"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. Get Your Tix
Single-game tickets for Sporting Kansas City’s first four home matches of the 2021 MLS regular season are now on sale at SportingKC.com/tickets. Individual match tickets for contests at Children’s Mercy Park through May 29—beginning with the highly anticipated home opener against Orlando City SC on April 23 and continuing through a Memorial Day Weekend matchup versus Houston Dynamo FC—can be purchased here.
Sporting Kansas City announced last month that Children’s Mercy Park will begin the season with a reduced capacity of approximately 6,500 fans. Sporting will continue to implement comprehensive health and safety protocols at all home matches, including a limited-capacity seating plan and mandatory face coverings for supporters.
2. Busio Brilliance
Midfielder Gianluca Busio bagged a sensational long-range goal on Saturday to lift Sporting Kansas City to a 1-0 win over LA Galaxy in the club’s final match of the 2021 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy. Busio conjured his moment of magic in the 33rd minute at Kino North Complex in Tucson, Arizona, as Sporting Kansas City concluded their four-game preseason slate with a 2-1-1 record.
With four exhibition matches in the bag, Sporting will return to Kansas City tonight and train for the next two weeks at Compass Minerals National Performance Center ahead of a long-awaited MLS regular season opener at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, April 17, at 7 p.m. CT. Vermes' side will then host Orlando City SC in a high-profile Children's Mercy Park home opener on Friday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. CT.
3. Season Countdown
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, is serving 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 highlights the many reasons to be excited for what’s ahead. To visit the series homepage as it expands, visit SportingKC.com/2021countdown.
4. April Fools' Day Special
Sporting Kansas City announced on April 1 that the club has acquired 25-year-old Mexican international striker Dani Rojas on loan from English club AFC Richmond for the 2021 MLS season. As part of the loan deal, Sporting has agreed to ship a metric ton of Kansas City barbeque sauce to AFC Richmond manager and Kansas native Ted Lasso.
5. Sporting KC II
The USL Championship announced last week its full schedule for the 2021 regular season, which will see Sporting Kansas City II play 32 matches from May 1 to Oct. 30. The structure for the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs, as well as kickoff times and broadcast details for all regular season matches, will be announced soon.
Led by fourth-year head coach and former Sporting Kansas City great Paulo Nagamura, Sporting KC II has been placed into the Central Division of the Eastern Conference alongside Atlanta United 2, Birmingham Legion FC, FC Tulsa, Indy Eleven, Louisville City FC, Memphis 901 FC and OKC Energy FC. Sporting KC II will play all seven Central Division opponents four times each—twice at home and twice on the road. The club will also host two Mountain Division foes—Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on May 14 and El Paso Locomotive FC on May 30—and visit Pacific Division sides LA Galaxy II on May 19 and Oakland Roots SC on Oct. 30 in the regular season finale.