This Week in Sporting - March 9, 2020

This Week in Sporting presented by The Smile Generation: March 9, 2020

"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a biweekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.


1. Fantastic Four

Two goals on both sides of halftime propelled Sporting Kansas City (2-0-0, 6 points) to a comprehensive 4-0 victory over rivals Houston Dynamo (0-1-1, 1 points) in an electric home opener at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night. A rampant display saw red-hot newcomers Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda score for the second straight match, while veterans Roger Espinoza and Khiry Shelton also found the back of the net to give Sporting an early perch atop the Western Conference standings.

Saturday’s scintillating performance—which treated supporters to the first match at Children’s Mercy Park in 160 days—equaled Sporting’s largest margin of victory in a home opener and marked the first time ever that the club has opened an MLS regular season with back-to-back wins by multiple goals.

2. Dynamic Duo

Everybody please make some space for red-hot newcomers Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda. Both players found the back of the net on Saturday—Pulido with a predatory first-half finish off the post and Kinda with a cool close-range effort in the second half—to further endear themselves to the Children’s Mercy Park faithful. They also tallied their first MLS assists, making strong claims for MLS Team of the Week honors.

As one might guess, Pulido and Kinda have made collective history in their first two Sporting matches. They are now the third and fourth newcomers all-time to score in each of Sporting’s first two games of a regular season. The others to do so? Danish dynamite Miklos Molnar in 2000 and Argentine Claudio Bieler in 2013. Sporting went on to win MLS Cup in each of the previous two instances.

3. Melia Magic

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia had just one save to make on Saturday night, but it was an awfully impressive one that ultimately prompted a rewriting of the club history books. Melia's fingertip stop to deny Memo Rodriguez in an emphatic 4-0 defeat of Houston was among the many flashbulb moments that brought a sold-out crowd to its feet at Children's Mercy Park. It also allowed Sporting's veteran goalkeeper to collect his 46th career shutout in the MLS regular season, vaulting him into sole possession of first place on Kansas City's all-time charts.

4. Bring on ATL

With two emphatic wins under their belts, Sporting will now prepare for a mouthwatering showdown next Saturday at Eastern Conference powerhouse Atlanta United FC (2-0-0, 6 points). The cross-conference clash at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is slated for 6 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO.

5. Compass Minerals Onboard

Sporting Kansas City announced on Friday an expanded First Team partnership with Compass Minerals to become the club’s first sleeve sponsor. The Compass Minerals logo will be prominently displayed as a patch on the right sleeve of Sporting’s primary and secondary jerseys as part of the multi-year partnership, which also includes naming rights to Pinnacle National Development Center and Wyandotte Sporting Fields.

6. "The Bachelor Live on Stage"

On a team chock full of handsome heartthrobs, Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi will have quite a unique opportunity at romance Thursday night. The 23-year-old will headline "The Bachelor Live on Stage" at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, meeting 10 women vying for his heart in a show that begins at 8 p.m. CT. The live event is open to guests of all ages and tickets are selling fast, so get yours while supplies last at ArvestBankTheatre.com.

7. Curtains Raise for Sporting II

Sporting Kansas City II took a 2-1 loss to the Charlotte Independence on Sunday in the club's 2020 USL Championship opener at Children's Mercy Park. An early own goal put Sporting II in the driver's seat, but Charlotte replied with goals in either half from Derek Gebhard and Dane Kelly to claim all three points in the back-and-forth Week 1 encounter.

Third-year Sporting II head coach Paulo Nagamura fielded a formidable starting XI that included six players on loan from Sporting Kansas City: goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, defensive trio Amadou Dia, Jaylin Lindsey and Graham Smith, and Homegrown midfielders Gianluca Busio and Felipe Hernandez. Elsewhere, Croatian center back Petar Cuic and Haitian forward Fredinho Mompremier earned their Sporting II debuts.

Series: 
Topics: