What: 2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 5
When: Saturday, March 25 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
Where: Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Watch: Apple TV MLS Season Pass
Listen: English Radio | ESPN 94.5 FM/1510 AM - Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City returns home to host Western Conference foe Seattle Sounders FC Saturday. Both teams are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season, missing the playoffs. Seattle enters the match with a 2-1-1 (seven points) record while Sporting KC is still looking for their first win with a 0-2-2 (two points) record.
After a 1-0 loss in the season opener, Sporting KC managed two strong defensive efforts with scoreless draws in Colorado and at home against the Galaxy. The trip to Dallas seemed like a one step forward and two steps back situation when Daniel Salloi scored SKC’s first goal of 2023, but the defense surrendered two goals.
Seattle started strong with 4-0 and 2-0 wins over the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake respectively. The Sounders have struggled in their last two with a 1-0 lost in Cincinnati and a scoreless draw against LAFC.
This is the second road game for the Sounders. The visitors have not played well on the road, losing five straight away games and are winless in 10 consecutive road games (0-9-1). SKC on the other hand have a seven-game unbeaten streak at home (6-0-1).
While SKC has struggled in the scoring department and it’s not for a lack of trying, it may be the result of poor shot selection. They lead MLS in shots (69) and shots on target (29) but are 13th in expected goals with 4.57.
Both teams will be missing players but mostly for very different reasons. Seattle has six players missing for International Duty with one questionable for a hamstring. SKC has one call up (Tzionis by Cyprus) and several questionable or out for various injuries.
The “possible” big news will could be Alan Pulido returning to the game day lineup. Pulido indicated on social media that he would be in the game day roster and both he and Johnny Russell were seen in practice forming a front line with Salloi.
With the length of time that Pulido has been out it is likely he starts on the bench if he even gets time. Russell has yet to play this season, but he was injured in the last preseason game so will not be as far away from game shape. Tim Leibold is also listed as questionable and could make the bench or start as well.
DEF - Tim Leibold (Hamstring Injury)
FWD - Alan Pulido (Knee Injury)
FWD - Johnny Russell (Hamstring Injury)
DEF - Kortne Ford (Achilles Surgery)
DEF - Logan Ndenbe (Hamstring Injury)
DEF - Kayden Pierre (Hamstring Injury)
MID - Gadi Kinda (Knee Injury)
FWD - Marinos Tzionis (International Duty - Cyprus)
Héber Left Hamstring Strain
Xavier Arreaga International Duty
Reed Baker-Whiting International Duty
Nouhou International Duty
Alex Roldan International Duty
Raúl Ruidíaz International Duty
Obed Vargas International Duty
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistant ref: Chris Wattam
Assistant ref: Meghan Mullen
4th official: Jon Freemon
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
Alex Chilowicz has officiated three MLS matches this season, including Seattle’s home opener. He has handed out five yellows, three of them in one match. The last two SKC matches he officiated were SKC losses on the road (Seattle and Colorado).