Sporting KC defends first place today against Houston in KCK

A pair of Western Conference foes renew their rivalry Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park as first-place Sporting Kansas City (8-2-5, 29 points) plays host to the Houston Dynamo (6-5-3, 21 points) at 7:30 p.m.

A limited number of tickets for the highly anticipated matchup are available at SeatGeek.com, including standing-room only tickets, and the first 10,000 fans through the stadium gates will receive free black argyle sunglasses.

FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest Plus will broadcast three hours of live coverage Saturday beginning at 7 p.m., while local radio calls will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish). The game will also stream live on FOX Sports GO for fans within the FOX Sports Midwest viewing area and on ESPN+ for those elsewhere across the U.S. The Sporting KC Uphoria mobile app will offer additional in-game updates.

Following Saturday’s contest, supporters are encouraged to stay in their seats for the Special Olympics Unified Exchange game between athletes from Special Olympics Kansas City and Special Olympics Houston, starting at approximately 10 p.m. The nightcap is part of the 2018 Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program, which promotes an environment of social inclusion by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.

Unbeaten in eight straight matches across all competitions, Sporting KC enters Saturday tied for first place in the West with 29 points through 15 games.

The club will be playing its first MLS contest in a fortnight, having emerged victorious in a wild home victory over FC Dallas last Saturday in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.

Forward Daniel Salloi struck on either side of halftime, moving into a tie for the team lead with six goals the season, before French midfielder Yohan Croizet came off the bench and scored one of the greatest goals in Children’s Mercy Park history – a sweetly struck 22-yard volley in the 89th minute – to propel his side to the quarterfinals at Houston on July 18.

Led by second-year head coach Wilmer Cabrera, Houston sits one point below playoff position in seventh place but has at least one game in hand on most of its Western Conference rivals.

Like Sporting KC, the Dynamo are coming off a hard-earned Open Cup triumph that saw Mauro Manotas score the decisive goal in Monday’s 1-0 decision against Minnesota United FC. Houston’s last MLS match was a 2-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids that produced first-half goals from Manotas and Tomas Martinez.

Sporting KC approaches the fixture in a rich vein of form defensively, boasting shutouts in eight of their last 13 games overall, but that mark will be put to the test Saturday against a Houston attack that ranks among the best in MLS.

The Dynamo rank second in the league with 2.1 goals per game, powered by early MLS MVP candidate Alberth Elis. The 22-year-old Honduras has 13 combined goals (eight) and assists (five) this season, tied for the third most in MLS.

Sporting KC and Houston have squared off 27 times in all competitions since the start of 2011, splitting the series with nine wins, nine losses and nine draws each. This stretch includes six meetings in the MLS Cup Playoffs and four in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, where the teams met in both tournaments last season.

Sporting KC prevailed 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 before falling 1-0 at the same venue in the Western Conference Knockout Round last October.

Familiarity will continue to reign supreme this summer, with Sporting KC and Houston braced to battle three times over the next six weeks.

Manager Peter Vermes’ men will visit Houston in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on July 18 before returning to Texas for a regular season matchup on Aug. 4.

Houston has struggled on its travels under the guidance of Cabrera, going 2-12-10 in its last 24 regular season road games since the start of 2017. However, the Dynamo are undefeated in their last seven regular season trips to Children’s Mercy Park, going 1-0-6 ever since suffering a 3-0 defeat on Sept. 10, 2011. Sporting KC is winless in the last eight regular season meetings between the teams, going 0-4-4 ever since claiming a 2-0 win at BBVA Compass Stadium on June 6, 2014.

Both sides will be forced to account for multiple injury absences on Saturday.

The hosts will be without Gianluca Busio (hamstring), Brad Evans (ankle), Felipe Gutierrez (hernia), Cristian Lobato (knee) and Jimmy Medranda (knee), while captain Matt Besler is questionable with a hamstring ailment.

Houston, meanwhile, has six players ruled out for the match, including Juan Cabezas (quad), Darwin Ceren (knee), A.J. DeLaGarza (torn ACL), Dylan Remick (concussion), Mac Steeves (hip) and Andrew Wenger (calf).
– Story from Sporting KC

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Saturday events

Family story time planned
Family story time is planned from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at the Main Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, craft room, 625 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The story time is geared to children ages 2-5. Participants will read stories, dance and sing. To see more library programs, visit www.kckpl.org.

