Sporting KC to battle Dallas in matinee Saturday in KCK

First-place Sporting Kansas City (6-3-2, 20 points) will play FC Dallas (4-2-4, 16 points) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Live match coverage will begin nationwide at 2:30 p.m. on Univision and TUDN during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Tickets for the Western Conference clash between the pair of MLS charter clubs can be purchased online at as Sporting KC plays the club’s 200th match at the world-class venue with comprehensive health and safety protocols in place for a reduced-capacity crowd of 18 percent.

In addition to the nationally televised Spanish-language broadcasts, FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest Plus will broadcast three hours of on-site commentary from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Live streams will be available to viewers on Twitter and FOX Sports GO, as well as local radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

Sporting Kansas City vaulted to first place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference with a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC on Sunday, courtesy of a late game-winner from Johnny Russell and a strong defensive performance in which the Loons were held without a shot on goal for the first time in their 114-game MLS history.

Sporting will now continue a three-game homestand as the 2020 campaign reaches its midway point in Week 12 of the abbreviated 23-game MLS regular season.

FC Dallas won just two of its first eight games in 2020 – and did not participate in the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida – but has found its rhythm in the past week with back-to-back home wins, beating rivals Houston by a 2-1 scoreline on Saturday before Santiago Mosquera’s hat trick lifted Dallas to a 4-1 win over Colorado on Wednesday.

With six points in five days, FC Dallas is now fourth in the West and is the only team in the conference to emerge victorious in its past two outings.

Saturday’s showdown will serve as a rematch of the 1-1 draw between the two sides on Sept. 2 at Children’s Mercy Park, which saw Franco Jara and Khiry Shelton trade first-half goals as Sporting outshot Dallas by a 22-5 margin.

Iowa native Kyle Zobeck made his MLS debut in net for FC Dallas that night, replacing Jimmy Maurer in the first half due to injury, and the former 2013 MLS SuperDraft pick has since started each of the last three games for the Western Conference’s stingiest defense.

As indicated by the last meeting, the regular season series between the MLS originals is deadlocked at 25-25-13 through 63 meetings dating back to Kansas City’s first ever road match in April 1996. However, Sporting is 8-2-3 against Dallas in its last 13 home games across all competitions – highlighted by a 10-game unbeaten run from 2012-2018 – despite going 0-2-1 in the most recent three encounters in KC.

Saturday’s splendid forecast calls for 72 degrees and sunny skies throughout the mid-day match. Across all competitions, Sporting boasts an 18-0-9 record in 27 all-time home matches at Children’s Mercy Park that have kicked off at 4 p.m. or earlier.

While Sporting aims to keep that run going in the race for first place, below are four additional statistical milestones of potential note on Saturday:

• Sporting’s 11-game scoring streak is one shy of matching the club record for most consecutive games without being shutout to start a season.
• Vermes is one shy of the 150th regular season win of his coaching career, an achievement reached by four previous MLS managers.
• Saturday will be Sporting’s 200th match at Children’s Mercy Park (including friendlies) since the stadium opened on June 9, 2011.
• Sporting is one shy of the team’s 250th home win in club history across all competitions.

SportingStyle locations will be selling Kick Childhood Cancer retail items, including limited-edition scarves and beanies, in support of The Victory Project and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For every beanie sold, Sporting KC will donate a beanie to Children’s Mercy Hospital for patients battling cancer.

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Kansas Speedway to have limited number of fans for Oct. 18 race

The Kansas Speedway announced Wednesday on its website that it would have a limited number of fans at its NASCAR Cup Series race Oct. 18.

The race will be run with safety protocols and procedures in place, according to a news release.

Grandstand seating and select campgrounds will be available, while infield access will be restricted to essential industry personnel, according to the announcement.

The Hollywood Casino 400 starts at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Kansas Speedway, and will be the first in the round of eight in the Cup Series playoffs, the news release stated.

“I know the drivers feed off the excitement of having the fans on hand, and we are enthusiastic for the opportunity to welcome them back to the track, offering a safe, healthy environment for everyone,” Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren said in a statement.

