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. Sinking the Sounders
On the 10th anniversary of his trophy-laden head coaching stint in Kansas City, Manager Peter Vermes saw his team capture its biggest victory of the 2019 campaign. Felipe Gutierrez bagged a first-half brace, hulking forward Erik Hurtado provided what turned out to be the game-winner and Sporting Kansas City (7-9-7, 28 points) emerged from CenturyLink Field with a gargantuan 3-2 triumph over Seattle Sounders FC (11-7-5, 38 points) on Sunday night.
In dire need of a result, Sporting silenced the third-place Sounders to move within five points of playoff positioning in the Western Conference going into a decisive five-game stretch that will include four home fixtures at Children’s Mercy Park.
2. Team of the Week
Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez and forward Erik Hurtado were the stars of a scintillating Sunday night showdown at CenturyLink Field, propelling Sporting Kansas City to a 3-2 road win over Seattle Sounders FC. MLSsoccer.com promptly took notice, giving the duo an MLS Team of the Week nod.
3. Sporting Salutes
Manager Peter Vermes' men will look to continue their winning ways this Saturday when rivals Real Salt Lake (10-9-4, 34 points) visit Children's Mercy Park for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff. Tickets for the matchup remain available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting hosts its third annual Sporting Salutes, an immersive military appreciation night held in partnership with Hallmark that recognizes past and present service personnel and their families across all branches of the United States Armed Forces.
FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live coverage on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. CT, while Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM will air live radio broadcasts. The Final Whistle postgame show will also air immediately afterward on 810 WHB.
4. Camo Top
Fans in attendance on Saturday can visit SportingStyle locations to purchase a variety of camo merchandise while supplies last, including the limited-edition Sporting Salutes Camo Training Top and Scarf of the Match. In addition to being available on matchday at Children’s Mercy Park, the new Sporting Salutes Camo Training Top and Scarf of the Match can be purchased at SportingStyle.com and picked up at the stadium on Saturday. The training top is also on sale now at MLSstore.com.
5. Rangers Fall
The Swope Park Rangers took a 2-0 loss to Nashville SC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night. Former Rangers midfielder Lebo Moloto gave the visitors the lead in the first half before setting up Daniel Rios for his 14th goal of the campaign early in the second period to seal the result for Nashville.
6. Freeman in Action
Sporting Kansas City forward Tyler Freeman will conclude a training camp stint with the United States U-17 Men's National Team at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday in a friendly against USL Championship club LA Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The training camp takes place ahead of the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will kick off in Brazil in late October.
7. Academy Duo
Sporting Kansas City Academy midfielder Rokas Pukstas and forward Osvaldo Cisneros have joined the United States for the 2019 Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championship at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The USA, which opened Group B action with wins over Haiti and Guatemala, will wrap up the group stage at 10 a.m. CT Wednesday against Suriname before advancing to the tournament's knockout rounds later this week. Follow @USYNT on Twitter for updates.
8. Window Closing
Major League Soccer's Secondary Transfer Window, the second of two periods on the calendar in which teams can register new players via international transfers or intra-league trades, will officially close on Wednesday night. The Secondary Transfer Window is the last chance for MLS teams to complete incoming transfers and player trades for the 2019 season.
9. Kick It with Sporting
Supporters of all ages are invited to Academy Sports + Outdoors in Olathe, Kansas (14405 W. 135th St.) for the Kick It with Sporting fan event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. Fans will have the opportunity to meet a Sporting player, participate in giant lawn games, explore No Other Bus, win a variety of door prizes and more.
10. Back in Session
The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-15s will travel west this week to compete in the 2019 RSL Academy Cup at Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah. The U-15s will meet Mexican side Tijuana at 5 p.m. CT Wednesday, hosts Real Salt Lake at 2 p.m. CT Thursday and Napa United at 10 a.m. CT Friday before taking the field for a placement match on Saturday. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for updates throughout the competition.
11. Meet and Greet
Sporting forward Krisztian Nemeth will participate in a meet and greet at Price Chopper in Lenexa, Kansas (19601 W. 101st St.) from 1:30-3 p.m. CT on Sunday. The appearance includes photo and autograph opportunities with the Hungarian international, who leads Sporting with 11 goals this season across all competitions.