Seattle Sounders to visit Sporting Park in KCK on Sunday

A marquee Western Conference clash beckons Sunday as Sporting Kansas City (2-4-5, 11 points) plays host to second-place Seattle Sounders FC (7-1-5, 26 points) in a 5 p.m. kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park.

Tickets for the match are available at as two of Major League Soccer’s best teams over the last decade square off on Memorial Day weekend.

FS1, FOX Deportes and SiriusXM FC will carry the game nationally, while local radio broadcasts will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM. Fans can also catch The Final Whistle postgame show immediately afterward on 810 WHB.

Mobile users can stream Sunday’s match live on the FOX Sports app and receive additional in-game updates and offers via the new Sporting KC App.

Furthermore, fans ages 21 and up are invited to the Sporting KC Pre-Match Show at Turn 2 Sports Bar inside Hollywood Casino beginning at 3 p.m. CT Sunday. SKCTV’s Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine will be joined by Sporting midfielder Roger Espinoza for a Facebook Live program, and guests in attendance will have a variety of food, drink and gaming options. Hollywood Casino will also provide a free shuttle service to and from Children’s Mercy Park before and after the game.

Sporting Kansas City is set to begin a pivotal stretch of three matches in seven days, with Sunday’s fixture followed by a home date with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday and a trip to the Houston Dynamo next Saturday.

Manager Peter Vermes’ side clawed to a 1-1 home draw last Saturday versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC, taking a first-half lead through Krisztian Nemeth before the visitors salvaged a last-gasp equalizer courtesy of Derek Cornelius with 94 minutes on the clock.

Nemeth received a red card in the 51st minute of last weekend’s contest and will serve a one-
game suspension Sunday.

The Hungarian is tied for third in MLS with seven goals and has scored 11 times in all competitions for an injury-hit Sporting squad.

Five players are ruled out this weekend, namely Roger Espinoza (knee), Gerso Fernandes (wrist), Erik Hurtado (knee), Jaylin Lindsey (knee) and Rodney Wallace (hip). Another five are listed as questionable: Andreu Fontas (calf), Jimmy Medranda (knee), Daniel Salloi (groin), Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (ankle) and Graham Zusi (oblique).

Despite the long list of players who could potentially miss out against Seattle, the five players tabbed as questionable figure to return in the near term, provided they experience no further injury setbacks.

Sporting will also welcome back 16-year-old Academy products Gianluca Busio and Tyler Freeman, who have spent the first half of the month with the United States U-17 Men’s National Team at the Concacaf U-17 Championship in Bradenton, Florida.

Aside from LAFC, arguably no MLS team has been more impressive this season than the Sounders.

Seattle has lost just once in 13 matches and occupies second place in the push for the Supporters’ Shield.

Midfield talisman Nicolas Lodeiro leads the league with seven assists, while a balanced scoring attack has seen Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz, Cristian Roldan and Kelvin Leerdam all bag three or more goals. Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Brad Smith and goalkeeper Stefan Frei have been defensive mainstays for a side that owns five clean sheets.

The Sounders aren’t without their own injury concerns, however. Hamstrung starters Morris and Victor Rodriguez are unlikely to feature, and the club announced earlier this week that longtime defensive lynchpin Chad Marshall has retired from professional soccer. The three-time MLS Defender of the Year started eight of Seattle’s first 10 games this season before hanging up the boots due to knee inflammation.

Even without Marshall, the Sounders are currently on a six-game unbeaten run-the second-longest active streak in MLS-and defensive reinforcements are on the way. Ecuadorian international Xavier Arreaga signed for the club earlier this month, and his Seattle debut figures to be just around the corner.

Sporting and Seattle share a hot-blooded and intense head-to-head history. The two largest flashbulb moments in the series came in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final-Sporting won on penalties at Children’s Mercy Park-and in the 2016 Western Conference Knockout Round when Seattle prevailed 1-0 in a game shrouded in offside controversy.

The regular season series has ebbed and flowed, with Seattle going 7-1-1 in the first nine meetings from 2009-2014. Sporting went 4-0-2 over the next six, including three straight wins at Children’s Mercy Park from 2015-2017. The Sounders have taken two wins and a draw in the last three, including a 3-1 home triumph in the most recent battle last September.

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