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Sporting KC Home Opener on Saturday

March 1, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Sporting Kansas City News Release

Sporting Kansas City will host the Philadelphia Union at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in the club's highly anticipated home opener at Children's Mercy Park.

Tickets are available online at SeatGeek, including the Home Opener Pack, and all fans will receive a Sporting Kansas City schedule magnet as part of a post-match giveaway. Sporting Kansas City will wear the club's new secondary jersey for the first time on Saturday and fans can receive 25% off the 2024 jersey scarf when using the code HomeOpener to pre-order on for matchday pick-up. Ticket holders can also take advantage of $2 off 25-ounce Michelob Ultra or Bud Light cans at all stadium concessions.

Children's Mercy Park will showcase several new amenities for the first time on Saturday night, including new digital displays, LED lighting, self-pouring drink systems and guest screening technology. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and to utilize the LED wristbands provided in their seat cup holder courtesy of SeatGeek to participate in the stadium pre-match show beginning at 7:20 p.m.

Sporting Kansas City opened the 2024 campaign with a 1-1 road result at the Houston Dynamo last Saturday as playmaker Erik Thommy opened the scoring in the second half. The 29-year-old Bundesliga veteran led Sporting last with 13 assists in all competition to earn the team's Offensive Player of the Year honor and Thommy has now appeared in 51 straight MLS matches for the club since making his debut in July 2022.

Three Sporting players made their club debuts in the opener with defender Zorhan Bassong, midfielder Memo Rodriguez and forward Alenis Vargas each entering as second-half substitutes. Conversely, goalkeeper Tim Melia is set to make his 250th MLS appearance for Sporting on Saturday. The 37-year-old is the club's all-time goalkeeping leader in appearances, wins and shutouts across all competitions, and he boasts a 10-3-2 record in his last 15 regular season starts since May 2023.

Similarly, Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake is the Union's all-time appearance leader however the Jamaican international and three-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has missed the club's last two matches with an adductor strain. The Union defense, which also features a pair of 2023 MLS All-Stars in centerback Jakob Glesnes and defensive midfielder Jose Martinez, has led MLS with 36 shutouts and a 1.00 goals against average in 103 regular season matches since the start of 2021.

The Union will arrive in Kansas City for the fourth match in a stretch of seven games in 22 days to start the season. Philadelphia opened the regular season with a 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire - thanks to a 93rd minute equalizer from Daniel Gazdag, who ranked in the top 10 in MLS in both goals and assists last season -- sandwiched between a Concacaf Champions Cup fixture with Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa.

After a 3-2 win in the first leg courtesy of Julian Carranza's hat trick, Philadelphia advanced 6-5 on aggregate on Tuesday in a 120-minute thriller as Mikael Uhre scored the decisive goal in extra time. The Union will next face Liga MX's CF Pachuca in the Round of 16 with the first leg on Tuesday, March 5.

Saturday's match-up will feature the two longest tenured managers in Major League Soccer with Sporting KC's Peter Vermes (2009-present) and Philadelphia's Jim Curtin (2014-present) on the sidelines. Last season, each head coach guided their side to the conference semifinals for a league-leading fourth time in the past six years.

Despite playing in opposite conferences, Sporting and Philadelphia share a rich and highly competitive history. Both clubs own seven wins and seven draws in 21 competitive meetings, including the memorable 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in which Sporting prevailed on penalties. The sides last met 11 months ago on April 1, 2023 in a weather-delayed scoreless draw at Subaru Park and Philadelphia last played in Kansas City nearly five years ago on March 10, 2019 as Sporting won 2-0 with Melia keeping clean sheets in both matches.

Sporting Kansas City will now look to improve upon the club's 16-3-9 all-time record in regular season home openers, including a 5-1-7 record at Children's Mercy Park since the state-of-the-art venue opened in June 2011.

All of the action will stream free via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV with Nate Bukaty on the call in addition to local radio broadcasts on Sports Radio 810 WHB and LA Grande 1340 AM. Pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network will also show Saturday's cross-conference clash.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 2

Saturday, March 2 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:40 kickoff)

Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas

Broadcast Schedule:

Apple TV | Free on MLS Season Pass

English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB

Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

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

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