Vancouver visits Sporting KC at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Tickets are available at SeatGeek.com. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive a clear stadium bag.
The match will be televised live on Fox Sports KC Plus and Fox Sports Midwest Plus, with local radio broadcasts from Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
It will be Faith and Family Night at the match, with special tickets available for purchase. A Leaders in Faith Pre-Match Panel inside the Ameritas Shield Club featuring Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, former University of Kansas basketball star and NBA champion Wayne Simien, and Pastor Ryan Darrow.
With three consecutive home fixtures on the horizon, Sporting will aim to snap a six-match winless run in MLS that began April 7.
Manager Peter Vermes’ men were short-handed in a 1-0 defeat at D.C. United last Sunday, traveling just 15 players due to widespread injuries across the roster. Andreu Fontas (calf), Graham Zusi (oblique), Roger Espinoza (knee) and Gerso Fernandes (wrist) are among those who have missed action. Daniel Salloi recently was added to the injury list. Matt Besler just came off the injured list for a hamstring injury.
Sporting KC just signed 19-year-old Swope Park Rangers forward Wilson Harris to a short-term agreement, making him available for the club’s MLS home match against Vancouver. The club is able to sign him for this match because of extreme hardship due to injuries.
Harris, 19, joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2017 and began his professional career with the Rangers in May 2018. He has tallied four goals in 22 USL Championship appearances for the club, including the final strike in a 5-1 win over LA Galaxy II last October that vaulted SPR into the USL Cup Playoffs for the third straight year.
While Sporting must grind through the challenges of a depleted squad, it’s the Whitecaps who enter the weekend on short rest.
Vancouver took a 1-0 home loss to Atlanta United FC on Wednesday night, conceding a first-half penalty kick to Josef Martinez. The shutout loss marked a continuation of Vancouver’s offensive struggles, as the club ranks second-to-last in MLS with 0.92 goals per game. Forward Fredy Montero is the lone Whitecaps player with three or more goals this season, having amassed 63 goals and 41 assists in his heralded six-year MLS career.
Saturday will serve as a reunion of sorts for first-year Vancouver manager Marc Dos Santos. In 2016, the Montreal native was the first head coach for the Swope Park Rangers, the USL Championship affiliate of Sporting Kansas City. Dos Santos guided SPR to the USL Western Conference championship that year and an appearance in the USL Cup Final.
Since leaving Kansas City at the end of 2016, Dos Santos has continued an impressive run of success. He coached the San Francisco Deltas to an NASL title in 2017, then joined Los Angeles Football Club in 2018 to serve as an assistant to Bob Bradley in what became one of the best seasons for an MLS expansion side. Dos Santos is now the main man in charge, and his Vancouver team has gone a respectable 3-2-1 since mid-April after starting 0-4-2.
The decade-long history between the clubs paints a positive picture for Sporting. Vermes’ side is 8-3-3 all-time against Vancouver in MLS competition, including a 5-1-1 record at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting swept the 2018 series with a pair of lopsided wins, prevailing 6-0 at Children’s Mercy Park and cruising 4-1 at BC Place. Johnny Russell bagged a hat-trick in the six-goal smackdown, which equaled the largest margin of victory in club history.
Sporting currently occupies 11th place in the West, three points below the playoff line with at least one game in hand on most of their conference rivals. Vancouver sits a point below the seventh and final playoff spot in eighth place, knowing a win could lift them as high as sixth.
Sporting is riding a club-record eight-year postseason streak, the third-longest active run in MLS, while Vancouver is hoping for a return to the MLS Cup Playoffs after missing out in 2018.
There is a possibility of rain and thunderstorms Saturday night. Keep up with the latest about the match by visiting https://www.sportingkc.com/.
- Information from Sporting KC