HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls kick off their 26th Major League Soccer season against Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena Saturday at 8 p.m.
Coming off their 11th consecutive MLS Cup Playoff appearance and 21st overall, the Red Bulls opens the regular season with head coach Gerhard Struber, 10 returning starters and 10 additions for the 2021.
The Red Bulls are 10-9-6 in season openers and 7-2-1 when opening the season at home. New York is 4-1-0 when opening the season at home RBA, most recently defeating FC Cincinnati in the 2020 first game.
The Red Bulls and Sporting KC clash for the 57th time in the regular season with the all-time series tied, 21-21-14. The last six matches have ended at 2-2-2. It will be the second time that New York opens the season against Kansas City with the last time coming at Children’s Mercy Park to open the 2015 season. The 2015 season opener ended in 1-1 draw, which was the first match that Captain Sean Davis appeared in New York’s 18-man MLS regular-season roster.
Next week New York will travel West for a nationally televised match against LA Galaxy Sunday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Led by 13th-year head and former MetroStars defender Peter Vermes, the longest-tenured head coach in MLS history, Sporting finished atop the Western Conference last season with a 12-6-3 mark and a club-record 1.86 points per game. Newly designated captain Johnny Russell, striker Alan Pulido and midfielder Gadi Kinda scored six goals apiece in the regular season, while the likes of 18-year-old Gianluca Busio, fellow Academy product Jaylin Lindsey and winger Khiry Shelton enjoyed their best MLS campaigns to date.
Sporting returns a veteran core this year – including goalkeeper Tim Melia, an East Islip, N.Y. native, and defender Graham Zusi, who in his 13th season has become the longest-tenured active player with a single club in MLS. Vermes has added a crop of high-profile newcomers, namely center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and midfielder Remi Walter from France, while also promoting from within. Sporting has an MLS-high 12 Homegrown Players on its current roster, five of whom have signed within the last six months.