Preview: SKC, Dallas clash with unbeaten records on line
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs FC DALLAS
LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
March 25, 2012 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #26)
7 p.m. ET (Galavision; KSMO; FS-SW)
Sporting Kansas City are aiming to keep their perfect record for the season intact when they play host to FC Dallas at Livestrong Sporting Park on Sunday evening. Sporting made it two wins from two starts last weekend in their home debut, a 3-0 victory against the New England Revolution. FC Dallas are on the road for the first time after following up a First Kick win with a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers last weekend.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Yader Reyes
MLS Career: 112 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 19; pens: 25
INJURY REPORT: SPORTING KANSAS CITY — OUT: GK Eric Kronberg (lower back injury); PROBABLE: MF Paulo Nagamura (L calf strain); MF Graham Zusi (R knee strain); FW Bobby Convey (L abdominal strain); DF Aurelien Collin (R hamstring strain) … FC DALLAS — OUT: MF Fabian Castillo (L knee); FW Scott Sealy (R knee); DOUBTFUL: MF David Ferreira (R ankle)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Teal Bunbury (USA U-23) … DAL: Brek Shea (USA U-23); Carlos Rodriguez (Panama U-23)
ALL-TIME (46 meetings): Sporting 19 wins (2 shootout), 66 goals … FC Dallas 19 wins (1 shootout), 76 goals … Ties 8
AT KC (23 meetings): Sporting 10 wins (0 shootout), 41 goals … FC Dallas 8 wins (1 shootout), 32 goals … Ties 5
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/12: DAL 1, KC 4 (Shea 32 - Zusi 28, 55; Collin 49; Sassano 78)
8/27: KC 2, DAL 3 (Kamara 22; Bravo 68 - D. Hernandez 70; Maicon Santos 89; Warshaw 90)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- After 16 seasons, the all-time series between the teams is deadlocked, each club with 19 victories.
- The road team has won each of the last three meetings in the series, including a 3-2 FC Dallas victory last Aug. 27 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
- Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. DAL: P5 W2 L3 D0 … Schellas Hyndman vs. KC: P8 W4 L2 D2
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City made their 2012 home debut and won for the second time in as many starts, a comprehensive 3-0 victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting are tied with the Houston Dynamo with 6 points from 2 matches, leading the Eastern Conference.
- The tenor of the match changed after just 14 minutes, when Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy was shown a straight red card for a foul on C.J. Sapong.
- Graham Zusi was the first to take advantage of the man advantage, cleaning up in front of goal in the 28th minute. Kei Kamara sent in a ball from the right, and Zusi slid to shoot. New England goalkeeper Matt Reis did well to block, but the rebound fell to Zusi, who fired home while still on the ground.
GOAL: Kamara scores, then does the Riverdance
- The second goal came on another putback, this time by Kamara. Left winger Bobby Convey drove into the area and crossed to Kamara in the 39th minute. Reis blocked his first low shot, but Kamara pounced on the rebound and drove it home.
- Sapong, starting at center forward with Teal Bunbury on U.S. U-23 national team duty, put the game away less than two minutes into the second half when he scored from point-blank range after left back Seth Sinovic pulled back a low pass from the byeline.
- Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made one change to the team that opened the season with a 1-0 win against D.C. United at RFK Stadium. C.J. Sapong replaced Teal Bunbury, away on international duty.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin (Lawrence Olum 59), Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Roger Espinoza, Julio Cesar (Luke Sassano 76)- Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi (Paulo Nagamura 57), Bobby Convey - C.J. Sapong.
- Sporting are one of three teams - along with Houston and Vancouver - yet to concede a goal on the young season.
- “It’s such a long season,” center back Matt Besler said. “There’s going to be ups and downs. But we’ve been saying all along, through the preseason, that we really feel ahead of where we’ve ever been, and we’re two-for-two in showing that. That’s the most important part, getting the shutouts. If you don’t give up a goal, you can’t lose and I don’t mind not losing.”
- It’s the second time in three seasons SKC has started with back-to-back shutout victories.
- “When you’re winning and you’re keeping the ball, you have a lot more energy than when you’re defending all the time,” said right back Chance Myers. “I think everybody was having fun out there tonight, but our mentality was right too. We were ready to come out here and perform tonight.”
- Left back Seth Sinovic recorded the first point of his MLS career, against his former club, when he set up C.J. Sapong for the third goal.
