"This Week in Sporting,” is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. Sporting suffers 2-0 defeat at Colorado
Sporting Kansas City’s first Western Conference road match ended with the Colorado Rapids winning 2-0 and taking all three points. Former Sporting KC striker Diego Rubio and Rapids newcomer Mark-Anthony Kaye scored in the match as Sporting was unable to find the back of the net.
Four Sporting players made their MLS debut as Nikola Vujnovic, Ben Sweat, Kortne Ford and Kayden Pierre appeared in their first MLS regular season match for Sporting KC. For Ford, it was a homecoming as he had spent the first four years of his professional career with the Rapids after coming up through their academy system. Vujnovic who joined the club earlier last week, played the full 90 and provided some promising attacks throughout the match as he continues to gel with the team.
2. Sporting faces the Fire
The attention now turns to Chicago as Sporting’s third road match in the first four weeks of the season pits them against a revamped Chicago Fire FC side. The match will take place at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday at Soldier Field with the broadcast taking place on 38 The Spot and streaming available through Sporting One on the Sporting Mobile App.
First-year head coach Ezra Hendrickson has some new pieces in the attack as the Fire acquired two-time UEFA Champions League winner Xherdan Shaqiri and Kasper Przybylko who led the Philadelphia Union in goals last season. Coming into this Saturday’s match Sporting has lost just one match to the Fire in their last 10 clashes (7-1-2). Most recently, Sporting extinguished the Fire 2-0 at Children's Mercy Park last season.
3. SKC II preseason continues
As the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro regular season approaches, SKC II head coach Benny Feilhaber, and assistant coach Ike Opara continue to get the boys ready during the preseason. Last Sunday, SKC II hosted USL League One 2021 champions Union Omaha in a preseason friendly at Swope Soccer Village. Julian Vazquez scored off a corner kick in the 57th before Omaha erased the one-goal lead 25 minutes later. The match would end in a 1-1 draw.
SKC II will conclude preseason Saturday at Swope Soccer Village against the UMKC men’s soccer team at 2 p.m. CT. The preseason finale will be open to the public. Feilhaber and Opara will continue to round out the roster with SKC Academy products, NEXT Pro contract players and first-team loanees as the regular season draws near. Tickets are now on sale at SeatGeek.com for all SKC II home matches at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas.
4. eMLS Cup
This past Sunday, Sporting KC’s eMLS representative Alekzandur competed in the 2022 eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Alekzandur earned direct qualification to the quarterfinals after fantastic showings in League Series 1 and League Series 2 play. He was defeated by the eventual eMLS champion and Atlanta United representative PauloNeto999 in the quarterfinals.
5. Patterson Cup returns
Last Thursday, Sporting announced the return of the Patterson Cup to Swope Soccer Village after a two-year pause due to COVID-19. Eighteen MLS academies across three different age groups (U-12. U-13 and U-14) will compete in one of the best youth tournaments in the nation from June 8-12 with all matches taking place at Swope Soccer Village.
The Patterson Cup is named after Sporting KC co-owner Neal Patterson and his wife Jeanne, both of whom lost their lives to cancer in 2017. The Patterson family helped turn Sporting KC into what it is today, as a model MLS club with a commitment to growing the game of soccer in Kansas City. For more news and information about the Sporting Kansas City Academy, visit SportingKCAcademy.com and follow the academy on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
6. Putt Putt Pub Crawl
Saturday, Sporting Club Special Events will host the first-ever Putt Putt Pub Crawl, a nine-hole miniature golf course that traverses Legends Outlets and Children’s Mercy Park. The event starts at 10 a.m. CT on Saturday and teams of four must register online at SeatGeek.com with one ticket required per team. Teams will enjoy various drink specials and themed holes as they travel through the course, culminating in the awards ceremony at Children’s Mercy Park in which various prizes will be raffled off. There will also be a prize for the best team costume so make sure to go all out.