Preview: Sporting continue homestand against FC Dallas

SKC - DAL

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images/MLSsoccer.com

LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
8:30 p.m. ET (KSMO; FS-SW+; watch LIVE online)
August 27, 2011 (WEEK 24; MLS Game 240)

A meeting of two teams currently firmly in the playoff picture is ahead Saturday when FC Dallas travel to Livestrong Sporting Park to take on Sporting Kansas City. The hosts still have three games remaining on this long homestand, coming off a 1-0 victory against D.C. United last weekend that moved then to second in the Eastern Conference. FC Dallas are coming off a 1-0 home loss to Seattle that dropped them to third in the West, but defeated Toronto FC 1-0 at midweek in a second attempt at a CONCACAF Champions League match.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 22.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 2; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT: SPORTING KANSAS CITY—OUT: DF Daneil Cyrus (L foot fracture); MF Craig Rocastle (R knee sprain); MF Luke Sassano (R knee sprain); MF Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: MF Davy Arnaud (sports hernia surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Jeferson (R quad strain); PROBABLE: DF Aurelien Collin (lower back fracture)...FC DALLAS—OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); FW Maykel Galindo (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Zach Loyd (R hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DAL: Daniel Cruz (through Aug. 28)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Aurelien Collin...DAL: Jeremy Hall, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Andrew Jacobson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Omar Bravo, Julio Cesar, Birahim Diop...DAL: Marvin Chavez, Daniel Hernandez, Zach Loyd, Brek Shea

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (45 meetings): Sporting 19 wins (2 shootout), 64 goals...FC Dallas 18 wins (1 shootout), 73 goals...Ties 8
  • AT KC (22 meetings): Sporting 10 wins (2 shootout), 39 goals...FC Dallas 7 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals...Ties 5
  • Graham Zusi scored a pair of goals for the first time this season as Sporting exploded for a 4-1 victory against FC Dallas on June 12 at Pizza Hut Park in the first meeting this season.
  • It was Kansas City's first win at Pizza Hut Park since 2007. FCD has won the last two home meetings by shutout, including a 6-0 victory in 2009.
  • FC Dallas has come away with points on three of their last four trips to Kansas City, with two wins and a draw since 2007.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. DAL: P4 W2 L2 D0...Schellas Hyndman vs. KC: P7 W3 L2 D2

LAST MEETING

  • 6/12: DAL 1, KC 4 (Shea 32—Zusi 28, 55; Collin 49; Sassano 78)
  • Sporting took the lead after 28 minutes when Graham Zusi fired a low shot from just outside the left corner of the box that beat Kevin Hartman inside the far post. But Brek Shea pulled FCD level just four minutes later, setting off on a powerful dribbling run through four SKC defenders before slotting home from inside the area.
  • Yet Sporting exploded after the break. A long corner from Zusi was volleyed back into the mixer by C.J. Sapong, and Aurelien Collin swooped in to turn it home in the 49th minute. Zusi then made it 3-1 on a remarkable free kick from just short of the center circle, which dipped and dove as it sailed over Hartman's head.
  • SKC were reduced to 10 men when Milos Stojcev was shown a second yellow card, but it was the visitors who completed the scoring when Luke Sassano ran onto a high ball out of midfield and looped it over Hartman as he came rushing off his line.
  • FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd (Jackson Goncalves 46), George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez (Ruben Luna 74) - Eric Alexander (Milton Rodriguez 46), Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea - Marvin Chavez, Fabian Castillo.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-4-1-1): Eric Kronberg - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Graham Zusi (Teal Bunbury 92+), Davy Arnaud (Kei Kamara 68), Milos Stojcev (sent off 56), Birahim Diop (Julio Cesar 79) - Luke Sassano - C.J. Sapong.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY

Sporting Kansas City won for the second time in four days, defeating D.C. United 1-0 on Sunday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting have 36 points from 25 matches on the season, moving into second place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came after 19 minutes. Omar Bravoís cross was cleared out of the penalty area, but Kei Kamara tracked down the ball and unleashed an unstoppable blast on the half-volley from just outside the box that goalkeeper Joe Willis could only watch.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made one change to the team that rolled to a 3-1 victory against the Portland Timbers at Livestrong Sporting Park. Omar Bravo returned from suspension, in place of Milos Stojcev.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza - Kei Kamara, Omar Bravo (Michael Harrington 89), C.J. Sapong - Teal Bunbury (Birahim Diop 73)

