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Sporting KC hosts Columbus Crew on Saturday

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Sporting Kansas City (2-6-0, 6 points) will host 2020 MLS Cup champions and 2021 Campeones Cup winners Columbus Crew (2-3-2, 8 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets are available via SeatGeek, including College Night packages featuring a match ticket and co-branded scarf for fans of select area schools.

The cross-conference clash will be locally televised on 38 The Spot with three hours of coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT. The broadcast will also stream live on SportingKC.com and in the Sporting KC app for viewers in Kansas and Missouri (excluding St. Louis area per MLS policy), as well as ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers. Radio broadcasts will also be available locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

Both teams enter Saturday looking to snap three-game losing streaks in the regular season. Columbus’ recent slide was compounded this week with a 2-1 loss at USL Championship newcomers Detroit City FC on Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup Third Round and an injury to midfielder Lucas Zelarayan that has kept the reigning MLS Player of the Month out of training. The 2020 MLS Newcomer of the Year, Zelarayan leads Columbus with four goals and two assists, and leads all MLS players in chances created and expected assists this season.

The Crew, already missing Luis Diaz (back) and Kevin Molino (knee) due to injuries, may also be without Gyasi Zardes as reports on Friday afternoon linked the U.S. Men’s National Team forward with a trade to the Colorado Rapids.

Columbus has been held scoreless in the club’s last three MLS matches as the offense has stagnated after kicking off the campaign with a 4-0 win. Since the season-opening victory, Columbus has conceded the first goal in each of the team’s last six matches and has struggled to overcome the deficit despite leading the league in shots while also conceding the fewest in MLS.

Saturday’s match will be the first meeting between the two MLS charter clubs since 2019 when Sporting prevailed 1-0 in Columbus to improve to 7-1-2 in the team’s past 10 matches in the series. The Crew’s last trip to Children’s Mercy Park came in May 2018, when Tim Melia saved a Zardes penalty in a scoreless draw, and their only win at stadium came nearly a decade ago in July 2012.

The match-up will feature two of the league’s longest-tenured players as Graham Zusi and Darlington Nagbe are among eight active MLS players with 325 or more regular season appearances. Nagbe is the most accurate passer in MLS this year with an accuracy rate of nearly 95% while Zusi is on the cusp of tying Matt Besler for the most regular season games started in club history.

Sporting captain Johnny Russell is also on the verge of a major milestone as his next appearance will be his 500th senior team game played for club and country in his career. Russell is one of two players questionable on Sporting’s player availability report along with midfielder Uri Rosell while Designated Players Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido remain sidelined with long-term knee injuries.

Following Saturday’s match, The Final Whistle postgame show will air live on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Aly Trost, Chad Reynolds and Dave Borchardt. Listeners can tune in via the Sporting KC mobile app or online at 810WHB.com.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
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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