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. Rapid Reaction
With a two-game road swing in the rearview mirror, Sporting Kansas City (10-13-7, 37 points) will return home Saturday to battle the Colorado Rapids (10-15-6, 36 points) at Children's Mercy Park. Tickets for the Western Conference clash are on sale at SeatGeek.com as Sporting hosts Kick Childhood Cancer Night in partnership with The Victory Project, the club's foundation established to help children battling cancer. The first 2,000 fans to visit the Black & Veatch activation tent on the Toyota Plaza will receive a Sporting co-branded smart phone pop socket.
FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live match coverage on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Listeners can also catch the action live on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show airing immediately afterward on 810 WHB.
Sporting Kansas City and The Victory Project, the club’s foundation established in 2013 to help children battling cancer, is celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with a series of community events throughout September, highlighted by “Kick Childhood Cancer” matchday initiatives held in conjunction with Sporting Kansas City home games at Children’s Mercy Park this Saturday and next Sunday, Sept. 29. Click here for full details.
3. Beat the Lines
Matchday pre-orders for Saturday's contest are now open at SportingStyle.com, where ticket holders can purchase limited-edition items including the new Kick Childhood Cancer training top and scarf of the match. The new training top and scarf of the match will also be available to purchase Saturday at SportingStyle locations inside Children’s Mercy Park while supplies last.
4. Vote Sporting
Fan voting is now open for the 2019 Sporting Club Awards, which will be announced at Pitch Black presented by Audi on Sept. 27 at Children’s Mercy Park.
Supporters can cast their online ballots for the following awards through Wednesday, Sept. 25:
- Most Valuable Player, presented by Audi
- Offensive Player of the Year, presented by Ivy investments
- Defensive Player of the Year, presented by Firedoor Solutions
- Goal of the Year
5. Just Because with Gerso
You may keep up with Sporting Kansas City on the pitch, but what about away from the field? Just Because, presented by Hallmark, is a feature series that provides an exclusive look into the lives of players outside of soccer—because everyday moments are sometimes worth celebrating just like a game-winning goal. In the seventh edition of Just Because, we catch up with forward Gerso Fernandes, who joined Sporting Kansas City in 2017 and quickly became a fan favorite at Children's Mercy Park.
6. SPR Saturday
The Swope Park Rangers (4-16-7, 19 points) will put a two-game shutout streak on the line Saturday when they travel to face the Charlotte Independence (5-13-11, 26 points) in an Eastern Conference clash on Saturday night at the Sportsplex at Matthews in Matthews, North Carolina. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT with a live stream on ESPN Plus and additional in-game updates available via the USL Championship Match Center and @SwopeRangers on Twitter.
7. High Marks
In a double matchweek that saw the Swope Park Rangers post back-to-back shutouts at Children’s Mercy Park, defender Jaylin Lindsey and goalkeeper Eric Dick were tabbed to the USL Championship Team of the Week for the 28th round of the 2019 regular season. Lindsey, a 19-year-old right back on loan from Sporting Kansas City, was named among the USL Championship’s best XI as one of three defenders in the group. Dick, a 24-year-old also on loan from Sporting, took a spot on the Team of the Week bench.
8. Three's Company
Three Sporting KC Academy players have been invited to attend the United States Under-16 Boys' National Team Talent Identification training camp from Sept. 19-23 at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, California, U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday. Dylan Hooper, Gavin Krenecki and Kayden Pierre are among 59 players selected for the camp, which will be led by U.S. Soccer Director of Talent Identification Tony Lepore and a technical staff that includes U.S. Men’s National Team legend Landon Donovan.
9. 24 Hours of FIFA 20
As part of September’s Kick Childhood Cancer program, eMLS is teaming up with MLS WORKS to host a very special event on Tuesday, Sept. 24 – the hotly-anticipated pre-release date for FIFA 20. Dubbed “24 Hours of FIFA 20,” it’s a charity stream featuring eMLS players to enlist the gaming community in the KCC campaign while also providing sneak peeks of game play. eMLS players representing 19 MLS clubs will each stream for a certain duration from their local location, and once they’re done, they will hand it over to the next eMLS player to stream, and so on until the 24 hours are complete.
10. Day of Giving
On Friday, Scooter's Coffee locations in Lenexa, Kansas (7741 Quivira Rd.) and Shawnee, Kansas (11002 W. 75th St.) will celebrate a Day of Giving by donating all proceeds to The Victory Project in a continuation of its longstanding partnership with the foundation.
11. Academy in Action
Three Sporting Kansas City Academy teams will take the field Saturday at Swope Soccer Village for the resumption of the inaugural DA Cup. A tripleheader against fellow MLS academy Toronto FC is on tap with the U-15s kicking off at 9 a.m. CT, followed by the U-17s at 11 a.m. and the U-19s at 1 p.m. All three games are free of admission and open to the general public. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates Saturday and throughout the 2019-20 Development Academy season.