Preview: SKC look for home cookin' against Whitecaps

Sporting KC vs. Vancouver

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Sporting Kansas City return to their Livestrong Sporting Park to meet Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the second time this season when the clubs face off on Saturday evening. Sporting are unbeaten in six games, coming off a scoreless draw Wednesday against Philadelphia Union on the road. Whitecaps FC put an end to their record 14-game winless run last weekend, a 1-0 win against Philadelphia at home.

REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Colin Arblaster; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 3; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT: SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: FW Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); MF Craig Rocastle (R knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Graham Zusi (L ankle sprain) …

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Terry Dunfield
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Omar Bravo, Julio Cesar … VAN: Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 3 goals … Sporting 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 1
• The teams met on April 2, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC had an historic and heroic comeback, coming all the way back from a 3-goal deficit to snatch a share of the points at Empire Field.
• Coaches record: Tom Soehn v KC: P8 W3 L2 D3 … Peter Vermes vs. VAN: P1 W0 L0 D1

LAST MEETING
4/2: VAN 3, KC 3 (Harris 73; Camilo 90+, 90+ – Bunbury 45, 58; Kamara 62)
• Just before the halftime whistle, Teal Bunbury opened the scoring, drilling a shot into the top corner from just outside the area.
• Kansas City doubled their lead on 58 minutes with Milos Stojcev pulling the strings, finding Bunbury cutting in on goal for his second of the match. Five minutes later it was 3-0, as a C.J. Sapong cross found a wide open Kei Kamara in the box for a simple finish.
• Whitecaps FC finally began to show signs of life in the second half when substitute Nizar Khalfan sped down the left flank and bounced a cross off Harris a yard from goal to cut the deficit to 3-1.
• The ‘Caps made it a tight finish early in stoppage time when substitute Davide Chiumiento broke down the right and cut it back for Camilo to thump home. Barely 90 seconds later, the Whitecaps leveled with Camilo the hero, heading home a cross from Khalfan.
• Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Philadelphia Union. Jay Nolly came in at goalkeeper for Joe Cannon, Michael Boxall came into central defense and Wes Knight into the midfield with Nizar Khalfan on the bench and Russell Teibert on international duty, and Camilo started up top in place of the suspended Eric Hassli.
• VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly – Jonathan Leathers, Greg Janicki (Nizar Khalfan 64), Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat - Wes Knight (Davide Chiumiento 69), Gershon Koffie, Terry Dunfield, Blake Wagner - Camilo, Atiba Harris.
• SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Michael Harrington, Julio Cesar (Shavar Thomas 82), Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza - Birahim Diop - Davy Arnaud (Stephane Auvray 76), Milos Stojcev (Craig Rocastle 90) - Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City extended their league winless run to six games, reaching a scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at PPL Park. Sporting have 14 points from 14 matches on the season, sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
 

LAST MATCH
• Union had a season-high 26 attempts at goal, and forced Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to make seven saves on the night, including a pair of stops from close range on Jack McInerney and Carlos Ruiz midway through the first half.
• Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon was not credited with a single save on the night.
• SKC manager Peter Vermes made three changes to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 at Livestrong Sporting Park. Julio Cesar came in for the suspended Aurelien Collin, Kei Kamara replaced the injured Graham Zusi and Teal Bunbury started in place of C.J. Sapong.
• SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Luke Sassano, Birahim Diop (Stephane Auvray 72) - Kei Kamara, Davy Arnaud, Omar Bravo (Michael Harrington 63) - Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 46).
 