TEAM NEWS

  • Kei Kamara scored for the fourth time in the last six games as Sporting moved into second place in the Eastern Conference.
  • "The most important thing today was the three points," Omar Bravo said. "We got that. We climbed up the table. Hopefully, we can stay up there."
  • When Sporting KC began their extended home stretch, they were in a tie for seventh place in the East with 17 points, just three points ahead of last place overall. Since, they've gone 4-1-4 in nine games (eight at Livestrong Sporting Park), with three more games before they again play on the road.
  • "With nine games left, (winning the Eastern Conference title) is absolutely something that we can shoot for, especially because six out of those nine are at home," Graham Zusi said. "It's not out of the question at all."
  • Sporting have scored 20 of their 36 goals this season in the first half, third-most in MLS, behind New York (22) and Colorado (21). But eight of their last 12 goals have come in the opening 45 minutes.
  • "I think probably the last three or four games we've played here at home I think our start has been very, very good," said SKC manager Peter Vermes. "[I'm] really pleased with the way we are putting teams under pressure offensively. We're putting teams back on their heels a little bit."
  • After going seven games without a shutout, Sporting have now kept a clean sheet in two of their last four games.
  • "At the end of the day the guys did a great job and got a clean sheet, and what I am happy about is that teams that win championships in this sport have to be able to get a clean sheet, you have to be able to win games 1-0," said Vermes. "And the guys locked the game up really well. The team has done a really good job of learning from their mistakes and they closed the game out really well."

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas saw their winless skid reach three games, falling to a 1-0 defeat by Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Pizza Hut Park. FCD has 43 points from 25 games on the season, now in third place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC gained the lead after just 16 minutes. A ball from Lamar Neagle from the left was deflected into the path of Fredy Montero by an FCD defender, and he led a streaking Mauro Rosales down the right flank, who in turn fired a low shot from 18 yards out to beat goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
  • FC Dallas then went down a man in the 56th minute when Daniel Cruz saw his second yellow card of the game after referee David Gantar whistled him for diving outside the Seattle penalty area.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made two changes to the team that came away with a 2-2 tie with Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Jackson came into the back line for the suspended George John, and Daniel Cruz started in place of Bruno Guarda.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Jackson (Fabian Castillo 73), Ugo Ihemelu, Zach Loyd (Jeremy Hall 24), Jair Benitez - Daniel Hernandez (Bruno Guarda 81), Daniel Cruz (sent off 56) - Marvin Chavez, Ricardo Villar, Brek Shea - Maicon Santos

TEAM NEWS

  • The three-game winless streak is the longest of the season for FC Dallas. They were shut out for the first time since July 16.
  • "Our players showed a lot of character to continue to play, continue to go forward and continue to put Seattle and Kasey Keller under pressure. The thing you always have to be concerned about is character and attitude," said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman. "Tonight we put everything we had on the line and came up a little bit short."
  • After coming off the substitutes' bench for his first two MLS appearances, Daniel Cruz made his first start for FC Dallas. But it lasted just 56 minutes after seeing two yellow cards.
  • "I feel very bad because it was the first time I played here for our supporters. We lost the game and it was a decisive moment in the game when I went out, when I got the red card," Cruz said. "To see how FC Dallas pushed Seattle with only 10 men was nice to see."
  • Hyndman had already been forced into one change early, when Zach Loyd suffered a hamstring injury, hitting a back line already affected by the loss of George John to suspension.
  • "When Zach went out it was really hard to find someone to go into center back," Hyndman said. "There's a lot of things that have been talked about George John and a whole bunch of stuff that is going on, but I think you saw our team missing him."
  • Jeremy Hall, acquired just the day before from Portland, made his FCD debut, coming in at right back as Jackson moved into central defense.
  • "Kind of quick turnaround for me," said Hall. "I got in here last night and wasn't really expecting to play, but I got called in, so I had to go in there and do the best I could....[Hyndman] told me to go play. He's seen me play before—that's why they brought me in. They know what I can do, so no excuses."
  • FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman became the all-time appearance leader in MLS history in the loss to Seattle, playing in his 379th regular season game and surpassing the total of current Houston Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston.
  • On Thursday, FC Dallas moved to the top spot in Group C of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-0 defeat of Toronto FC at BMO Field in a match that was abandoned the night before. The game's lone goal came from Jack Stewart in first-half stoppage time. Daniel Hernandez also missed a penalty for FCD. The game was abandoned at halftime on Wednesday due to heavy rain and lightning, with FC Dallas leading 1-0.
  • Here's the FCD team: Kevin Hartman; Daniel Hernandez, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Jackson (23: Fabian Castillo), Daniel Cruz (63: Bruno Guarda), Ricardo Villar (76: Bobby Warshaw), Jeremy Hall, Marvin Chavez, Brek Shea, Jack Stewart