 4 p.m. CT with an English-language live stream on Twitter.com and a Spanish telecast on TUDN.
4. FC Bayern Announce Squad
European powerhouse and seven-time defending German Bundesliga champion FC Bayern has announced the club's preseason roster for the 2019 International Champions Cup, which will feature a trip to Children's Mercy Park on July 23 for a showdown against heralded Italian side AC Milan. Tickets for the game are available now at Ticketmaster.com.
5. 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.
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.
6. Vermes Joins 810 WHB
Manager Peter Vermes joined host Soren Petro on Sports Radio 810 WHB Wednesday afternoon, where he discussed how Sporting is still capable of making serious noise in MLS. Vermes addressed the topic of getting over the hump and the pushing for a ninth straight playoff slot.
7. Hear from Zelalem
In the newest episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast, hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine talked with Sporting midfielder Gedion Zelalem. The former U.S. international, still only 23 years old, started in the defeat of Chicago and turned in arguably his best performance in a Sporting uniform to date.
8. Five on National TV
A jam-packed Week 19 slate will feature five matches broadcast to a national audience, not to mention Sporting Kansas City's pivotal trip to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 9 p.m. CT Saturday on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus and FOX Sports GO (joined in progress on FOX Sports Kansas City).
9. BS The Podcast
Five years after starring in the smash-hit YouTube series The Benny Feilhaber Show, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber and former teammate Sal Zizzo have returned with BS The Podcast. Feilhaber and Zizzo discuss topics ranging from family life to fantasy football, with a little bit of soccer sprinkled in, in addition to hearing from specials guests on each episode. Fans are encouraged to submit their questions to the show at email@example.com and give them a follow on social media.
Episode 6 of BS The Podcast dropped Wednesday as Benny Feilhaber and Sal Zizzo caught up with soccer analyst and retired forward Charlie Davies.
10. Transfer Window Opens
The Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opened on Tuesday and will run through Aug. 7. Teams will once again be able to register new signings. The opening of the transfer window also means that the trade window within MLS for players will once again open. In accordance with the transfer window, the trade window for players is open until Aug. 8. The 2019 Roster Freeze Date is Aug. 30, 2019, at which time clubs must submit their final 30-man roster.
11. Get to Know Jon Parry
Throughout the summer, SportingKCAcademy.com is publishing a series of Q&A interviews with each member of the Academy's technical staff. In the first installment, we catch up with Sporting KC Academy Director Jon Parry.