"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.
1. The Schedule is Set
Major League Soccer announced last week the full match schedule and broadcast details for the historic MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Sporting Kansas City will kick off their Group D campaign on July 12 against rivals Minnesota United FC before facing the Colorado Rapids on July 17 and Real Salt Lake on July 22, with all three games shown live nationally on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN app.
|Sunday, July 12||Minnesota United FC||7 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN app|
|Friday, July 17||Colorado Rapids||7 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN app|
|Wednesday, July 22||Real Salt Lake||8 a.m.||ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN app|
Sporting’s group stage schedule features 7 p.m. CT matchups versus Minnesota and Colorado followed by an 8 a.m. CT meeting with Real Salt Lake, marking the earliest kickoff to a competitive game in club history. Group stage matches will count toward the 2020 regular season standings, giving Sporting the opportunity to build upon their perfect 2-0-0 start.
Sporting will announce watch party details for the club’s MLS is Back Tournament matches in the coming days.
2. Sporting Soundbites
Last week saw Sporting players and coaches join podcasts to discuss the MLS is Back Tournament and the movement to eliminate racism, among other topics. Catch up on all of them in the space below:
- Manager Peter Vermes on MLS Extratime
- Forward Khiry Shelton and Academy coach Rumba Munthali on the Sporting KC Show
- Defender Matt Besler on BSI: The Podcast
- Defender Matt Besler on Sports Radio 810 WHB
3. Sporting KC II Set for Restart
The USL Championship announced last Friday that Sporting Kansas City II will join Eastern Conference clubs Indy Eleven, Louisville City FC and Saint Louis FC in one of eight regionalized groups when the league returns to play on Saturday, July 11.
Sporting KC II will face its three Group E opponents four times each during the regular season for a total of 12 matches. The remaining three games will be played against clubs that fall within a similar geographic region. With one match already played this year—a home loss to Charlotte Independence on March 8—Sporting KC II will complete a 16-game regular season ahead of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs.
4. Unified We Play
Sporting Kansas City will be one of eight MLS clubs represented by a Unified Team of local Special Olympics Athletes in Unified We Play, a virtual competition with physical activities and soccer skills challenges from June 29 through July 31 organized by MLS WORKS through Major League Soccer’s partnership with Special Olympics.
All eight Unified Teams will have Special Olympics athletes compete in three divisions with points earned from head-to-head match-ups to take place over a five-week period. At the end of the competition, the Unified Team with the most points at the top of the overall standings will be crowned champion.
5. Alekzandur in Action
Sporting Kansas City's Alekzandur fell to eventual champion George Adamou of the New York Red Bulls in eMLS Cup 2020 presented by Coca-Cola and PlayStation last Sunday. Alekzandur had booked his spot in the marquee EA SPORTS FIFA competition by virtue of his strong performances in eMLS League Series One and Two earlier this year. His 3-0 knockout round loss to Adamou was a boost for the Red Bulls' eMLS player, who went on to defeat New York City FC's Didychrislito 3-2 in the championship to claim the majority of the $20,000 prize pool. To watch the full replay of Sunday's event, click here.
6. Blood Drives Beckon
Sporting Kansas City and Community Blood Center are teaming up to host two more urgent blood drives at Children's Mercy Park. The drives will take place on July 14 and July 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Budweiser Brew House, located in the northeast corner of the stadium at the intersection of France Family Drive and Village West Parkway. Appointments are strongly encouraged and walk-ins will only be accepted as capacity safely allows. Make an appointment using the links below or by calling 1-877-468-6844.