"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. Sting in the Tale
Sporting Kansas City (6-4-2, 20 points) dropped a 3-2 decision against FC Dallas (5-2-4, 19 points) on Saturday afternoon at Children's Mercy Park. Johnny Russell scored twice in the second half to rally Sporting from a 2-0 deficit after Franco Jara scored three minutes before and three minutes after halftime, but Ryan Hollingshead sealed the visitors' third straight victory with an 86th minute game-winner.
2. Lions Loom on Wednesday
Western Conference contenders Sporting Kansas City (6-4-2, 20 points) will continue their push for first place on Wednesday when the club faces upstart Orlando City SC (6-2-4, 22 points) at 6:30 p.m. CT at world-class Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting will look to bounce back from Saturday’s heartbreaking 3-2 home defeat to FC Dallas, while Orlando will aim to continue their winning ways after thrashing Chicago Fire FC by a 4-1 scoreline that same evening. Tickets for the game are available online at SeatGeek.com.
Wednesday’s inter-conference clash will feature national coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app, marking the third time Orlando has visited Children’s Mercy Park. The Lions lost on their previous trips to Kansas City in 2016 and 2018, but head coach Oscar Pareja’s side is in the midst of its best season to date. Orlando has never reached the playoffs since joining MLS in 2015, but a balanced attack sparked by Portuguese international Nani and young forwards Chris Mueller and Daryl Dike has the Lions on course for a high finish in the East.
3. Stunned in St. Louis
Guided by third-year head coach and former Sporting Kansas City great Paulo Nagamura, Sporting KC II (4-8-1, 13 points) were eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday after conceding a last-gasp goal versus Saint Louis FC (6-4-3, 21 points) in a five-goal thriller. The cross-state rivals took a 2-0 halftime lead with goals from Tyler Blackwood and Russell Cicerone, but a spirited fightback saw midfielder Petar Cuic and Sporting KC Academy product Isaiah LeFlore open their Sporting KC II scoring accounts to level the score at 2-2 in the 86th minute. With all to play for in the dying embers of the match, Saint Louis defender Sam Fink bagged a 95th-minute winner to condemn the visitors to bitter defeat.
4. Southbound to Austin
With their postseason aspirations dashed, Sporting Kansas City II will embrace the role of spoiler beginning Tuesday when they visit Group D playoff hopefuls Austin Bold FC (3-3-6, 15 points) in a fascinating USL Championship clash at Bold Stadium in Austin. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT with a live stream on ESPN Plus and additional in-game updates on Twitter via @SportingKCII.
5. Super Saturday
The second weekend of MLS NEXT saw the Sporting Kansas City Academy post three wins and a draw against Minnesota-based Shattuck-St. Mary’s on Saturday at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Competing in the newly formed youth league launched by Major League Soccer, the Sporting KC U-19s posted their second straight 1-0 victory to open the new season. They were joined in the win column by the rampant U-17s and U-15s, while the U-16s battled to a draw.
6. MLS Unites to Vote
Major League Soccer (MLS), Black Players for Change (BPC), and the MLS Players Association (MLSPA) last week launched MLS Unites to Vote, a League-wide, non-partisan initiative to help players, staff and fans register to vote and participate in this year’s election. Kicking off in advance of National Voter Registration Day (Tuesday, Sept. 22), MLS Unites to Vote will leverage enterprise-wide platforms to educate our community on the voting process, drive voter registration, encourage volunteerism on election day, and showcase the efforts of MLS clubs and players.
7. Kick Childhood Cancer
During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Sporting Kansas City has made a team-wide effort to Kick Childhood Cancer. To learn more about the philanthropic initiatives led by Sporting and The Victory Project, the club's foundation dedicated to helping children and families affected by cancer, click here.