Starting XI: Heart of Autumn

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. Busio in Brazil

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio started his third straight match at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Saturday as the United States fell 4-0 to the Netherlands at Estádio da Serrinha in Goiânia, Brazil. With the defeat, the United States finishes in fourth place in Group D and falls short of reaching the Round of 16.

Busio played every minute for the U.S. at the competition, scoring the United States' only goal of the competition in a 4-1 loss to Senegal and captaining his country in a scoreless draw against group winners Japan for the United States' only point of the tournament.

2. Hungary for More

Sporting Kansas City defender Botond Barath has been selected to the Hungary Men’s National Team for two matches during the November FIFA window, including the Magyars’ pivotal UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying finale against Wales.

Barath and the Magyars will first host South American power Uruguay in a friendly on Friday, Nov. 15, at the brand-new Puskas Arena in Budapest. The inaugural match at the world-class, 67,889-seat stadium is slated for noon CT. Hungary will then prepare for an all-important UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier at Wales on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Cardiff City Stadium, kicking off at 1:45 p.m. CT with live streams on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.

3. Rubber Match

MLS Cup 2019 will take place Sunday at 2 p.m. CT as Seattle Sounders FC hosts Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field. The highly anticipated contest will air live nationally on ABC and Univision, effectively serving as a rubber match after Seattle and Toronto previously met in the 2016 and 2017 editions of MLS Cup. Seattle prevailed on penalties in 2016 before the Reds exacted revenge the following year, with both matchups unfolding at BMO Field in Toronto.

4. All Square at Swope

The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-19s came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake in an exciting U.S. Soccer Development Academy matchup on Saturday at sunny Swope Soccer Village. Tucker Lepley and Clarence Weah scored on both sides of halftime as Sporting remained unbeaten in the Frontier Division and denied Real Salt Lake a road victory.

5. Roadies in the Rockies

The Sporting Kansas City U-15s, U-17s and U-19s will travel to the state of Colorado this weekend for a pair of doubleheaders as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season continues. Friday’s games against Real Colorado will take place at Highlands Heritage Regional Park in Highlands Ranch, with the U-15s and U-17s kicking off at 5:30 p.m. CT and the U-19s taking the field at 8 p.m. CT.

Sunday’s fixtures against fellow MLS academy Colorado Rapids will be held at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, with the U-15s (11 a.m. CT), U-17s (1:30 p.m. CT) and U-19s (4 p.m. CT) playing back-to-back-to-back. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter and Instagram next weekend and throughout the season for updates.

6. Twitch with Kuzain

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Wan Kuzain will join club commentator and sideline reporter Carter Augustine in a FIFA 20 Twitch stream Thursday at 7 p.m. CT. Supporters can watch the live stream by visiting twitch.tv/eSportingKC as Lindsey and Augustine attempt to progress from Division 8 to Division 7 in the world's most popular soccer video game on PlayStation 4.

7. The Truce

In celebration of a long-standing Boxing Day tradition, the National World War I Museum, The Soccer Lot and Sporting Kansas City will host the seventh annual Truce 3v3 Soccer Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 26, with festivities beginning at 8 a.m. CT.

8. Forbes Rankings

Forbes' annual MLS team valuations are out, and for the second consecutive season, Atlanta United FC tops the list. The Five Stripes retained their top spot with a value of $500 million, up from $330 million this time last season. The LA Galaxy remain second at $480 million, while LAFC jump to the top three at $475 million. Sporting place 10th with a valuation of $325 million, laying the claim as the smallest-market club in the top 10.

9. USL Madness

Future MLS expansion sides Nashville SC and Sacramento Republic FC were in action on Saturday night, but both failed to reach the USL Championship Conference Finals. The final four in the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs is set, featuring defending champion Louisville City FC, an MLS-controlled team in Real Monarchs, an expansion team in El Paso Locomotive FC and a club that has reached this point in the USL postseason for the first time in Indy Eleven.

10. Donovan's Loyal

Former Major League Soccer legend Landon Donovan's USL Championship expansion side has a name and a crest. The team that will take the field for the first time in 2020 will be known as San Diego Loyal Soccer Club, which was unveiled, along with the squad’s crest, at a community event in downtown San Diego on Saturday morning. Donovan, the club's Executive Vice President for Soccer Operations, attended the event.

11. Save the Dates

Major League Soccer has announced the dates and details for the 2019 postseason roster mechanisms as current MLS clubs and MLS expansion clubs alike make crucial decisions about their 2020 rosters. On Nov. 19, the 2019 Expansion Draft will consist of Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC selecting five players each from the eligible player list.

Following the Expansion Draft, clubs will have an additional two days to make final determinations on their rosters prior to a Nov. 21 option exercise deadline. On Nov. 22, MLS Communications will release the list of players eligible for each of the postseason roster mechanisms, including the End-of-Year Waivers, Free Agency and the Re-Entry Process.

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