Sporting KC faces MLS champions NYCFC on Saturday


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Sporting Kansas City (2-6-2, 8 points) will embark on the club’s busiest stretch of the season with a road trip to face reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC (4-3-1, 13 points) at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday at Citi Field. The cross-conference clash will be the club’s first of potentially seven matches in a span of 22 days and kicks off a cross-country trek featuring matches in New York (May 7), Kansas City (May 10) and Portland (May 14) in the week ahead.

Saturday’s showdown will be locally televised on 38 The Spot with three hours of coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT. The broadcast will also stream live on 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.

In addition, Sporting KC pub partners  across the Midwest will be showing the match including enhanced watch parties at No Other Pub in the KC Power & Light District and Kelly’s Westport Inn. Local  radio broadcasts will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

Sporting Kansas City will be in pursuit of the team’s first road result of the season – suffering losses in each of the club’s last seven away matches dating back to 2021 — in a first-ever trip to Citi Field. NYCFC have played home matches at five different stadiums in four different states this year, and will add a sixth home venue next week in the U.S. Open Cup.

After going a club-record 20 straight regular season matches without a draw, Sporting are coming off back-to-back ties amidst a five-game winless stretch in the month of April. Most recently, SKC rallied for a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas last weekend with club captain Johnny Russell opening the scoring and MLS All-Star Daniel Salloi providing the equalizer.

Salloi will be up against fellow 2021 MLS MVP finalist Valentin Castellanos, who leads his side with nine goals in all competitions this season and leads all MLS players in shots (34) and shots on goal (14). The 23-year-old Argentine headlines a youthful and potent New York City FC offense that recently added 20-year-old Brazilian winger Gabriel Pereira – who has come off the bench to score in the team’s last two matches – to an attacking corps that already features a trio of other players who have four or more goals in all competitions in 2022: 21-year-old Brazilian forward Thiago Andrade, 21-year-old Uruguayan midfielder Santiago Rodriguez and 19 -year-old Brazilian playmaker Talles Magno.

The highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference, NYCFC are coming off three straight home wins and have scored 14 goals in those three games which is tied for second-most in MLS history over a three-match span. The club has been particularly dangerous at home as they average an MLS-best 3.6 goals per game in home matches this season.

On the opposite end of the field, NYCFC added Brazilian centerback Thiago Martins – who won league titles in Brazil and Japan – as a Designated Player in the offseason after winning MLS Cup in a penalty shootout in which Sean Johnson produced two saves en route to being named MLS Cup MVP. The NYCFC captain has clean sheets in two of his past three matches and now has 79 career regular season shutouts, one shy of tying Bill Hamid for sixth most in MLS all-time.

Sporting Kansas City’s captain is also on the cusp of moving his name up in the record books as Russell’s next regular season goal will see him equal Sporting Legends Davy Arnaud and Josh Wolff for third most in team history. Tim Melia, too, is approaching a milestone moment as the former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year is three saves shy of 600 for the club in the regular season.

Saturday will mark the first time Sporting has faced a reigning MLS Cup champion in over three years and the first time SKC has played NYCFC since July 2019. After Sporting earned victories in the first two meetings with New York City in 2015 and 2016, NYCFC has won each of the past three match-ups.

Sporting will be without four key players on Saturday due to injury. Designated Players Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido are sidelined for the season following knee surgeries, while defenders Graham Zusi (thigh) and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (concussion) were each forced to exit in the first half of the team’s two most recent matches. Conversely, New York City FC is expected to miss only defender Anton Tinnerholm as the Swedish right back continues his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon last October.

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

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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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