"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. Starting April 17
Major League Soccer has announced an updated start date for the 2021 regular season, with play now set to get underway on Saturday, April 17. The update follows the announcement that MLS and the MLS Players Association have ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement through 2027.
2. Preseason Dates
MLS has also announced an update to the MLS club preseason report dates. With the MLS regular season kicking off the weekend of Saturday, April 17, MLS players will report on March 1 for a seven-day quarantine period, medical exams and testing prior to the start of team training on March 8. The new preseason report date allows for six weeks of training before Major League Soccer’s 26th season kicks off the weekend of April 17.
3. Open Cup Returns
At its meeting earlier this month, U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee approved the schedule, format and a contingency plan for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. U.S. Soccer’s National Championship returns to the field for its 107th edition after not crowning an annual champion in 2020 for the first time in its storied history, which dates back to the inaugural 1913-14 competition.
The 2021 Open Cup will kick off May 4 and 5 and consist of only five rounds rounds – instead of its usual eight – due to COVID-19 implications and a congested schedule later in the year. The five rounds will also take place across a much shorter timeframe of just two months, with the Open Cup Final scheduled for June 29 or 30.
4. Gerso Says Farewell
Gerso Fernandes has bid adieu to Sporting Kansas City ahead of a reported move to South Korea. The 29-year-old winger, who had 18 goals in 107 regular season appearances across four seasons, publicly said his goodbyes to the club and their supporters in an Instagram post Sunday.
5. Regional Champions
The polar vortex has engulfed Kansas City in a deep freeze, but the Sporting Kansas City Academy caught fire this weekend at the US Youth Futsal Central Regional Championships in Overland Park, Kansas.
The Sporting KC U-12s and U-15s stole the show as Central Regional champions, thereby qualifying for the US Youth Futsal National Championship from July 9-12 in Northeast Kansas. The U-13s and U-14s also competed at the event, which marked the first competitive action of the year for the Sporting KC Academy.
6. Alekzandur in eMLS Cup
Last week delivered a mixed bag of results for Sporting Kansas City eMLS player Alekzandur. On one hand, he fell narrowly short of advancing to eMLS League Series Two after placing 13th in qualifying with a 6-5-1 record. On the bright side, however, he has secured a spot in the 2021 eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola. The flagship eMLS event of the 2021 season is slated for March 20-21, featuring the top FIFA players in the country squaring off on PlayStation 4.