"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. Thursday Night Lights
Sporting Kansas City’s home match against Minnesota United FC in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs has been rescheduled for Thursday and will be televised nationally on FOX, Major League Soccer announced today. The Western Conference Semifinal at Children’s Mercy Park, originally slated for Wednesday, will now kick off at 7:31 p.m. CT on Thursday with live coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT on FOX, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app. This shift in scheduling was not a result of COVID-19.
All tickets purchased for the originally scheduled match at Children’s Mercy Park will be honored on Thursday night.
Additionally, MLS has announced that the Western Conference Final will now take place next Monday, Dec. 7, at a time to be determined with national coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app. The match was previously slated for Sunday, Dec. 6. The 25th MLS Cup remains set for Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. CT on FOX and UniMas/TUDN.
2. Match Coverage
In addition to catching national broadcasts on FOX, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app, fans can follow Thursday's matchup live on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 94.5 FM.
For the second straight game, supporters can also access the Sporting KC app for an exclusive pregame show with interviews from Sporting players and analysis from Nate Bukaty, Jacob Peterson and Carter Augustine. The app-exclusive pregame program will begin at approximately 7 p.m. CT.
3. Familiar Foes
Thursday’s showdown will mark the first time Sporting and Minnesota have met in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The Midwestern rivals have squared off 13 times across all competitions since Minnesota joined MLS in 2017, with Sporting owning a 7-4-2 record overall and a perfect 6-0-0 mark at home. The Loons have been outscored 15-1 in their six previous visits to Children’s Mercy Park.
Top-seeded Sporting ended the 2020 regular season by going 6-1-1 down the stretch, claiming their fourth first-place conference finish since 2011, before ousting the San Jose Earthquakes in Round One. Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Minnesota boasts a league-best nine-game active unbeaten run after going 4-0-4 in their last eight regular season games and defeating the Colorado Rapids in their Round One contest. The Loons haven’t lost since Sept. 23.
4. SKC II Roster Moves
Sporting Kansas City II announced today that the club will return eight players for the 2021 season.
Sporting KC II has exercised contract options for forward Enoch Mushagalusa and goalkeeper Remi Prieur. The following six players are also under contract with the club in 2021: goalkeeper Brooks Thomson, defenders Petar Cuic and Kaveh Rad, midfielders Jake Davis and Christian Duke, and forward Dominik Resetar.
Additionally, defender Danny Barbir is out of contract with the club, however Sporting KC II has extended an offer to the player and contract negotiations are ongoing.
5. 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 and preview Thursday's playoff showdown between Sporting and Minnesota. Previous episodes of the Sporting Kansas City Show are available here.
6. Giving Tuesday
Thanks to a generous donation from The Toy Foundation, Lucy’s Kids for Peace and Sporting Kansas City are joining together for The Great Toy Giveaway from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday at Children’s Mercy Park.
On Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that inspires generosity through charitable donations and acts of service, volunteers will be giving out thousands of new toys to area families who have been invited through various community organizations.
The Great Toy Giveaway is a unique peer-to-peer giving program that provides students the opportunity to put their compassion into action by distributing toys to children in need. With their overlapping missions of supporting children, the partnership between Kids for Peace and The Toy Foundation not only brings joy to the youth receiving new toys, but also to the local students who are putting their compassion into action as they create kind and inspirational notes of friendship that are attached to the toys.