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Five Reasons Sporting KC Has to Beat St. Louis City Saturday

Obviously the ninth game of any season is not a must win but let us make the case why Sporting Kansas City beating St. Louis is important!



'We need to win this game?' - Andreu Fontas (probably) | Credit: Thad Bell

On Saturday, St. Louis City SC are making the trip across the state to face Sporting Kansas City. It’s the fourth regular season meeting and sixth meeting overall in the short history of this rivalry. Sporting KC hold the series lead 3-2-0, winning both playoff games last year. Each team won their home regular season games in 2023. This will be the first of a minimum of three meetings in 2024, with KC hosting two of three.

It’s only the ninth game of the 2024 Major League Soccer season, but it feels like a must win. Obviously, Sporting KC proved you can fail to win for 10 games to start a season, still somehow make the playoffs, and upset the number one seed. So, no, technically nothing this early in the season is must-win. But let me make the case why it’s really super-duper important Kansas City rights the ship on Saturday.

Capitalize on the New Fans

I’m not sure if you heard, but a few people made it out to Arrowhead last weekend when Sporting KC hosted Inter Miami and Lionel Messi.

And I know there are people that are convinced it was solely a cash grab and nothing positive will come out of it, but there was a lot more blue than pink in that stadium. Plus, the Sporting KC fans were definitely louder. One Reddit user was even asking how to watch more Sporting KC games. We got ’em!

Children’s Mercy Park has 18,467 seats as well as more standing room only spots. Using the seated attendance of CMP, 54,143 extra people got to see SKC/Messi play. If even just one percent of those fans are converted, that’s 541 extra fans. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think 5-10 percent will keep checking it out and go to more games this season. Maybe more!

The thing is all those extra fans only saw Sporting KC lose. If they can win, it’ll hold their attention more because frankly, it’ll be more fun at the stadium.

The Home Record is Rough

Sporting KC are just 1-2-2 at home (1-0-2 on the road) in 2024. Children’s Mercy Park is supposed to be a fortress. And in MLS, you have to win your home games. Relying on picking up points on the road is a bad recipe in soccer, particularly in the United States where travel is so tough on a team.

While it’s not gone well at home, historically it’s gone much worse on the road. Sporting Kansas City have to start picking up points at home as they are wrapping up this home stand (five of six games at home). In that time, they have just one win in the first game of the trip against the San Jose Earthquakes. In the other three recent games, they’ve blown leads in each one, including losing to Inter Miami and the LA Galaxy, and drawing against the Portland Timbers after being up 3-0.

You must win your home games. Especially this home game.

We Can’t Hear from these St. Louis Fans…

Sporting KC don’t play the next game against St. Louis until July 20th. Imagine the smack talk.

If KC lose, that is three months of muting idiots on Twitter (never block, always mute, they get satisfaction out of being blocked). That’s three months of bragging and endless chatter. And they’ll be level in the all-time standings between the team.

Sporting KC need to build a lead. They need to beat St. Louis.

St. Louis are Banged Up

Let’s take a look at St. Louis’ injury report:

  • OUT: Sam Adeniran (Not Due to Injury), Njabulo Blom (Hamstring), Eduard Löwen (Hamstring) and Josh Yaro (Hamstring)

Löwen is probably the team’s best player, though arguments can be made for Burki and Klauss. He makes the midfield tick and is definitely the most creative player on their team. Blom was the team’s defensive midfielder last year, though not having him could be a boon to STL because KC carved him up in the playoffs. Yaro plays CB and isn’t an everyday start.

But Adeniran is a loss. While he’s not typically a starter either, he scores goals. He won’t this weekend.

“Right now, we’re focusing on the guys who bring a certain standard, intensity, work ethic in training, and those players will get rewarded,” St. Louis City coach Bradley Carnell said after practice this week. “Sam, until further notice, will be training on his own.”

Sporting KC aren’t perfectly healthy by any means. Missing St. Louis killer Logan Ndenbe hurts too. But St. Louis may be without their single best player.

Long-term Kansas City Health

No doubt you’ve all seen the stats. Sporting KC have used the fewest players, have the oldest team in the league and have the most unused subs of any team.

As Home and Away’s co-host, Cody Welton, said, “surely a winning combination!” In other words, the injury bug is surely coming. You can’t play the oldest players and sub the least, and not pile up injuries. Just look at the list of guys who have already missed games with injuries through eight games: Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Andreu Fontas, Remi Walter, Memo Rodriguez, Khiry Shelton and Logan Ndenbe.

Not to mention eight players are on the wrong side of 30, of which seven of them (all but Shelton) are regular starters. Yikes!

The summer swoon strikes nearly every year, only avoiding 2023 because the team was so injured to start the season rotation was forced.

When KC start picking up more injuries, it’s almost certain it will cost the team some points. That’s why getting points now is even more important. The team has dropped a league worst 12 points from winning positions through only eight games. If they had those 12 points, they’d be leading the Supporters Shield and seven points clear of the next best teams (LA Galaxy, Inter Miami and NY Red Bulls).

What better time to start picking up points than Saturday?

Preview: Sporting KC vs St Louis City

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