Fans who have already purchased tickets to the race may be reseated to new locations to ensure social distancing, with lower ticket pricing applied, according to the news release.

All guests will be temperature screened and will be asked questions about health before entering the racetrack, and will maintain 6 feet of social distancing, the news release stated. Guests who are age 3 and older will be required to wear face coverings, according to the release.

For this race, re-entry, tailgating and coolers will not be permitted. Clear bags up to 18 inches by 18 inches by 14 inches will be allowed. Concessions will have limited grab-and-go items.

Guests will be directed to parking lots with more space between visitors. Also, there will be an entry and exit procedure to prevent people from being concentrated together.

Camping will be allowed in Turn 1, Turn 3, Turn 4 and backstretch terraces. Outside camping will be limited to select campgrounds. Infield and tent camping will not be available at this event.

The Oct. 18 race will be carried on NBC.

Other races in October at the Kansas Speedway include the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series Kansas 200 at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16; the ARCA Menards Series Championship Kansas 150 at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16; and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

For more information, see

Russell’s late goal puts KC on top in West

Forward Johnny Russell put the ball inside the right post, past the reach of Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. The goal proved decisive in the 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Sporting Kansas City put on a show of offensive dominance against Minnesota United FC, but it was all nearly for naught until Johnny Russell raced onto a long direct pass from Graham Zusi and buried it in the net in the 80th minute of Sunday night’s contest.

The win over their Midwestern rivals puts Sporting back on top of the MLS Western Conference standings after a four-game winless streak had dropped them to second behind the Seattle Sounders.

The rapid pace of Gadi Kinda and Gerso Fernandes up front helped Sporting create opportunities in the attacking half, and the defensive persistence of midfielder Felipe Hernandez kept Minnesota from advancing the ball cleanly.

Sporting held a 15-to-1 advantage on shots going into halftime, but hadn’t found the net. Manager Peter Vermes felt the team could break through if they stayed patient. After the game he recounted his halftime message to the team.

Vermes said, “The biggest thing that can’t happen is that we lose our discipline to our shape and we can’t get impatient with the fact that we’ve created a bunch of chances and we just haven’t put one in the goal yet.”

As the game neared the final minutes, Sporting found its winning opportunity in response to a rare burst of Minnesota offense.

Defender Matt Besler intercepted a Minnesota pass, heading it to Graham Zusi in the center of the field. Zusi spotted Russell sprinting ahead through Minnesota’s spread out defense and laid the ball into his path. Russell struck the ball low to the right corner of the goal, beating Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.

After the game, Zusi recounted, “I just curled it right down the middle of the field and let Johnny’s momentum take him into the path of the ball. He did the rest.”

The game was played before a limited audience of fans, but the offensive show on the field kept them at high volume throughout the game. Covid-19 protocols were in evidence throughout the stadium. One Sporting player tested positive earlier in the week, but the team has not identified the player.

MLS has announced their schedule through the end of September. Sporting will play at home on Sept. 19 against FC Dallas, quickly followed by another home match against Orlando on Sept. 23.

Forward Gerso Fernandes and Minnesota defender Bakaye Dibassy flew different directions after tangling over the ball. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair got to the ball a split second ahead of forward Khiry Shelton. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Johnny Russell pinned Edwards in the corner, winning a throw-in deep in Minnesota’s end. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Team captain Matt Besler’s golden armband celebrated MLS’s Kick Childhood Cancer campaign. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Felipe Hernandez hustled after a loose ball in the penalty area. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Minnesota defender Raheem Edwards sent midfielder Gianluca Busio to the turf. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Roberto Puncec contested a ball in the air against Minnesota forward Mason Toye. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Gerso Fernandes chested down a pass before turning up field. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Graham Zusi got a big hug from Johnny Russell after they connected for the game-winning goal. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Minnesota defender Chase Gasper headed the ball off the goal line away from midfielder Gadi Kinda. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Robert Puncec headed a ball out of the Kansas City end. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)