"This Week in Sporting,” is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. Sporting drops road match at Chicago 3-1
Last Saturday, Sporting KC suffered a road defeat to the Chicago Fire in the form of a 3-1 scoreline. Roger Espinoza opened his scoring account for 2022 and Felipe Hernandez got his first assist of the year as Sporting got experimental with the formation, playing a 5-3-2 instead of the usual 4-3-3. Kacper Przybylko who came to the Fire by way of the Philadelphia Union this offseason scored twice and Xherdan Shaqiri converted a penalty for the Fire.
2. Sporting renews rivalry with Real Salt Lake in 2022
After three road matches in the first four weeks of the season, Sporting returns home to renew its rivalry with Real Salt Lake. The Claret and Cobalt bested Sporting on three occasions last season, most recently in the Western Conference semifinals of the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs. RSL enters the match without a loss on the season, opening their 2022 campaign with three wins and a draw.
Sporting holds a 6-5-5 record at home against Real Salt Lake since they joined MLS in 2005. Sporting also famously defeated Salt Lake in the 2013 MLS Cup Final at Children’s Mercy Park in penalty kicks. Tickets are on sale for Saturday’s match at SeatGeek.com, as Sporting looks to get back on track with a win against rival Real Salt Lake. The match kicks off at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on 38 The Spot and TUDN.
3. International Call Ups
Two Sporting KC newcomers, Marinos Tzionis and Logan Ndenbe will be joining up with their national teams this FIFA Match Window. Tzionis will be joining the Cyprus Men’s National Team for their UEFA Nations League play-out series with Estonia. The first leg will take place on Thursday at 12 p.m. CT in Estonia, with the second leg set for Tuesday, March 29 at 11 a.m. CT in Cyprus.
Ndenbe will join up with the Belgium U-21 Men’s national team for their 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Denmark. The qualifier is on Tuesday, March 29 at 1 p.m. CT and will take place in Denmark.
4. Sporting KC II and MLS NEXT Pro season opener this weekend
Sporting KC II completed its final preseason tune-up Saturday with a 3-1 victory against the UMKC men’s soccer team at Swope Soccer Village. Ghanaian forward Rauf Salifu bagged a brace and Tijani Fatah scored a minute after subbing on. Sporting’s attention now turns to MLS NEXT Pro and the regular season.
First-year head coach Benny Feilhaber and first-year assistant coach Ike Opara will lead SKC II into the inaugural season of MLS NEXT Pro with the season opener against Rapids 2 on Sunday at the University of Denver. Kickoff for SKC II’s first-ever MLS NEXT Pro match is set for 5 p.m. CT and can be live-streamed at mlsnextpro.com.
5. KC Current release schedule – 11 NWSL Home Matches at Children’s Mercy Park
The Kansas City Current released their 2022 NWSL schedule, announcing that 11 home matches will take place at Children’s Mercy Park. The KC Current will also play three Challenge Cup matches at Children’s Mercy Park the first of which is on Saturday, April 2 against Racing Louisville. Fans can purchase tickets for any KC Current matches, including Challenge Cup fixtures, at SeatGeek.com.
6. B-License Courses to be held at Compass Minerals National Performance Center
U.S. Soccer Coaching Education announced last Tuesday the B License application window and coaching education dates and locations. Among those locations, Compass Minerals National Performance Center, Sporting KC’s training ground was selected. Applications must be submitted through the U.S. Soccer Learning Center with the application window running through April 1.
7. Sporting KC Academy products on U.S. Men’s National Team
Two Sporting KC Academy products, Gianluca Busio and Erik Palmer-Brown got called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of the final three CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. Busio, who now plays with Italian Serie A side Venezia has been capped for the U.S. Men’s National Team eight times, including three appearances in the 2021 Gold Cup group stages at Children’s Mercy Park. Palmer-Brown, now a defender for French Ligue 1 side Troyes, has made two appearances for the U.S most recently in an international friendly against France on June 9, 2018.