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Kansas City Gets Five Extra Club Soccer Matches this Summer

It’s the summer of the soccer in Kansas City! Sporting KC and the Kansas City Current get five extra home games combined! Plus, other stories around American soccer.

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Credit: Thad Bell

Leagues Cup Schedule Released

It’s going to be the summer of soccer in Kansas City. With Sporting Kansas City landing the hosting of both of their group stage Leagues Cup games and the KC Current getting three special games (see below), there will be a lot of bonus soccer to catch!

As we speculated back in February, Sporting KC will host both Toluca and the Chicago Fire in this year’s version of the Leagues Cup. And it’s a favorable schedule as well, with Chicago and Toluca having the midweek game and SKC playing with a week off between games.

  • Sunday, July 28 (8 pm CT): Chicago Fire at Sporting KC
  • Thursday, Aug. 1 (8 pm CT): Toluca FC at Chicago Fire
  • Monday, Aug. 5 (8 pm CT): Toluca FC at Sporting KC

Perhaps that will give SKC an advantage against Toluca, who eliminated them from this competition last year.

The highest four seeded Liga MX teams get to limit their travel slightly and work out of hub cities/states. Club America will play in San Diego, Monterrey will play in Austin, Chivas will play in San Jose and Los Angeles and Tigres will be in Houston, with the second match against Miami at the much larger NRG Stadium (I wonder why…). Toluca were the 5th seeded Liga MX team and they get the shaft travelling the whole way.

The schedule gets a bit compressed after the group stage, which probably doesn’t favor Sporting KC’s usual lack of rotation. Maybe lessons will be learned this year.

  • Group Stage: July 26-Aug. 6
  • Round of 32: August 7-9
  • Round of 16: August 12-13
  • Quarterfinals: August 16-17
  • Semifinals: August 20 or August 21
  • Final & Third Place: August 25

The entire tournament is available on MLS Season Pass.

NWSL & Liga MX Summer Camp

With the Challenge Cup reduced to just a single game instead of a tournament with $1 million on the line, everyone was waiting to see what NWSL would come up with for 2024. This week they announced the 2024 NWSL & Liga MX Femenil Summer Camp.

The competition will take place during the Olympic break during the summer and kick off on July 19th. It’s a unique format with 33 matches held overall. 30 of those matches are across the group stage with its five groups. However, only four group winners will advance into the 4-team playoff. While that is a bit of a strange choice, it pushes you to try to win your games knowing even a group winner might not advance.

All 14 NWSL teams will be in the competition and the top six teams from the Clausura and Apertura seasons in Liga MX will join. Those teams are Tigres, Club América, Chivas de Guadalajara, Rayadas de Monterrey, Pachuca and Tijuana.

The Kansas City Current will host all three of their group stage games.

  • Saturday, July 20th vs. Houston Dash
  • Saturday, July 27th vs. Pachuca
  • Thursday, August 1st vs. Tigres

The Current’s group is the only one to feature two Liga MX Femenil teams, leading to more unique matchups than the other groups. The semifinal game will be on the week of August the 4th but the title game is over the weekend of October 25-27, which is a separate international break.

All these games happening over breaks means teams will be without some of their stars, but it will be a chance for teams with depth to shine. The Current certainly seem to be one of those teams after one week.

A Closer Look at SKC’s Set Pieces Against San Jose

Twitter user @cabin__13 (Steven) did a breakdown of many of the set pieces from the Sporting KC win over the San Jose Earthquakes from this past weekend. He looked at the goal San Jose scores, the one they should have scored, and a whole lot more. I found it very insightful and wanted to share it with all of you.

Click on the tweet to read the whole thread.

Behind the Shield

Every week on Thursday, Sporting KC have been putting out their “Behind the Shield” series. Not just after wins, but on each game from the season. If you aren’t watching them, I’d highly encourage you to do so for a peek behind the curtain.

My favorite one of the season so far is probably the one from preseason. That speech that Peter Vermes gives makes you want to run through a wall.

SKC II Home Opener

Sporting KC II have their first home game this weekend against Ventura County FC (aka Los Angeles Galaxy II who just went through a rebrand). If you’ve never been to Rock Chalk Park, it’s free for SKC season ticket members (contact your ticket rep) or just $10 otherwise. Here is what you need to know before you go.

Sporting KC II had a thrilling come from behind victory on the road against the Houston Dynamo 2 this past weekend. Last week, Danny Flores, Ryan Schewe and Chris Rindov all started and played from the first team on loan. 15-year-old Ian James also got into the game from the SKC Academy. No sign of Marinos Tzionis, who may be needed with the first team this weekend with Russell unlikely to play, Alenis Vargas away on international duty and Khiry Shelton still hurt.

If you can’t make it to Lawrence, the game is available on MLS Season Pass.

Messi/Arrowhead Update

Lionel Messi is hurt and skipped Argentina’s friendlies during this international break. He also skipped the D.C. United game this past weekend.

We’re about three weeks away from him playing Sporting KC in Arrowhead. He has a road game against CF Monterrey in Mexico just days before the trip to Kansas City in a CONCACAF Champions Cup game. It has to be in a bit of doubt that he’ll actually play in Kansas City.

When he didn’t play in last year against the Chicago Fire or in preseason in Hong Kong, credits and partial refunds were given. It would be a bit of a PR disaster if KC are put in the same situation in April. Then again, it should be a more winnable game if he doesn’t play (though we thought that last year too).

Quick Entries

  • 614K people watched the KC Current versus the Portland Thorns on Saturday. The second most ever for an NWSL game.

  • ICYMI: Benny Feilhaber sat down with the Shades of Blue guys for an interview. If nothing, listen for the shaming he gives my colleague David over Messi.
  • This is a little late (from us) but American Soccer Analysis did a preview of the KC Current’s season.
  • PSA: The March 30th KC Current match has moved back an hour against Angel City FC. It’s gonna be live on ESPN!

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