Sporting KC ready to get season underway, hoping to start with another win

Sporting KC

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The season may be starting a month later than usual, but Major League Soccer finally returns this weekend.

“I think the players (are) ready to get underway, start playing games. This is why they’re here. Everybody’s ready to go,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said.

Sporting KC opens the season on the road against the New York Red Bulls.

The club has earned 14 season-opening wins since 1996 — the best in the league. They hope to start in the win column again this weekend.

“I’m expecting a very high intensity game. It’s the first one of the season. They obviously are ready to come out, and so are we,” midfielder Gianluca Busio said.

Sporting KC has already been hit with the injury bug. Defender Graham Zusi will miss Saturday’s match, and so will goalies Brooks Thompson, Kendall McIntosh and Tim Melia.

With those three goalies not available, 19-year-old John Pulskamp will start at goalkeeper. Pulskamp becomes the youngest Sporting KC goalkeeper to start in an MLS match.

“I think he deserves it, obviously. Some injuries are unfortunate, but everybody needs to be ready to step up, and I think playing with him for a couple years, he’s shown a lot,” Busio said.

Vermes is excited to get the season started and knows New York presents a good season-opening test.

“I think that they’re an incredibly aggressive high-pressure team. They look very organized. I’ve always said, as an organization, they’ve done very, very well,” Vermes said.

Sporting’s match against the Red Bulls kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The club also announced the signing of Parker Siegfried on loan from USL Championship side Louisville City FC on Thursday.

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