Austin FC will be looking for their third win in a row on Sunday as they face Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park. Austin center back Matt Besler will be returning home to the team he played with for 12 seasons after helping lead Austin to their first clean sheet of the season last week.
After already collecting six points through three games, ATXFC will be looking to continue their strong run of form as they travel north to face Sporting KC.
Austin are coming off a 1-0 win on the road at Minnesota that saw Diego Fagundez score his second goal of the season. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver made a big save in the closing minutes to preserve his clean sheet and the 30-year-old has helped lead an Austin defense that has conceded just three goals in three matches.
Captain Alex Ring put in his best performance of the season against the Loons and he was named to the MLS Team of the Week for his efforts. Another player to keep an eye on is Jared Stroud, who provided the lone assist to Fagundez against Minnesota and has looked dangerous consistently down the right wing.
This match again comes on the road, as Austin start the season on an eight-game road trip before opening Q2 Stadium on June 19.
SPORTING KC OUTLOOK
Sporting had a bounce-back 2020 season, finishing first in the Western Conference. But Peter Vermes’ team did not find success in the MLS Cup Playoffs, losing 3-0 at home to Minnesota United.
They brought most of their core back, including Mexican international Alan Pulido and US youth international Gianluca Busio, while making some additions along the backline and midfield. Sporting have had an up-and-down start to the season, collecting four points through three games, and are coming off a loss at Real Salt Lake in Week 3.
2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia has yet to play in a match due to injury, but could make his return against Austin this weekend. That would provide a boost to a team that conceded three goals against RSL. Pulido has yet to score this season, after starting the season with an injury, and containing him will be key if Austin wants to continue climbing up the Western Conference standings.
PROBABLE SPORTING KC LINEUP
(4-3-3, R-L) - GK: John Pulskamp; Jaylin Lindsey, Roberto Puncec, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins; Remi Walter, Ilie Sanchez, Gianluca Busio; Johnny Russell, Alan Pulido, Khiry Shelton