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Eastern Conference Championship

FC Dallas expect tough outing vs. road warriors Sporting

FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City

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Getty Images

FRISCO, Texas — On paper, it looks like FC Dallas are destined to get three points when they take on Eastern Conference cellar-dwellers Sporting Kansas City on Sunday evening (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online). But FCD are not concerned with what’s on paper.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” said captain Daniel Hernandez on Friday morning on the practice field. “I have no doubt in my mind they are going to come in here looking to steal three points and an opponent like that is always dangerous.”

FCD and Sporting couldn’t be at more opposite ends heading into their first meeting in 2011.

FC Dallas are unbeaten in nine and sitting comfortably at second place in the Western Conference. Sporting, meanwhile, sit at the bottom of the Eastern table with seven points through 11 games after beginning the season on a menacing 10-game road trip. They opened their new stadium, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, on Thursday night with a scoreless tie against the Chicago Fire.

Sporting went a heart-wrenching 1-6-3 on their road trip and haven’t won in league play since their opening day 3-2 victory over Chivas USA on March 19. FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman watched Thursday night’s game and knows what he is going up against.

“We know that we are going to face a team that’s very strong-willed and they’re a lot better team than their record,” stated Hyndman.

Hernandez also watched Sporting’s midweek game.

“They have some good things,” said Hernandez. “Obviously, they have some emotion going in their first home game at their new stadium.”

Hernandez, who spent time playing in the Mexican Primera División, mentioned Sporting’s attacking options go through a certain former Chivas de Guadalajara player.

“They have some dangerous players with their forwards, like [Omar] Bravo,” he said. “They definitely have the weapons to cause trouble. I think obviously they haven’t been getting the results they want, but every game is crucial for them and we have to be careful.”

FC Dallas have not lost since an April 17 match against the Portland Timbers — a week before they lost David Ferreira to a broken ankle.

After a busy stretch of seven games in May where the team held a 531-minute shutout streak for nearly the entire month, FCD have been fortunate to hold a full week of training this week and, in particular, focus on finishing.

“For us it’s a technique — shooting the ball is a technique,” said Hyndman. “What we want to do is do repetition with technique and just keep doing it over and over and over again. What players will do is correct their own technique.”

And if the practice proves perfect on Sunday against Sporting, FCD may send their visitors away with yet another loss on the road.