"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. Splitting the Points
Gianluca Busio marked his 50th career regular season appearance with a goal to help Sporting Kansas City (1-0-1, 4 points) to a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC (0-0-2, 2 points) in an exciting Children’s Mercy Park home opener last Friday.
Sporting’s two longest-tenured Homegrown Players combined on the cusp of halftime as Busio notched his sixth MLS goal off an assist from Daniel Salloi, but Orlando responded in the 79th minute through Nani to split the points in the first match at Children’s Mercy Park since December. VAR notably intervened three times throughout the contest, with Nani’s equalizer awarded after video review and both teams having goals disallowed for offside.
2. Busio Steals the Show
Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio was named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week bench today after starring in Friday's 1-1 stalemate versus Orlando. The 18-year-old's brilliant first-half goal punctuated was was his 50th career regular season match for Sporting, making him just the seventh player in MLS history to hit 50 appearances before turning 19.
3. Salt Lake on Saturday
On the heels of a 1-1 draw with Orlando last weekend, Sporting Kansas City will put their unbeaten start to the 2021 MLS campaign on the line Saturday when they visit rivals Real Salt Lake (1-0-0, 3 points) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Saturday's Western Conference clash is slated for 1 p.m. CT with three hours of live coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, the Bally Sports app and BallySports.com. Local radio broadcasts will also air on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following the match on 810 WHB.
4. Inclusive Amenities
In partnership with Variety KC, The Victory Project announced last week several new amenities for guests with disabilities and special needs, fostering inclusivity at Sporting Kansas City home matches and other events at Children’s Mercy Park.
The Victory Project and Variety KC have proudly launched these new spaces and services as part of “A Force for Good,” a community campaign launched in March that will see The Victory Project grow its commitment to helping children while joining forces with local partners to meet crucial community needs. A primary platform of “A Force for Good” is Soccer for All Kids, representing the push to create a more welcoming soccer environment for children.
5. Gold Cup to KC
Children’s Mercy Park has been selected as one of 11 host venues for this summer’s 2021 Gold Cup, Concacaf announced last Thursday. First contested in 1991, the Gold Cup is Concacaf’s flagship international competition and the 16th edition will be played from July 2-Aug. 1 to crown the best men’s national team in the region, which includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Taking place every two years, the Gold Cup returns to Kansas City, a Candidate Host City for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, for a fourth time (2011, 2015, 2019, 2021) since Children’s Mercy Park opened a decade ago as the world-class home of Sporting.
6. Matchday Mayhem
Sporting Kansas City and Breakout KC have teamed up to bring an unmatched escape room and unique fan experience to downtown Kansas City. Located at 114 W. 3rd St. in the historic Kansas City River Market, Breakout KC is excited to premiere Matchday Mayhem, a Sporting-themed escape room adventure inspired by Sporting Kansas City’s locker room.
The new escape room adventure will open to the public this Friday, April 30, inviting sports fans and escape room enthusiasts alike to experience the interactive, locker room experience. As a fan-friendly extension of Sporting Kansas City home matches at Children’s Mercy Park, Matchday Mayhem will offer supporters an hour-long experience like no other. Bookings for the escape room are now available at BreakoutKC.com/book.
7. SKC II Back in Action
Led by head coach Paulo Nagamura, Sporting Kansas City II will kick off their 2021 USL Championship season on Saturday against Central Division rivals FC Tulsa (1-0-0, 3 points) at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The contest will stream live on ESPN Plus as Sporting KC II takes the field for the first of 32 regular season matches in 2021.
8. Tune In Tuesday
A new episode of the Sporting KC Show Podcast will debut at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday on Sports Radio 810 WHB as hosts Nate Bukaty and Aly Trost recap an exciting Week 2 of MLS action, hear from Sporting defender Jaylin Lindsey and preview Saturday's matchup with Real Salt Lake. The Sporting KC Show Podcast is available on Spotify, iTunes and SportingKC.com, giving supporters a weekly destination to catch up on club storylines, player achievements, guest interviews and more.