Major playoff implications are on the line Wednesday as second-place Sporting Kansas City (16-7-7, 55 points) plays host to fifth-place LA Galaxy (13-11-7, 46 points) in a 7:55 p.m. kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Tickets are available at SeatGeek.com. The Western Conference clash will air nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. Fans can also stream the action live on the FOX Sports app or on FOXSports.com. There will be live updates throughout the contest from @SKCMatchday on Twitter.
Looking to finish atop the West for the third time in four seasons, Sporting Kansas City picked up three major points from first place Seattle Sounders on Saturday. The attention now turns to the LA Galaxy in a midweek match between MLS originals.
Having clinched a playoff berth, Sporting KC is one of seven teams in the West who following Decision Day on Nov. 7 will advance to the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The top-seeded club receives a bye to the conference semifinals. Sporting can clinch a home playoff match with a result against the Galaxy or a Portland draw or loss to San Jose on Wednesday evening. Sporting’s 10 postseason appearances over the 11 years are second-most among Western Conference teams behind only the Sounders, who have reached the playoffs every year since joining MLS in 2009.
Saturday will mark the second meeting between Sporting and the Galaxy this year. Sporting took all three points in the previous meeting on July 4 in a 2-0 victory.
Forwards Johnny Russell and Khiry Shelton netted late goals while Tim Melia saved seven shots for the clean sheet. At home, Sporting has lost just one of 12 regular season games against the Galaxy dating back to 2008.
Manager Peter Vermes has had the squad playing high-caliber soccer all season long. With three wins in their last four matches, Sporting will look to knock Seattle out of the top spot in the West. Just three points back and with a game in hand, Sporting has a chance to make a run at the Western Conference No. 1 seed.
With goals in his last seven appearances, Russell now holds the longest scoring streak in MLS this season. He is one of six MLS players with 12 goals and seven assists this year alongside Daniel Salloi, whose 24 combined goals (16) and assists (eight) tie the league lead with Gustavo Bou of New England. Russell and Salloi have paced a Sporting attack that leads the West with 54 goals scored and 1.8 goals per match.
Holding down the midfield on Saturday, Sporting’s Remi Walter received an MLS Team of the Week selection as a starter. His first career MLS goal helped lift Sporting past the Sounders, as he provided excellent support in the midfield.
First-year head coach Greg Vanney has the Galaxy in form. After a poor September in which the Galaxy only collected two points, the team has earned results in four straight games. The Galaxy rank in the top 10 in MLS in goals scored with 46.
Led by Mexican international Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (14 goals, three assists), midfielder Sacha Kljestan (five goals, four assists), U.S. MNT player Sebastian Lletget (two goals, four assists), defender Julian Araujo (five assists) and goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, the Galaxy find themselves in the thick of a playoff battle.
Fifth place is above the playoff line but would force the Galaxy into a first-round road game. LA is tied on points with fourth-place Portland and will look to improve its place in the standings at midweek.
Both teams come into the match with injury concerns. On the Galaxy side, Jorge Villafana is listed as questionable while Nick DePuy will miss this match due to caution accumulation. Sporting will not have striker Alan Pulido (knee) and defender Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring). Salloi and midfielder Jose Mauri are questionable both with ankle ailments.
Sporting has been excellent at home, coming into its penultimate regular season home match with an 8-2-5 record. With just two weeks left in the regular season and both teams jockeying for higher seeds in the playoffs, everything is to play for Wednesday night.