Sporting KC To Host Orlando City SC In 2021 Home Opener on April 23


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Courtesy of Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City will host Orlando City SC on Friday, April 23, in the club’s 2021 home opener at Children’s Mercy Park. The 6:30 p.m. CT showdown will be televised nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes, coming six days after Sporting kicks off the MLS campaign at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, April 17.

MLS unveiled on Wednesday the 2021 home openers for all 27 MLS clubs, which includes Sporting’s trip to Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake on Saturday, May 1.

FOX Sports Kansas City, soon to be Bally Sports Kansas City, will serve as the television home of Sporting KC in 2021. The local television schedule, the full MLS regular season schedule and Sporting KC ticket information for home matches at Children’s Mercy Park will be announced at a later date.

Sporting’s first three matches of 2021 MLS season

Time (CT)
Saturday, April 17
12 p.m.
at New York Red Bulls
Red Bull Arena
Harrison, N.J.
Friday, April 23
6:30 p.m.
Children’s Mercy Park
Kansas City, Kan.
Saturday, May 1
1 p.m.
at Real Salt Lake
Rio Tinto Stadium
Sandy, Utah


Led by 13th-year manager Peter Vermes, the longest-tenured head coach in MLS, Sporting will welcome Orlando to Children’s Mercy Park for the second straight season after the Lions prevailed 2-1 last September. Sporting was victorious in its first two home meetings against Orlando—winning 2-1 in May 2016 and 1-0 in September 2018—and will look to improve upon a 15-3-7 all-time record in MLS home openers, including a 4-1-5 mark at Children’s Mercy Park.

A visit to Red Bull Arena on April 17 will see Sporting open the regular season at fellow MLS charter member New York for the first time ever. Last season marked the first time in the 25-year history of MLS that Sporting and New York didn’t square off in league play, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 2-2 draw on April 14, 2019, at Children’s Mercy Park. The 56-game regular season series is dead even with both teams claiming 21 wins and 14 draws. Sporting has won an MLS-record 14 season openers dating back to the inaugural 1996 campaign, posting a 14-7-4 record in Week 1 matches.

On May 1, Sporting will travel west to renew a longstanding rivalry with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Vermes’ side last visited RSL in the 2020 regular season finale on Nov. 8, earning a 2-0 victory to clinch first place in the Western Conference. The result snapped a seven-game regular season winless run at RSL and completed a sweep of the 2020 series, as Sporting previously recorded a 2-0 win over the Utah club at the MLS is Back Tournament last July.

Sporting is looking to build upon a successful 2020 season in which the team finished atop the Western Conference with a 12-6-3 record and a club-record 1.86 points per game. It was Sporting’s fourth first-place conference finish under Vermes since 2011 and marked the best year-over-year improvement in MLS history, as Sporting jumped from 22nd place in the Supporters’ Shield standings in 2019 to third place in 2020.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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