Sporting Kansas City (6-14-5, 23 points) will travel to Texas to take on second-place Austin FC (13-5-6, 45 points) at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The Western Conference clash will be locally televised on 38 The Spot with three hours of coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. The broadcast will also stream live on SportingKC.com and in the Sporting KC app for viewers in Kansas and Missouri (excluding the St. Louis area per MLS policy), as well as ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers. In addition, radio coverage of Saturday’s showdown will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
After a resounding 4-2 victory over the LA Galaxy last Saturday, Sporting KC will now travel to the Texas capital for a rematch with second-place Austin FC. The teams met two weeks ago at Children’s Mercy Park as Austin FC capitalized on a first half red card to Sporting KC midfielder Cam Duke.
Alex Ring scored in first half stoppage time and Sebastian Driussi sealed the road result with a goal in the 90th minute, while Brad Stuver made four saves in the shutout including a superb stop on Daniel Salloi’s penalty in the second half.
While Sporting ranks last in MLS in goals scored this season (23), Austin FC leads MLS in the category (50). Driussi, who has a goal or assist in each of his last seven appearances, sits atop the MLS Golden Boot race with a league-high 16 goals to go along with seven assists.
The designated player’s 23 goal contributions are most in MLS while teammate Diego Fagundez ranks fourth in MLS with 10 assists. Two Austin FC newcomers have also bolstered the Austin attack in their debut seasons as Maxi Urruti has recorded seven goals and two assists alongside Ethan Finlay, who has five goals and six assists.
With just one loss in the team’s last 10 matches, Austin FC is led by a pair of Sporting Legends with head coach Josh Wolff, who played seven seasons in Kansas City, and assistant coach Davy Arnaud, who played 10 seasons in Kansas City, guiding the club in its second season.
Sporting KC defender Ben Sweat played under Wolff and Arnaud last season and is set to return to Q2 Stadium for the first time since joining Sporting KC as a free agent in the offseason.
Having served as Sporting Kansas City manager since August 2009, Peter Vermes is the longest tenured head coach with one club in MLS history. Saturday will mark his 600th competitive match for the team as either a player or a manager.
The club is coming off an emphatic 4-2 win against the LA Galaxy last weekend in which newcomers Erik Thommy and Willy Agada opened their MLS scoring accounts. Thommy’s goal was an MLS Goal of the Week finalist while Agada scored twice to earn a spot on the MLS Team of the Week bench.
Fellow forward Daniel Salloi tallied a goal and two assists, giving him 46 goals for Sporting in all competitions and tying him with Wolff for fifth on the club’s all-time chart.
Club captain Johnny Russell, whose next goal will tie Arnaud for third most goals in club history in all competitions, leads Sporting with eight goals in all competitions this season. Midfielder Felipe Hernandez, who has appeared in all 29 matches this year, is on the cusp of his 50th career regular season appearance. The 24-year-old has recorded a team-best and career-high four assists in all competitions.
Sporting KC will be without five players on Saturday, including designated players Alan Pulido (knee) and Gadi Kinda (knee) as well as veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia (hamstring). Khiry Shelton (calf) and Logan Ndenbe (hamstring) remain questionable after missing the team’s last two matches. On the opposite side, Austin FC midfielder Hector Jimenez (groin) and defender Frederik Kleeman (knee) have been ruled out due to injury.
- Story from Sporting KC