Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center: #SKCvDAL | Sept. 2, 2020
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A longstanding rivalry between Sporting Kansas City (5-2-1, 16 points) and FC Dallas (2-1-3, 9 points) will be renewed Wednesday when the clubs square off at Children’s Mercy Park in the continuation of the MLS regular season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
FC Dallas will be four days removed from a momentum-building 3-1 home win over Minnesota United FC, while first-place Sporting came back to salvage a 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids thanks to a long-range bomb from 18-year-old Gianluca Busio. Both teams are navigating a crowded fixture list with games coming thick and fast after a lengthy hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following detailed safety protocols developed in conjunction with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, Wednesday’s match at Children’s Mercy Park will be held at a reduced capacity of approximately 14% with extensive safety protocols in place. Tickets for the game will be available exclusively to Sporting Kansas City Season Ticket Members via lottery and no single-game tickets will be sold by the club on SeatGeek.com or at the stadium box office.
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s showdown.
1. Brilliant Busio
Sporting enjoyed the better run of play against Colorado on Saturday but found themselves trailing 1-0 at the hour mark on a goal from Cole Bassett. Enter teenage wunderkind Busio, the attacking midfielder turned holding midfielder whose 25-yard rocket leveled terms in the 67th minute and ensured Sporting a share of the spoils.
In addition to conjuring an excellent equalizer—followed by a Wakanda Forever celebration in honor of the late Chadwick Boseman—Busio completed 27 of 31 passes on Saturday at a clip of 87 percent and connected on all 11 of his pass attempts in the attacking half. He also won five tackles, the second-most by an MLS player last weekend, and won seven duels.
2. Homegrowns in Action
With Gadi Kinda serving a red card suspension, Roger Espinoza day-to-day with a minor injury, Ilie Sanchez tending to personal matters and Felipe Gutierrez out for the season, Sporting’s midfield depth will be on display Wednesday. The possibility of an all-Academy product is very much in play, as Busio could be joined by 22-year-old Felipe Hernandez and 19-year-old Cameron Duke.
Last Tuesday against the Houston Dynamo, Sporting fielded five Homegrown Players in an MLS match for the first time ever, as Busio, Hernandez and Duke were joined by defender Jaylin Lindsey and forward Daniel Salloi. Indeed, the youth movement is alive and well in Kansas City.
3. Tough to Beat
Wednesday’s clash will feature one of the league’s best attacks—Sporting leads MLS with 18 goals scored—against one of its best defenses. FC Dallas boasts a 0.67 goals against average, having allowed just four goals in six games this season. The backline is anchored by veterans Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler, while head coach Luchi Gonzalez’s attacking options include 19-year-old Homegrown forward Jesus Ferreira and 31-year-old Czech international Zdenek Ondrasek. Midfielder Michael Barrios has also enjoyed past success against Sporting, recording five goals and four assists in 12 regular season appearances against the club.
In Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of Minnesota, Ferreira scored off an assist from 17-year-old Ricardo Pepi, Fafa Picault opened his 2020 scoring account and Ziegler added a late goal to seal the result.
4. Fixture Congestion
As mentioned above, Wednesday’s contest comes at a busy time for both teams. Sporting is amidst a spell of five games in 16 days, while Dallas will have played eight times in 36 days between Aug. 12 and Sept. 16. Sporting Manager Peter Vermes will also have to weigh Saturday’s looming road game at Houston, while FC Dallas is off this weekend before returning to action Sept. 9 in Minnesota.
5. Honors Even
The regular season series between these two MLS originals is tied at 25-25-12. Sporting are 8-2-2 in their last 12 home matches against FC Dallas, but the Texas outfit won both meetings in 2019. FC Dallas went on a 10-match winless draught at Children’s Mercy Park from 2012-2018 across all competitions before winning on each of its previous two visits, including a 3-2 result in July 2018 and a 2-0 triumph last summer.