Both New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City will begin their 2018 MLS campaign on Sunday with NYCFC doing the traveling. Both clubs made plenty of changes this offseason including one with each other when Saad Abdul-Salaam and Khiry Shelton swapped homes.
New York City FC brought in Jesus Medina as the club's first ever Young Designated Player and Sporting KC brought in a pair of DPs as Yohan Croizet and Felipe Gutierrez prepare for their competitive debuts with the club.
The sides met just once last year as Sporting KC visited Yankee Stadium to take on an NYCFC side missing David Villa. Despite being without their all-time leading goalscorer, NYCFC won the game 1-0 through a late goal from Jack Harrison who has since returned to England.
In 2017, Sporting KC won the U.S. Open Cup and made the playoffs in MLS. After finishing fifth in the Western Conference, they were knocked out in the first round by the Houston Dynamo who went on to the Western Conference Final. SKC then brought in two DPs this summer, as previously mentioned and are hoping they've improved enough to make a deeper playoff run in 2018.
After dozens of transactions, Patrick Vieira and NYCFC finally feel they have the squad capable of seriously competing for an MLS Cup. After finishing second place in the Eastern Conference and earning a first-round playoff bye for the second consecutive season, the club failed to get past the Columbus Crew. The Boys in Blue will be hoping for a better showing in the playoffs this season.
New York City FC: A club who struggled with injuries last season starts 2018 with just one injured player. New signing from Malmö FF, Jo Inge Berget, will miss the game as he continues to recover from a quad injury.
Sporting Kansas City: While NYCFC will be happy to be without just one player, SKC will be even happier as Peter Vermes will have all of his players available for selection on Sunday.
Following their game in Kansas City, NYCFC will prepare for back-to-back home games. First up, the LA Galaxy will head to Yankee Stadium for NYCFC's home opener. Following that, a battle of the 2015 expansion clubs as Orlando City SC will also visit NYCFC. Then, a pair of games away from home to end the month of March as NYCFC will take on the New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes.
On the other hand, Sporting KC will travel to Toyota Park to take on the Chicago Fire as they open the season vs. back-to-back Eastern Conference sides. Following that, they'll host San Jose before heading on the road once again, this time, vs. the Colorado Rapids. To finish March off, SKC will host an improved D.C. United side.