"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. Triumphant in Houston
Forward Alan Pulido scored two goals to lead Sporting Kansas City to a hard-fought 2-1 road victory over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night at BBVA Stadium. Homegrown midfielder Gianluca Busio assisted both strikes as Sporting (7-5-2, 23 points) kept hold of third place in the Western Conference and the slumping Dynamo (3-5-7, 16 points) remained below the playoff line.
2. Major Milestones
As detailed in the newest edition of Beyond the Box Score, presented by Compass Minerals, Pulido and Busio were the stars of the show on Saturday. However, the important result also came with a slew of major milestones for three individuals who have established themselves as club legends over the years. Manager Peter Vermes picked up his 150th regular season win, Graham Zusi made his 300th start for the club in all competitions, and Roger Espinoza registered a 40th career assist while jumping to third on Kansas City's all-time appearances chart.
3. Pulido Joins El Tri
After starring for Sporting in Saturday's defeat of Houston, Alan Pulido has joined the Mexican Men’s National Team for two upcoming matches in the Netherlands. Pulido is part of a star-studded roster assembled by head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino for international friendlies against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Amsterdam and Algeria next Tuesday, Oct. 13, in The Hague.
Wednesday's showdown with the Netherlands is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. CT at the Johan Cruyff Arena and will be shown live on ESPN2, the ESPN app, TUDN and UniMas.
4. Put Out the Fire
With Saturday's road win in the rearview mirror, third-place Sporting Kansas City will return to Children's Mercy Park this week to host a pair of Eastern Conference opponents for the first time this season.
On Wednesday, Manager Peter Vermes' side will face Chicago Fire FC (4-7-4, 16 points) in a battle that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the match are available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting looks to snap Chicago's three-game unbeaten run and keep pace in the Western Conference standings. FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live coverage starting at 7 p.m. CT, while listeners can catch the action locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with the Final Whistle postgame show airing immediately afterward on 810 WHB.
5. First Dance with Nashville
After dueling Chicago, Sporting will welcome expansion side Nashville SC (4-5-5, 17 points) to Children's Mercy Park for the inaugural meeting between the clubs. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT with tickets on sale at SeatGeek.com and three hours of live programming beginning at 6 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO. ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM will transmit the game locally over the radio.
6. Tune In Tuesday
A new episode of the Sporting Kansas City Show will debut Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Hosts Nate Bukaty, Carter Augustine and Aly Trost will hear from a Sporting guest, recap Saturday's win over Houston and preview a busy slate of MLS action. Previous episodes of the Sporting Kansas City Show are available here.
7. SKC II Ends Season
Sporting Kansas City II (5-10-1, 16 points) ended the club’s fifth USL Championship season on Saturday night, taking a 2-1 loss to Group E winners Louisville City FC (11-3-2, 35 points) at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.
Seventeen-year-old forward Tyler freeman, on loan from Sporting Kansas City, slotted home his second goal of the campaign midway through the second half, but Louisville did their damage with a pair of strikes in the first 45 minutes to push their unbeaten run to 11 matches and seal the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference ahead of the USL Championship Playoffs later this month.
8. Academy in Action
Days after Audi and Bleacher Report released Episode 2 of "The Academy," an exclusive documentary series spotlighting the Sporting Kansas City Academy, four of the club's youth sides resumed their MLS NEXT fall seasons on Saturday against Minnesota-based Shattuck St. Mary's at James Cownie Sports Complex in Des Moines, Iowa. The U-19s and U-16s rolled to comprehensive victories, the U-17s were pegged back late in a 1-0 loss, and the U-15s remained resolute on the defensive end in a scoreless stalemate.