With a two-game road trip in the books, Sporting Kansas City (9-4-5, 32 points) returns to the friendly confines of Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to meet reigning MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champion Toronto FC.
FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest Plus will air three hours of live coverage beginning at 7 p.m., while listeners can catch the action on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish).
The game will also stream live on FOX Sports GO in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa and on ESPN+ elsewhere across the U.S. A limited number of tickets for Saturday’s showdown are available via SeatGeek.com , and all fans in attendance will be treated to a fireworks show 15 minutes after the final whistle.
Both teams will be looking to snap losing streaks when they take the field on Saturday.
Sporting KC has dropped two straight since defeating the Houston Dynamo 3-2 on June 23, while Toronto FC has lost three consecutive league games for the first time since September 2015.
The Fourth of July was nothing to celebrate for either team. Toronto FC took a 4-3 loss at Minnesota United FC, suffering the ill effects of Darwin Quintero’s devastating hat-trick.
The Reds now sit eight points below the playoff line in the East, and to complicate matters, striker Jozy Altidore, midfielder Victor Vazquez and defender Drew Moor – veterans who played influential roles during their treble-winning 2017 campaign – will miss Saturday through injury.
Sporting KC, meanwhile, has lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 2017. A 4-2 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday was further soured by red cards issued to Daniel Salloi and Roger Espinoza.
The club had held first place in the Western Conference since mid-March but enters the weekend three points behind FC Dallas and five points behind Supporters’ Shield leaders Atlanta United FC.
In 2017, Toronto FC became the first MLS club to win a treble by lifting the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship.
They finished with an MLS regular-season record 69 points to go with 20 wins (most all-time in the non-shootout era) and 74 goals (second-most all-time).
Fortunes have reversed in 2018, however, as the Reds already have twice as many MLS defeats as they did last season. A slew of injuries and the lingering hangover of a heartbreaking loss to Chivas de Guadalajara in the 2018 Concacaf Champions League finals in April have put Toronto behind the proverbial eight-ball heading into July.
Sporting KC will have some attacking boots to fill on Saturday with their leading goal scorer and top assist man suspended.
Salloi has bagged a team-best seven goals while Espinoza has an MLS career-high eight assists.
On the opposite sideline, Italian talisman Sebastian Giovinco (four goals, seven assists) remains a man to watch with 59 goals and 44 assists across 100 MLS regular season appearances.
The head-to-head series has belonged to Sporting KC, and decisively so. Kansas City owns a 14-4-6 record against the Reds, including a 9-1-2 mark at home.
Vermes’ men are 11-1-3 in the last 15 meetings and 6-0-2 in the last eight. Additionally, Toronto has never won at Children’s Mercy Park (0-6-1) and their 14 regular-season losses to Sporting KC are their most against any MLS foe.
Both sides carry a handful of injury concerns into Saturday’s contest. The hosts will continue to be without Felipe Gutierrez (hernia), Gianluca Busio (hamstring), Cristian Lobato (knee) and Jimmy Medranda (knee), while Toronto head coach Greg Vanney will have seven absences to account for in Altidore, Vazquez, Moor, Auro, Jason Hernandez, Chris Mavinga and Caleb Patterson-Sewell.
– Story from Sporting KC