This Week in Sporting - Feb. 28, 2020

This Week in Sporting presented by The Smile Generation: Nov. 23, 2020

"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. Instant Classic

Goalkeeper Tim Melia saved all three penalty kicks in a decisive shootout on Sunday as top-seeded Sporting Kansas City defeated the No. 8 seed San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on penalties following an unforgettable 3-3 draw in Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday afternoon at sunny Children’s Mercy Park.

Roger Espinoza gave Sporting an early lead in Sunday’s instant classic before the Earthquakes surged ahead through Carlos Fierro and Shea Salinas. After Ilie Sanchez pulled Sporting level in the opening moments of the second half, 18-year-old Gianluca Busio became the youngest MLS player to record a goal and an assist in a playoff match by firing the hosts into a 3-2 lead on 91 minutes. Not to be outdone, all-time MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski salvaged a last-gasp equalizer for San Jose to force extra time.

After a goalless extra time session, Melia delivered the heroics by saving spot kicks from San Jose’s Osvaldo Alanis, Jackson Yueill and Cristian Espinoza to improve to 6-0 in penalty shootouts throughout his career. Sporting’s Johnny Russell, Ilie Sanchez and Khiry Shelton all converted their attempts to vault Manager Peter Vermes’ men into the next round of the playoffs, capping one of the greatest games in Children’s Mercy Park history.

2. Loons Up Next

After beating the San Jose Earthquakes on penalty kicks following a 3-3 draw in Sunday's scintillating Round One showdown at Children's Mercy Park, top-seeded Sporting Kansas City has advanced to host No. 4 seed Minnesota United FC in the Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. The highly anticipated match between Sporting and Minnesota will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 1 or Wednesday, Dec. 2 at Children's Mercy Park. Major League Soccer will announce the schedule for the Conference Semifinals in the coming days. 

Tickets for Sporting's next playoff game are now available exclusively to Season Ticket Members during a 24-hour presale. Remaining tickets available will then go on sale to the general public via starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 24) at 10 a.m. CT.

Sporting owns a 7-4-2 record against Minnesota in all competitions, including a perfect 6-0-0 mark at home. The Loons have been outscored 15-1 on their six previous visits to Kansas City.

3. "KC As One" Masks

In conjunction with the start of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, Sporting Kansas City has partnered with Harvesters - The Community Food Network to launch the “KC As One” mask campaign. The community initiative will help feed those in need throughout the holiday season while also supporting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now through the end of the year, supporters can visit to purchase a limited-edition “KC As One” facemask. Proceeds from mask sales will go to Harvesters, a regional food bank serving the entire Kansas City region. For every mask sold, Harvesters will be able to provide up to 18 meals for individuals and families in need.

4. Locker Room Sale

Sporting Kansas City's ultimate shopping event of the season is hitting Children's Mercy Park on Black Friday. 

The SportingStyle Locker Room Sale is slated for this Friday, Nov. 27, featuring a wide variety of player-worn and autographed items such as jerseys, training tops and more. Better yet, supporters in attendance will receive 25% off all full-priced SportingStyle items and up to 50% off sale items. The highly anticipated Locker Room Sale will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT in the Budweiser Brew House, located at the northeast corner of Children's Mercy Park at the intersection of Village West Parkway and France Family Drive. 

Sporting Kansas City will implement comprehensive health and safety protocols for the event and everyone in attendance must wear face coverings. Individuals planning to attend can RSVP and book their time by clicking here. For more information, email or call 913-912-7563.

5. Award Winners

Sporting Kansas City announced last week the winners of the 2020 Sporting Club Awards presented by Audi, recognizing outstanding performances over the course of the 2020 season. Votes from supporters determined the following award winners:

  • Most Valuable Player presented by Audi: Johnny Russell
  • Offensive Player of the Year presented by Ivy Investments: Alan Pulido
  • Defensive Player of the Year presented by Compass Minerals: Roberto Puncec
  • Newcomer of the Year presented by Blue KC: Gadi Kinda
  • Goal of the Year presented by T-Mobile: Erik Hurtado

Sporting Kansas City also selected award winners in the following categories:

  • Golden Boot presented by Technology Group Solutions: Gadi Kinda, Alan Pulido and Johnny Russell
  • Neal and Jeanne Patterson Humanitarian of the Year: Khiry Shelton
  • Sporting KC II Most Valuable Player presented by Ivy Investments: Wilson Harris
  • Bob Gansler Academy Player of the Year presented by Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center: Josh Chong
  • Sporting Club Network Member of the Year presented by Price Chopper: Sporting Iowa

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 Sunday's remarkable win over San Jose and look ahead to next week's playoff showdown between Sporting and Minnesota. Previous episodes of the Sporting Kansas City Show are available here.