After finishing atop the Western Conference regular season standings, Sporting Kansas City will look to punctuate an unprecedented 2020 campaign by winning silverware on Major League Soccer's greatest stage. The Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs will see Sporting join an expanded field of 18 clubs, all of which have their sights firmly set on hoisting the MLS Cup on Dec. 12.
In order to claim the ultimate prize, Sporting Kansas City must navigate a single-elimination bracket packed with in-form teams. The first step is a Round One showdown with the No. 8 seed San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Nov. 22, at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. CT with live coverage on FS1 and FOX Deportes and tickets available at SeatGeek.com (general public on-sale begins Nov. 12 at noon CT).
As postseason anticipation continues to build, SportingKC.com is rolling out a 12-day countdown to the club's opening playoff match, offering a comprehensive preview of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. From key storylines and positional breakdowns to history lessons and community initiatives, our Countdown to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will highlight the many reasons to be pumped for Sporting’s pursuit of another MLS Cup title. To visit the series homepage as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/playoffcountdown.
As Sporting Kansas City prepares to pursue a third MLS Cup title, it's worth noting that the city in which it plays has developed a championship DNA over the last several years.
Spanning both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border, the Kansas City metro is home to three major professional sports franchises—each of which has been crowned a league champion since 2013.
Sporting Kansas City, of course, hoisted the 2013 MLS Cup following an epic penalty shootout victory over Real Salt Lake at Children's Mercy Park. Two years later, the Kansas City Royals reached the summit of Major League Baseball by defeating the New York Mets in the World Series. Most recently, the Kansas City Chiefs became kings of the National Football League with a Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers.
All three franchises have stood out as winners on the field, with Sporting adding three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles, the Royals making two World Series appearances and the Chiefs claiming four AFC West titles within the last seven years.
Add that all up, and Kansas City is one of just two markets in the United States and Canada to boast league championships in three of the five major pro sports leagues (MLS, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL). Kansas City stood atop the list as the only market with three before Los Angeles added NBA and MLB titles within the last month.
MARKETS WITH TITLES IN MORE THAN ONE SPORT SINCE 2013
|City||Total||Sport 1||Sport 2||Sport 3||Sport 4|
|Los Angeles||4||NHL (2014)||MLS (2014)||NBA (2020)||MLB (2020)|
|Kansas City||3||MLS (2013)||MLB (2015)||NFL (2019)|
|Boston||2||MLB (2013, 2018)||NFL (2014, 2016, 2018)|
|San Francisco||2||MLB (2014)||NBA (2015, 2017, 2018)|
|Seattle||2||NFL (2013)||MLS (2016, 2019)|
|Chicago||2||NHL (2013, 2015)||MLB (2016)|
|D.C.||2||NHL (2018)||MLB (2019)|
|Toronto||2||MLS (2017)||NBA (2019)|
Another fascinating storyline to consider is the fact that Major League Soccer will become the first of the five leagues mentioned above to host their playoff games in home markets since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a widespread sports hiatus from March to July, the NBA, NHL and MLB all conducted their postseasons in neutral-site bubbles.
The Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, however, will see higher-seeded teams play as host in a single-game, single-elimination, bracket-style format through MLS Cup on Dec. 12.
As a No. 1 seed, Sporting enters the postseason knowing that the Western Conference march to MLS Cup runs through Kansas City—a city richly defined by championship success over the last decade. Whether Manager Peter Vermes' men can add to that legacy remains to be seen, but the club will undoubtedly have the support of an entire region pushing them onward as one.