Team Profile: Sporting Kansas City
Updated: Feb 18
Year founded: 1995.
First season in MLS: 1996 (as Kansas City Wiz).
Stadium: Children's Mercy Park, Kansas, KS.
Honors: MLS Cup (2000, 2013), Supporters' Shield (2000), U.S. Open Cup (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017).
2023 highlights: needing to turn things around after a poor 2022 season, Sporting KC play three of their first four games on the road, including an opener at Portland Timbers. The first two home games will present stern tests, also, being as they are against LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders. Their Eastern Conference away games take SKC to Philadelphia, New England, and Inter Miami, for what will be a first-ever fixture against the Florida club. There are certainly some busy months early on, but Sporting returns from Leagues Cup and just one MLS date in August, at home to San Jose Earthquakes. They finish with six games in September but have only two in October, finishing at home to Minnesota United on October 21st.
Head Coach: Peter Vermes.
Players to watch: Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi, Nemanja Radoja, Johnny Russell, Erik Thommy, Tim Leibold.
Robert Castellanos (signed)
Roger Espinoza (free agent, after contract expired with SKC) Danny Flores (waivers) Andreu Fontas (free agent, after contract expired with SKC) Tim Leibold (free transfer) Nemanja Radoja (free transfer)
Chris Rindov (signed after selected 37th overall in the MLS SuperDraft) Graham Zusi (free agent, after option declined by SKC)
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (option declined) Kaveh Rad (option declined) Uri Rosell (waived)
2022 summary: Sporting KC failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time in 12 seasons as they could only manage third from bottom (12th) in the Western Conference. They had issues at both ends of the field. Since the 34-game regular season came into being in 2011, only once previously have they scored fewer than the 42 goals managed last year. The 54 goals conceded is third most in club history. They conceded 67 in 2019 (the first time they had failed to reach the postseason since 2010), and 63 in 1996, the first season of MLS.
Facts and Stats: when Cam Duke picked up a second yellow card, and thus a red, in the 2-0 home loss to Austin FC on July 30th last season, he became the 100th dismissal in club history. The first player to see red was former Cameroon international defender Samuel Ekemé, who was sent off in the club's third-ever game, a shootout win at San Jose Clash on April 21st, 1996.
Milestones in 2023: Sporting KC faces CF Montreal on April 29th in what will be their fourth home game of the new season, and a 200th regular season encounter at Children's Mercy Park, the club's home since 2011.
A much-improved season for Sporting KC could take head coach Peter Vermes to 200 regular season wins. He currently has 183, all with Kansas City.
When SKC heads to Inter Miami on September 9th, it will be a first meeting with the Florida club playing their fourth season in MLS. Miami's stadium is built on the site of the old Lockhart Stadium. Kansas City's last game at that venue was June 9th, 2001, and a 5-1 thumping at the hands of a Miami Fusion. The then-named Kansas City Wizards had Peter Vermes among their numbers. The Fusion included Nick Rimando, Preki, and Chris Henderson, now Sporting Director at Inter Miami, and who had spent the previous two seasons at the Wizards.