Preview: Sporting visits Seattle for nationally televised showdown on Sunday

Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC
Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019 | 9 p.m. CT
CenturyLink Field | Seattle, Washington
2019 MLS Regular Season | Match 23 of 34

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV | FS1
Spanish TV | FOX Deportes
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM
Mobile | Sporting KC App, FOX Sports App

Sporting KC App | FOX Sports App
Match Notes | Media Guide | MatchCenter


Two of Major League Soccer’s most successful clubs over the last decade will square off Sunday night when Sporting Kansas City (6-9-7, 25 points) visits CenturyLink Field to battle second-place Seattle Sounders FC (11-6-5, 38 points).

Kickoff is slated for 9 p.m. CT with national coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app, while listeners can catch local radio broadcasts on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM. Additional in-game updates and exclusive offers will be available via the Sporting KC App.

Supporters across the Kansas City region are invited to Sunday watch parties at any of Sporting’s official pub partners. Among them is No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District, which will offer half-price appetizers plus $4 Bud Light drafts and $5 Coronas from 8:30 p.m. CT until the final whistle.

Winners of four major championships since 2012 and riding an eight-year postseason streak, Sporting are in an unfamiliar position as the calendar turns to August. Manager Peter Vermes’ side occupies 10th place in the Western Conference following last Friday’s 3-1 loss at New York City FC. Six points separate Sporting from the seventh and final playoff spot in the West, underscoring the importance of Sunday’s fixture in the Pacific Northwest.

Injuries plagued Sporting throughout the first half of 2019, but an improved bill of health should prove helpful in the club’s mission to climb the standings. The midfield is guaranteed to see at least one change from the previous match, as Roger Espinoza will serve a one-game red card suspension. One candidate to replace the influential Honduran is Felipe Gutierrez, the team’s leading scorer who missed the NYCFC encounter due to caution accumulation. Gutierrez has a team-best eight goals this season, while forwards Johnny Russell and Krisztian Nemeth are close behind with seven each—though neither has scored since the month of May.

On the opposite sideline, Seattle appears well on its way to an 11th successive playoff berth—good for the longest active streak in MLS. The 2016 MLS Cup champions and four-time U.S. Open Cup winners are second in the West, 11 points behind runaway leaders LAFC and only a point ahead of LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. Head coach Brian Schmetzer’s men are coming off a 1-0 win at the Houston Dynamo last Saturday that produced a lone goal from U.S. international Jordan Morris.

Seattle’s success has largely stemmed from their rampant form at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders are 8-1-2 at home this year, paced by the likes of Morris and influential playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro. The talismanic Uruguayan ranks fourth in MLS with nine assists and has 23 goals and 45 assists to his name since joining the club in 2016. Elsewhere, forward Raul Ruidiaz—currently recovering from a concussion—leads the side with eight goals despite starting just 10 of Seattle’s 22 MLS matches. Other notable players nearing a return from injury include midfielder Victor Rodriguez (two goals, three assists) and defender Gustav Svennson (13 starts).

Sporting and Seattle previously met on May 26 at Children’s Mercy Park. A five-goal thriller unfolded as Russell delivered a scintillating performance that ultimately granted his team a 3-2 triumph. The Scottish international bagged a hat-trick to overcome Seattle strikes from Ruidiaz and Kelvin Leerdam, serving up one of Sporting’s best moments of 2019 to date.

Vermes’ men are 5-2-3 against Seattle over the last 10 meetings, a stretch that dates back to early 2015. Matches between the clubs have tended to be low-scoring at CenturyLink Field, with eight of the 10 meetings at the stadium (including playoffs) producing one or fewer goals. The most recent fixture in Seattle deviated from the script, as Sporting took a 3-1 loss on Sept. 1, 2018. The visitors took an early lead through now-departed forward Diego Rubio, but Seattle rallied behind an own goal, a Ruidiaz tally and a Lodeiro penalty kick.