The penultimate round of the MLS regular season will see the top two teams in the Western Conference collide on Sunday as Sporting Kansas City (16-8-8, 56 points) ventures south to face FC Dallas (16-7-9, 57 points) at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Sunday’s showdown – one of six Western Conference matches kicking off concurrently at 4 p.m. – will air live on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO with postgame coverage running until 7 p.m. Listeners can catch the action live on ESPN 94.5 FM (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish), and the Sporting KC Uphoria app will provide in-game updates.
Sporting KC and FC Dallas find themselves in a battle for playoff seeding with two regular season matches still to play.
Trailing FC Dallas by a point, Sporting KC is level with LAFC on 56 points but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of a greater goal difference.
Seattle Sounders FC (53 points), Portland Timbers (51 points) and Real Salt Lake (49 points) round out the six-team playoff picture, while seventh-place LA Galaxy (45 points) are on the outside looking in.
Boasting a 7-6-3 away record and a conference-best plus-5 road goal differential, Sporting KC can clinch a top-four finish in the West and a home playoff game if any one of the following three scenarios come to fruition on Sunday:
• Sporting KC beats FC Dallas, or
• Real Salt Lake beats or ties Portland, or
• Sporting KC ties FC Dallas, and
Houston beats Seattle
While Sporting KC cannot clinch a top-two finish this weekend-and the Knockout Round bye that comes with it, FC Dallas can with a victory. Head coach Oscar Pareja’s side can even secure the No. 1 overall seed with a win and an LAFC home loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Four days removed from a 4-1 comeback win in Vancouver, Sporting KC will enter Sunday with no shortage of momentum.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the visitors struck four times over the final half-hour to claim an invaluable victory at BC Place.
Yohan Croizet kick-started the rally with a 62nd-minute strike before Daniel Salloi fired his team ahead 20 minutes later.
Sixteen-year-old Gianluca Busio sealed the triumph on 94 minutes, becoming the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS history, and Salloi added gloss to the scoreline with a 97th-minute tap-in.
Salloi is now tied atop the club scoring charts with Johnny Russell. Both players have bagged nine MLS goals and 11 in all competitions, leading a Sporting KC outfit that has 60 goals this season – one shy of tying the all-time club record set during the inaugural 1996 MLS campaign. Manager Peter Vermes’ men have showcased their potency home and away, as their 28 road goals are also one shy of equaling the team record from 2005.
FC Dallas opened the door for teams below them to close the gap when they fell 1-0 at D.C. United last Saturday. In a game that remained delicately poised until the late stages, Russell Canouse headed United in front with 86 minutes on the clock to give the Eastern Conference club its third straight win at the time.
Playoff-bound in 2018 after missing the postseason last year, FC Dallas boasts a 10-1-5 record at Toyota Stadium, with their lone defeat coming on Aug. 4 at the hands of last-place San Jose.
Forward Maxi Urruti leads the team with 18 combined goals (7) and assists (11) in MLS play, while goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez is 11-5-3 as a starter with six shutouts.
The two previous meetings between the clubs this season, both played at Children’s Mercy Park, have produced 10 total goals.
Sporting KC prevailed 3-2 in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on June 16, receiving a Salloi brace and a world-class volley from Croizet, before hat-trick hero Michael Barrios and FC Dallas exacted revenge with a 3-2 regular season win on July 28. Vermes’ side is 1-5-3 in its last nine trips to Toyota Stadium, with the lone win coming by a 4-1 scoreline on June 12, 2011.
Sporting KC has welcomed back two players who were absent Wednesday due to national team commitments during FIFA’s international window in October.
Chile midfielder Felipe Gutierrez and Hungary forward Krisztian Nemeth will both be available for selection as Sporting KC looks to post a momentous road win ahead of their regular season finale against LAFC on Oct. 28.
– Story from Sporting KC