Preview: TFC look for turnaround vs. streaking Sporting
Sporting Kansas City begin the payback for their long road swing to open the campaign when they play host to Toronto FC on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting are playing the first of nine consecutive home games; they extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games with a 1-1 draw at Houston last weekend. TFC have lost three games on the trot, falling 1-0 at home to FC Dallas at midweek.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Landis Wiley. MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 20.0; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 2; pens: 3
SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: DF Olukorede Aiyegbusi (jaw contusion); MF Davy Arnaud (sports hernia surgery); MF Craig Rocastle (R knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Aurelien Collin (L quadriceps contusion); PROBABLE: FW Kei Kamara (R achilles tendinitis); MF Graham Zusi (L ankle sprain)
TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); MF Leandre Griffit (abdominal strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Julian de Guzman (L knee swelling); FW Maicon Santos (R hamstring strain); MF Terry Dunfield (R adductor strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Jon Kempin (U.S. U-18 national team)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Aurelien Collin … TOR: Terry Dunfield, Mikael Yourassowsky
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Omar Bravo, Julio Cesar … TOR: Danleigh Borman, Dan Gargan, Ryan Johnson, Javier Martina
- ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Sporting 4 wins, 10 goals …Toronto FC 3 wins, 7 goals … Ties 4
- AT KC (5 meetings): Sporting 3 wins, 9 goals …Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season, after playing to a scoreless draw June 4 at BMO Field.
- Since losing the club’s first game ever at BMO Field, 1-0 to Kansas City on April 28, 2007, Toronto FC have not lost at home to K.C. TFC has won twice, with three draws, in their four home games since.
- Coaches' records: Peter Vermes vs. TOR: P3 W1 L0 D2 … Aron Winter v KC: : P1 W0 L0 D1
- 6/4: TOR 0, KC 0
- Eric Kronberg made three saves in goal for Sporting Kansas City, including a stop in added time on a header from late-game substitute Doneil Henry.
- Stefan Frei made two saves in the TFC goal, his best a save on a Teal Bunbury shot from outside the area midway through the second half.
- TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley (Dan Gargan 76), Ty Harden, Nana Attakora (Doneil Henry 92+), Danleigh Borman - Nathan Sturgis - Tony Tchani, Mikael Yourassowsky - Javier Martina, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata (Nick Soolsma 67).
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-1-3): Eric Kronberg - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington - Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle (Luke Sassano 60) - Graham Zusi (Birahim Diop 85) - Ryan Smith, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 88), Omar Bravo.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City once again salvaged a point with some late heroics, getting a late 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. Sporting have 23 points from 19 matches on the season, sitting in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Dynamo took the lead after just eight minutes. Brian Ching drew a foul some 22 yards from goal and Brad Davis curled the resulting free kick over the wall and inside Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen's left-hand post.
- The home side went a man down in the 56th minute when Colin Clark came in with a studs-up challenge on KC center back Aurelien Collin, then 14 minutes later, Ching was sent off with a straight red card from referee Kevin Stott after kicking at Collin’s heel deep in the Sporting end.
- Collin then made the Dynamo pay, taking a pass about 25 yards goal and hammering a hard, low shot which took a slight deflection to send Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall diving the wrong way.
- SKC manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that got a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at Livestrong Sporting Park. Kei Kamara and Birahim Diop and came into the team for Milos Stojcev and Julio Cesar.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington (Teal Bunbury 80) - Birahim Diop - Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza - Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Omar Bravo.
- Sporting’s 11-game unbeaten streak is the second-longest in MLS this season (behind the LA Galaxy’s 12- game streak to start the week), and is also the second-longest in club history, after a 12-game stretch during the 2000 MLS Cup season.
- “At times, we were a little impatient, but they did a good job and Hall was very good in goal there at the end to make quite a few saves,” said Sporting head coach Peter Vermes. “There is no doubt that we deserved a goal. We should have had maybe a couple more because of some of the actions that we created.”
- For the second time in as many games, Sporting scored a goal in the 90th minute or later to grab a point. Omar Bravo scored in stoppage time for a 1-1 home draw with Colorado the week before.
