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PREVIEW: Sporting KC host Philadelphia Union in 2024 home opener

How, when and where to watch Sporting Kansas City take on the Philadelphia Union. Plus, injury updates and a match prediction.



Credit: Thad Bell

Philadelphia Union @ Sporting Kansas City

When: Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Children’s Mercy Park
How to Watch: MLS Season Pass (FREE!)


Last Result: Sporting KC 1 Houston Dynamo 1; Philadelphia Union 2 Chicago Fire 2
Record: SKC (0-1-0); PHI (0-1-0)
Goal Scorers: SKC – Erik Thommy (1); PHI – Mikael Uhre (1), Daniel Gazdag (1)


It’s been an offseason… to say the least. And after the regular season opener on the road on Matchday 1 ended in a stale 1-1 draw, Sporting Kansas City and The Blue Hell are ready to welcome fellow 2023 Conference Semi-Finalist from the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union.

A Matchday 1 draw is not bad, especially against the team that knocked you out of the playoffs last season, but against the Houston Dynamo, SKC looked like they were knocking off some rust.

A win against the Union would also give SKC a better start than last season. That might not mean much after a historic winless start in 2023, but as the old adage says, “Winning fixes everything.”

That may be a bit of a stretch, but strictly soccer-wise, a strong start at home could give the players and fans the confidence they need to repeat, or even surpass, last year’s finish. As we saw in 2023, the season is always long enough for a turnaround, but SKC Nation would be kidding themselves if they thought a similar start would be a sign of good things to come.

“For the guys that were here, I think there is definitely a carry over. I also think they also feel very proud about what they did because they knew it wasn’t easy early on,” manager Peter Vermes said. “There is a level of commitment that you have to show as a player, then you have to execute when the time comes. They also understand what it was like and the other side of that they have an inner strength that they may not have had before.”

The Union and SKC have met 18 in the regular season and split the series 6W-6D-6L. The last meeting ended in a scoreless draw at Subaru Park in Philly. The Union have not left Children’s Mercy Park with three points since 2014.

There are no real surprises on the injury report, with the notable Johnny Russell being a full participant in practice and more than likely will play in Saturday’s match.

On the Union side of things, the main concern is fitness, having played a CONCACAF Champions Cup match midweek, however, defenders Jack Elliot and Damion Lowe will be available after missing the midweek matchup on suspension.

It’s also worth noting the presence of Kai Wagner who re-signed with the Union in the offseason despite rumors he was destined for Europe. So far in 2024, he played all 210 minutes of the home-away series against Deportivo Saprissa in the CCC, and all 90′ against the Fire on Matchday 1.

If SKC can keep up the pressure and keep the Union defense on their heels, they can create chances that will hopefully lead to goals, something they struggled to do at times last season.

I am a big believer in starting strong. I’m all for some growing pains and knocking off the rust, but if you can assert your dominance, you should win the game. The season is young and it’s hard to tell what is going to come of it. Is Pulido going to go on a scoring run again? Will Jake Davis follow up his stellar season with even more growth and possibly earn some league-wide recognition? Can Daniel Salloi return to his MVP level? Can the Andreu Fontas and Danny Rosero duo hold down the defensive line?

There are a million questions as we enter Matchday 2, but the Union are as good a matchup as any to put it all to the test and hopefully answer some of those questions.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

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