- “Bobby (Convey) is able to bring Seth into the game, take a little pressure off of him by actually attracting some guys and then releasing the ball,” Vermes said. “Bobby’s got a great final pass to people. For sure that’s going to be a help to Seth.”
- Sporting were forced into a change just before the hour mark when center back Aurelien Collin suffered a tight hamstring.
- “He’s going through therapy,” Vermes said. “I don’t think we’ll know anything until probably Wednesday. I think what happened was, he just kind of cramped up in his hammy and didn’t want to go again. If it’s cramped up and you go on, then there’s a chance of getting a tear or something. It’s still sore, which you kind of expect.”
- Midfielder Paulo Nagamura, who missed the season opener with a calf strain, was able to make his SKC debut as a second-half substitute. “It feels great,” said Nagamura. “After a few months on the sidelines with injuries, it felt great to play.”
- The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year, C.J. Sapong has started off his sophomore campaign with goals in each of SKC’s opening two games. Sapong scored five goals in his rookie season.
- “I’ve been fortunate to get a lot of opportunities and find myself in the right position, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Sapong said. “I’m pretty confident that I can continue the streak.”
FC Dallas completed their two-game homestand to start the 2012 season with a draw, a 1-1 result with the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at FC Dallas Stadium. FCD is tied for fourth place in the Western Conference with 4 points from 2 matches.
- FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Carlos Rodriguez found FCD Academy product Bryan Levya on the right side of the Timbers area. Leyva fired a hard shot that was brushed away by Timbers 'keeper Troy Perkins, only to bounce to a wide-open Blas Perez waiting to put in the rebound.
- Portland answered six minutes after the break. Darlington Nagbe, who came in for Jorge Perlaza to start the second half, collected a Daniel Hernandez turnover outside the penalty area and quickly slid it past FCD 'keeper Kevin Hartman for his first goal of the season.
Highlights: Dallas 1, Portland 1
- FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made two changes to the team that opened the season with a 2-1 win against the New York Red Bulls at FC Dallas Stadium. Bryan Leyva and Carlos Rodriguez came into the wide midfield spots in place of Fabian Castillo and Brek Shea.
FC DALLAS (4-1-4-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, Hernan Pertuz, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez - Daniel Hernandez - Bryan Leyva (George John 46), Ricardo Villar, Andrew Jacobson, Carlos Rodriguez - Blas Perez.
- FC Dallas were able to come away with a point despite missing Castillo after his injury forced him off early in the season opener, and with Shea away on international duty.
- “It was a good result for us considering we were without three of our most important attacking phase players: Fabian Castillo, Brek Shea and David Ferreira,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman. “I was really pleased with the effort the boys put in. I was very happy we fought all the way to the last second.”
- After setting up both FC Dallas goals in his first MLS game, Panamanian international Blas Perez scored his first league goal in FCD’s 1-1 tie Saturday with the Portland Timbers.
- “I feel good [about how I’ve played so far],” Perez said. “I know there are going to be difficult moments in every game, but you have to be mentally and physically prepared. You have to be mature in the sense that when difficult times come, you have to overcome them.
- It took nearly three years, but FCD Home Grown Player Bryan Leyva finally made his first MLS start Saturday vs. Portland. Since signing with the club Sept. 20, 2009, Leyva had made one league appearance ñ a 13-minute shift on May 20, 2010 vs. LA.
- “He took the shot that lead to the goal and I thought he really did a lot for himself today. Not only for himself personally with confidence, but for his teammates and coaching staff,” said Hyndman. “I think we all felt that he did a really good job.”
- Leyva played just 45 minutes, as Hyndman took him off at halftime in favor of center back George John. Hernan Pertuz moved to left back, Jair Benitez moved forward into the midfield and Carlos Rodriguez switched flanks.
- “It was just too difficult to deal with Portland’s size and physical play in the box," Hyndman said. "I think the strength on Portland’s team is their flank play, getting crosses off, and they got a lot of guys in there that can deal with the crosses."
- FCD will be without another starter for the next couple of weeks, after Carlos Rodriguez was called into Panama’s U-23 national team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
- “I just think we are very thin right now. I didn’t want to put a player late in the game and have him try and get into the rhythm of the game. That is why we only used one substitution,” Hyndman said.