- “They usually play a straight 4-4-2 but they played a 4-3-3 in the first half. At that point, in the start of the second half, I thought they would change back to a 4-4-2 and they didn’t,” said Vermes. “So I think it really played to us because we know our system and that’s the way we play.”
- The game against TFC kicks off a string of nine consecutive home games in league play for Sporting KC. Their next MLS game on the road will be Sept. 17, at Real Salt Lake.
- “It’s a good position to be in. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden because you’re going home, that you’re going to get points all the time but it’s definitely a good position to be in,” said Vermes. “I think we have a good confidence about being in games and not giving up. The MLS season is a very long season and it’s a grind and for us, we have a game coming up in a week and that’s what we have to get ready for.”
- After the Houston match, SKC announced the acquisition of Brazilian attacking midfielder Jéferson on loan from Vasco da Gama as the third Designated Player in club history.
- “He is a creative guy,” Vermes said. “He can make the final pass. He has a heck of a shot from distance. He’s very technical. The pace of MLS is so fast and up and down. A guy like him can bring a pause to the game when we need it and slip that final ball or at the same time score.”
- On Wednesday, Sporting played to a scoreless draw with Newcastle United of the English Premier League in a friendly at Livestrong Sporting Park.
- Here’s the Sporting team: Eric Kronberg; Seth Sinovic (Kevin Ellis 62), Julio Cesar (Daneil Cyrus 46), Matt Besler, Chance Myers (Michael Harrington 46); Roger Espinoza (Peterson Joseph 46), Jéferson (Luke Sassano, Graham Zusi (Milos Stojcev); Omar Bravo (C.J. Sapong 46), Teal Bunbury (Soony Saad 62), Kei Kamara (Birahim Diop 46)
Toronto FC suffered a third consecutive shutout loss, falling 1-0 to FC Dallas on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. TFC has 18 points from 21 games on the season, sitting in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The game's only goal came four minutes after the second-half restart. Brek Shea picked up the ball in midfield, went haring forward and finished it off by thundering a left-footed shot from outside the box into the upper left corner.
- With all the changes rang into the squad with the opening of the secondary transfer window, TFC head coach Aron Winter brought in six newcomers to the side that suffered a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium. Keeping their places were Stefan Frei, Danleigh Borman, Ty Harden, Mikael Yourassowsky and Joao Plata.
- TORONTO FC (4-3-3): Stefan Frei - Eddy Viator, Andy Iro, Ty Harden, Danleigh Borman - Nathan Sturgis (Nick Soolsma 56), Torsten Frings, Mikael Yourassowsky (Maicon Santos 54) - Ryan Johnson, Danny Koevermans,
- Joao Plata (Gianluca Zavarise 70).
- It was a fifth loss in the last six games for TFC, who have won just once in league play since May 7.
- Winter gave starts to both of his new Designated Players, Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, as well as Ryan Johnson (acquired from San Jose), but the club’s goalless drought still reached 306 games.
- “I give the guys compliments because it's the first time we've played with a lot of new guys. You saw all the opportunities they had on the pitch,” said Winter. “It's a pity that they didn't make at least one of those chances … I think in one or two games, then the guys should know each other on the pitch.”
- Winter also ran out two new defenders, as coming in were Andy Iro (picked up from Columbus) and Guadeloupe international Eddy Viator, whose signing was completed the day before the match.
- “We start training Monday for the first time together, yesterday was the second time, and you need some more games, and also more training to know each other well,” Winter said. “But I was satisfied. We are all unlucky that we lost the game 1-0, but I think that ... the goal that they made wasn't really a chance, from the distance that he shot. But if you're going to compare all the opportunities that they had and what we had, I saw a lot of good things tonight.”
- Frings slotted into the deeper-lying central midfield role, in front of the back four, while Koevermans was at the top of the front three.
- “Torsten has done very well. You can notice also that on the pitch he's always asking for the ball. He needs, maybe, another game, then he's very sharp. But today he played very well. He made a difference on the pitch,” Winter said. Said Iro: “He keeps the game flowing. … once he gets a couple more games under his belt, gets accustomed to the MLS tempo, there's no reason why he can't show his quality for the rest of the season.”