Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy - 20 Days

Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy: 20 Days until MLS is Back

As Sporting Kansas City prepares for its 26th season as a charter member of Major League Soccer, SportingKC.com is rolling out a 26-day countdown to the start of the 2021 campaign. A mouthwatering opening weekend of MLS action will see Sporting Kansas City visit the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. CT on April 17, giving supporters their first look at Manager Peter Vermes’ side since last December.

The 2021 Preseason Countdown, presented by Children’s Mercy, will serve as the comprehensive, go-to preview of everything that awaits Sporting Kansas City in the weeks and months to come. From key storylines and bold predictions to statistical breakdowns and players to watch, the 2021 Preseason Countdown will highlight the many reasons to be excited for what’s ahead. To visit the series homepage as it expands, visit SportingKC.com/2021countdown.


On Wednesday, clubs and supporters alike rejoiced when Major League Soccer dropped the 2021 MLS regular season schedule. This momentous offseason announcement paved the way for excitement and anticipation as Sporting Kansas City prepares for another successful campaign in the friendly confines of Children's Mercy Park.

Sporting's world-class stadium will host 17 regular season fixtures over the course of 2021, most of which will take place against Western Conference opponents. Tickets to the first four home contests will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, March 31, with capacity limited to 6,500 fans to start the season.

As a long-awaited run of games approaches, we identify one good reason to attend each Sporting Kansas City home match in the space below.

April 23 vs. Orlando City SC (6:30 p.m. CT)

Sporting's first home game in over four months will feature an Eastern Conference favorite visiting Kansas City. Fans are likely to see the home debuts of Frenchmen Remi Walter and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin in a rare Friday night fixture that will be televised nationally on FS1.

May 9 vs. Austin FC (6:30 p.m. CT)

Expansion side Austin FC is led by head coach Josh Wolff, assistant Davy Arnaud and defender Matt Besler. Do those names sound familiar? Yeah, that's because all three of them are Sporting Kansas City legends. This game will be quite the reunion.

May 16 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1 p.m. CT)

A Sunday afternoon contest will see Sporting Kansas City celebrate Soccer For All, partnering with The Victory Project to make the sport of soccer more accessible to children with disabilities or limited financial resources. Stay tuned for ways that fans can support the initiative.

May 29 vs. Houston Dynamo FC (7:30 p.m. CT)

Sporting's final home match for until late June will punctuate a festive Memorial Day Weekend and mark the continuation of a long-standing rivalry with Houston.

June 23 vs. Colorado Rapids (7:30 p.m. CT)

Established in 2013, Sporting Legends pays tribute to club icons and provides a platform for inductees to reconnect with the Kansas City soccer community on an annual basis. On June 23, Sporting will induct an 11th club great into the esteemed hall of honor.

June 26 vs. LAFC (4 p.m. CT)

LAFC might be the best MLS opponent to visit Kansas City this season. Led by prolific forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi and talented midfielders Eduard Atuesta and Latif Blessing, LAFC will face Sporting in a mouthwatering Saturday afternoon showdown on ESPN.

July 17 vs. Austin FC (7:30 p.m. CT)

If you can't make it to the match on May 9, this is your chance to see a new expansion side in action as Sporting begins a busy run of mid-summer matchups.

July 21 vs. San Jose Earthquakes (7:30 p.m. CT)

Could this be the final time that Chris Wondolowski, the all-time leading goal scorer in MLS history, visits Children's Mercy Park? It very well could be, and if this match is anywhere close to as entertaining as the playoff game between the sides last November, you won't want to miss it.

July 31 vs. FC Dallas (7:30 p.m. CT)

Sporting will honor the service and sacrifice of military service members and their families when the club hosts the fourth annual Sporting Salutes. The initiative is normally held in partnership with military units from Kansas and Missouri and includes on-field recognition of servicemen and women, plus a variety of Sporting Salutes-themed, limited-edition merchandise for fans.

Aug. 18 vs. Portland Timbers (7:30 p.m. CT)

Two teams have combined to win each of the last six Western Conference titles. Seattle Sounders FC have won four and Portland have won two. The Timbers always boast a bevy of talent, particularly in the midfield with the likes of veteran Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco and Diego Chara making life uncomfortable on opponents. Three points here would see Sporting build some real momentum going into the late summer.

Aug. 28 vs. Colorado Rapids (7:30 p.m. CT)

Two words: Retro Night. In late August, Sporting will roll out a wide range of vintage Kansas City merchandise and provide a comprehensive throwback experience at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sept. 11 vs. Chicago Fire FC (7:30 p.m. CT)

Sporting's final inter-conference meeting kicks off a home-heavy stretch of the schedule, which could also feature multiple home games in Leagues Cup.

Sept. 15 vs. Minnesota United FC (7:30 p.m. CT)

This is a chance at revenge. Sporting suffered a 3-0 home playoff loss to Minnesota last December in a game that has almost certainly intensified what many people call the friendliest rivalry in sports. We'll see home much longer the "friendly" label lasts.

Sept. 26 vs. Seattle Sounders FC (5 p.m. CT)

As mentioned above, Seattle have won four of the last six Western Conference crowns. Any time Sporting has the chance to knock them off at home is an opportunity to relish. This also happens to be Sporting's annual Kick Childhood Cancer match.

Oct. 3 vs. Houston Dynamo FC (time TBD)

This will be Sporting's last home match for three and a half weeks and the club's last weekend home game until the final day of the regular season.

Oct. 27 vs. LA Galaxy (7:30 p.m. CT)

In the penultimate home match of the regular season, Sporting Kansas City will give special thanks to the very lifeblood of the club—the supporters themselves. No group of people is more responsible for making the Children’s Mercy Park experience so special quite like the fans, who will experience a slew of unique perks when the Galaxy, featuring Mexican internationals Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Jonathan dos Santos, visit Kansas City.

Nov. 7 vs. Real Salt Lake (5 p.m. CT)

Decision Day against rivals Real Salt Lake with playoff positioning potentially on the line? Enough said.

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