Preview: Sporting KC Hosts MLS Champions LAFC on Saturday

June 16, 2023 – Major League Soccer (MLS) – Press release from Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City host reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT. After a winning streak of four home games, Sporting has entered the playoffs.

Western Conference game tickets can be purchased online at SeatGeek, including general admission tickets and the Sporting U Pass for college students. Fans can also pre-order team apparel at for game day pickup – with a special offer of $50 off orders of $200 or more – and all hot dogs are discounted at concessions at Children’s Mercy Park from $2.

Saturday’s showdown will be streamed live on Apple TV in English and Spanish for MLS Season Pass subscribers. A one-month free trial is available for fans. In addition, local radio coverage will be broadcast on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams on the Sporting KC app and all the action will be carried by pub partners on the Sporting Pub Network.

After being unbeaten in the team’s first 10 games with a record of 0-7-3, Sporting Kansas City have led Major League Soccer since early May with 17 goals scored and during that period have the most wins (5) and the most points scored (17) by a Western Conference team. SKC’s excellent form continued last Saturday with a 4-1 win over Austin FC and for the first time in 2023, Sporting are now above the playoff line and battling for eighth place.

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Player Designated Alan Pulido scored two goals and the game-winning assist in the home win to earn MLS Player of the Day. Pulido has now scored in consecutive games and, among players with at least 50 appearances for Sporting in all competitions, rank second in club history with 0.62 goals per game and third with 0.76 goals per 90 minutes.

Pulido sits at the top of the team with Daniel Salloi with four goals in MLS this season and five goals in all competitions for the year. Salloi is one of three Western Conference players with seven goals and seven assists in the regular season since the start last August, alongside LAFC captain Carlos Vela.

Vela, the three-time MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI who set the all-time season MVP record as league MVP with 34 goals in 2019, has four goals and five assists in 2023. Since arriving in the major leagues in 2018, Vela has led the league in regular-season goals (73) and total goals contribution (125) when you add his 52 assists.

Defensively, LAFC have conceded the fewest goals in the Western Conference, with MLS Cup MVP John McCarthy anchoring the team at the net and former MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long bolstering the defense after joining the club in the offseason.

Led by Steve Cherundolo, LAFC became the only team in MLS history to win the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double in 2022 with a head coach as a freshman. Ilie Sanchez, who made 171 appearances for Sporting in all competitions from 2017-2021, has led LAFC in minutes played for the past two seasons and converted the winning penalty in the 2022 MLS Cup shootout.

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Saturday marks the first time Sporting Kansas City has hosted a reigning MLS Cup champion since 2018 MLS Cup winners Atlanta United played at Children’s Mercy Park on May 5, 2019, and it will be one Month after the 1-1 draw between Sporting KC and LAFC will take place in Los Angeles. MLS Golden Boot leaders Denis Bouanga and Johnny Russell traded goals in the first half as SKC became the first team in MLS to score away at LAFC that year.

LAFC go into Saturday’s game without a win in six straight games in all competitions (0-5-1) and are goalless in the team’s last four games. After being knocked out at home by city rivals LA Galaxy in last month’s US Open Cup, LAFC fell in the Concacaf Champions League final earlier this month and have since gone goalless in three straight regular-season games for the first time in the club’s history.

Most recently, LAFC lost 4-0 in Houston last Saturday before losing 1-0 in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Amidst eight games in 25 days from May 31 to June 24, LAFC will travel to Kansas City with a short break and without five players, including Bouanga and Jose Cifuentes due to international duty, and forward Kwadwo Opoku, who will serve a one-off – Game suspension on Saturday.

Sporting KC also remain short-staffed with five players out through injury and a sixth, Marinos Tzionis, on international duty. Tim Melia (quad), Kortne Ford (hamstring), Logan Ndenbe (hamstring), Graham Zusi (hamstring) and Willy Agada (shin) are sidelined for Saturday, while four other players are doubtful with a hamstring problem: Andreu Fontas, Kayden Pierre, Dany Rosero and Johnny Russell.

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Sporting Kansas City vs. LAFC

2023 MLS regular season | game 19

Saturday June 17 | 7:30pm CT (kick-off 7:39pm)

Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.

Broadcast schedule:

AppleTV | MLS Season Pass

English Radio | Sports radio 810 WHB

Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340h

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The opinions expressed in this press release are those of the organization issuing it and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its employees.

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