TEAM NEWS
• While it was the fourth defensive shutout for Sporting Kansas City in the last five games, it was the third scoreless draw in that time.
• “There’s many teams that have come and played many games at our place over the years and they wind up stealing one point or even three because they sit back and they counter. Part of our game plan tonight was to try to do some of that based on us traveling and having to go back home and play Saturday night having just played a game this past weekend,” Vermes said.
• With Aurelien Collin suspended, Vermes inserted Julio Cesar into central defense. Julio Cesar was making his first start since May 14, having made just two substitute appearances in the six games since.
• “He was exactly what we needed him to be tonight,” Vermes said. “He was a man out there tonight. You could see it.”
• Vermes was not willing to say whether Collin would regain his place in the team, or whether he would remain with the back four that recorded the shutout. “I don’t want to think about that now,” said Vermes. “I just want to enjoy this one.”
• After scoring two goals and adding two assists in the previous two games, Graham Zusi was unavailable with an ankle sprain.
• “We missed him a little bit tonight. He gives us a little different dimension on both sides of the ball, but I think the guys did a good job that were in there,” Vermes said. “The fighting is a huge part of the game and that aspect was good. Hopefully he’s recovered and he’ll be ready for the next game and the game after that.”
• Nielsen’s seven saves on the night matched a season-high for the SKC goalkeeper.
• “If you don’t have anything to do it means that the team is doing well. If you have a lot to do and you save the ball, you’re active the whole game. I had a lot of stuff to do today, but it’s my job,” Nielsen said.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC won for the first time since First Kick, getting an early goal and holding on for a 1-0 victory against Philadelphia Union on Saturday at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC have 14 points from 16 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH
• The game's lone goal came on 12 minutes when Davide Chiumiento dribbled through the Union defense, playing a give-and-go with Eric Hassli, then feeding an onrushing Rochat on the left. Rochat then unleashed a wicked curling strike from outside the box that gave Philadelphia 'keeper Faryd Mondragón no chance.
• Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made two changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field. Terry Dunfield returned from international duty for Gershon Koffie and Michael Boxall came in for Mouloud Akloul.
• VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC(4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas, Terry Dunfield (Gershon Koffie 83), Jeb Brovsky, Camilo (Nizar Khalfan 76) - Davide Chiumiento - Eric Hassli.
 

TEAM NEWS
• Whitecaps FC ended their MLS winless streak at 14 games, the third-longest in MLS history and the longest ever within a single season. The league record is 18 games without a victory set by Real Salt Lake from Aug. 10, 2005 to May 6, 2006.
• “There were still stretches when we could be a little better in possession but I continue to see us grow,” Whitecaps head coach Tom Soehn said. “Getting three points today is a big confidence builder that will just lead to bigger and better things.”
• For Soehn, it was his first win in charge of the club after taking over for Teitur Thordarson when he was relieved of his coaching duties three weeks earlier.
• “Maybe it's just a case of having the confidence to close games out,” goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. “You always know it's going to get ugly at the end but there's little things you can do to protect leads. We'll definitely build on this.”
• Davide Chiumiento contributed his sixth assist of the season – his first since April 23, eight games without being involved in a goal. Chiumiento is still tied for third in MLS, along with Portland’s Jack Jewsbury, behind Houston’s Brad Davis (9) and LA’s David Beckham (7).
• “I did a one-two with Eric and then, on the left side, I saw Alain and we know that he has a good left foot,” said Chiumiento. “It was a beautiful goal and next week I must buy him dinner because that counts for an assist.”
• New Zealand international Michael Boxall made his first appearance for the club since a Nutrilite Canadian Championship match vs. Montréal on May 18.
• Boxall partnered Jay DeMerit in central defense, just the second time the pair started together in league play. The first time was March 19 – Vancouver’s first victory, the season-opening win vs. Toronto FC. Boxall had come off appearances in two friendlies, vs. Mexico and Australia, for the All-Whites.
• “Those international games definitely were key to helping me get back into shape during that little hiatus,” Boxall said to the Vancouver Sun. “If the coaches and the team believe in me, then it's up to me to put it out there in the park.”
• While it was more than three months between victories for Whitecaps FC, they have taken points from six of their last eight games now, since the start of May.
• “We know that it was an important win on the weekend,” Chiumiento said. “But it’s important also to train well this week and prepare for Saturday. We need to win then, too. We must keep our feet on the ground because if we start to lose other games, then the win from last Saturday won’t be important.”