CHWC celebrates 20th anniversary
Community Housing of Wyandotte County (CHWC) is celebrating its 20th anniversary from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23, with an event at St. Peter’s Cathedral, 409 N. 15th St., Kansas City, Kansas. There will be a short program at 11:30 a.m. followed by tours. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/155245931973409/.

KCK Community Orchestra to give concert today
The Kansas City, Kansas, Community Orchestra is scheduled to give a concert from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at the West Wyandotte Library auditorium, 1737 N. 82nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. They will be performing film scores and other songs.

KCK Street Blues Fest to be held Saturday, June 23
The Kansas City, Kansas, Street Blues Festival will be held Saturday, June 23, at Lavender’s Circle L Ranch, 3924 N. 49th Drive, Kansas City, Kansas, which is north of Leavenworth Road. The event runs from 2 to 11 p.m. Musicians who are scheduled to appear include Ernest James Zydeco, Danny Cox, Joe Miquelon, Norm Liggins and Danita “Little Red” Oliver, Jason Vivone, Jaisson Taylor Group, D.C. Bellamy, 51% Blues Band, Mark and Sue Corbett, Allen Locke and Shannon Basham, Eugene Smiley Blues Band and special guest Millage Gilbert. For more information, visit kckblues.com.

T-Bones at home tonight
The Kansas City T-Bones baseball team is at home at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at T-Bones Stadium against the Cleburne Railroaders. Rafael Palmeiro, age 53, is on the roster for the Railroaders with his son. Palmeiro formerly was with the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He hit more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in his career. He was a four-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner through his career.

Sporting Kansas City to take on Houston tonight in KCK
A pair of Western Conference foes renew their rivalry Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, as first-place Sporting Kansas City (8-2-5, 29 points) will be host to the Houston Dynamo (6-5-3, 21 points) at 7:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets for the highly anticipated matchup are available at SeatGeek.com, including standing-room only tickets, and the first 10,000 fans through the stadium gates will receive free black argyle sunglasses.

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KCK Street Blues Fest Saturday features local blues greats

Fans enjoyed last year’s KCK Street Blues Fest. (File photo by William Crum)

A great lineup of blues musicians is slated for the KCK Street Blues Fest on Saturday, June 23.

The annual event runs from 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Lavender’s Circle L Ranch, 3924 N. 49th Drive, Kansas City, Kansas, which is north of Leavenworth Road. The festival location overlooks the Missouri River valley.

According to Dawayne Gilley, one of the founders of the festival, any one of the performers could have been a headliner.

He said long-time blues musician D.C. Bellamy will be the “king” of the festival this year. Perennial favorite Danny Cox, known nationally and internationally, is on the lineup. And Millage Gilbert’s 80th birthday celebration is the closing act, he said.

Musicians who are scheduled to appear include Ernest James Zydeco, Danny Cox, Terry Bohner, Bob Simons, Joe Miquelon, Norm Liggins and Danita “Little Red” Oliver, Jason Vivone, Jaisson Taylor Group, D.C. Bellamy, 51% Blues Band, Mark and Sue Corbett, Allen Locke and Shannon Basham, Eugene Smiley Blues Band and special guest Millage Gilbert.

The annual festival began in 2000 to celebrate Kansas City’s blues and jazz heritage.

There might be a slight chance of rain on Saturday, but Gilley said, “We don’t use that ‘r’ word.” The festival will go on, rain or shine.

New this year to the Blues Fest will be a popup record show, Gilley said, that they have been trying to put together for years. Record stores including 7th Heaven Records in Kansas City, Missouri, are planning to have a table or booth.

The record sale area will probably be tailgate-style, he added.

Although music downloads have taken off over the last decade or so, vinyl records have made a comeback recently, according to Gilley.

“New vinyl outsold downloads this year,” he said. “The technology of it is so much warmer and richer than digital. Analog sound on old vinyl is very sought after.”

And there is a whole new generation to learn about vinyl records, to go with the older ones that understand them, he added.

Admission to the KCK Street Blues Festival is $10, with children under 12 free. Those attending may bring coolers with refreshments, lawn chairs and blankets.

For more information, visit kckblues.com or call 913-991-3451.

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