KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Don’t expect Sporting Kansas City to produce much, if any, bulletin board material ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ visit to Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday night (8:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live).
No, Sporting aren’t thinking about exacting revenge for the victory Whitecaps snatched from their grasp back in early April. They aren’t taking the Whitecaps status as Western Conference doormats as an invitation, either.
Kansas City (3-6-4) are simply too busy focusing on extending the six-game unbeaten streak they’ve cultivated over the past month to worry too much about what went down in Vancouver.
“We obviously know what happened,” captain Davy Arnaud said of the late, epic three-goal comeback the 'Caps hung on SKC. “But honestly, once that game was over, we just tried to learn from it. You’ve got to move on from those games. If we had gone there and gotten the win and three points, we’d still want to get the three points just the same.”
Should Sporting manage to get those three points and stay undefeated at LSP, they will extend their current winning streak to three games and their unbeaten streak in all competitions to eight games just a month after suffering through a debilitating, five-game losing streak.
And although Vancouver’s road record (no wins) and position in the table would suggest they might be prime candidates to serve as sacrificial lambs and extend the streak, their recent form says otherwise.
Tom Soehn’s men have lost just once in their last five. And even though they have just one victory during that stretch, it came in their most recent match against a Philadelphia team that bossed Kansas City for the most part in a scoreless draw on Wednesday night.
The Whitecaps' most glaring fault may be their tendency to give up goals – their 22 allowed is worse than only Toronto – and that’s something Sporting will hope to exploit after struggling to put together any consistent offensive output over the last month.
Manager Peter Vermes’ team may have dropped five and four goals on New England and FC Dallas, respectively, but Kansas City have only scored two other goals during their unbeaten run. Vermes said he has faith that the attack will come around as his players continue to settle into their roles.
“I don’t think it’s one thing,” Vermes said. “Obviously, we want to play, create chances and score goals. Hopefully, that will be case with [Vancouver]. I think that’s really what it’s all about. It’s not one specific thing.”
Goal droughts aside, there’s little chance Kansas City and Vancouver will replicate the six-goal thriller they played to at Empire Field.
Vermes has instituted a more controlled style of play since then, and the results have followed. Now the only question is whether or not Sporting can take advantage of their recent form to extend their streak against the Whitecaps without getting away from who they’ve become.
“We know what’s made us successful the last six games, and that’s really buckling down defensively,” Arnaud said. “We want to take our chances and score goals, but more importantly, we have to stick to what has gotten us results and the foundation of who we are.”