KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- It's win and you're in for Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, but their opponent will be looking for a win to bolster their Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs hopes as well.
Sporting can secure a berth in the playoffs if they beat or tie the LA Galaxy at Children's Mercy Park (8:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info), but the Galaxy come in having won their last two in commanding fashion and needing wins to get above the playoff line.
Sporting KC are well aware of the threat that the Galaxy present this weekend.
“This is a team that knows that they have a lot to do in the short term because they want to get in the playoffs as well,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com
The Galaxy are two points out of a playoff spot, within four points of the three teams ahead of them in the standings. A win on Saturday could potentially put them in the playoff spots with only three games remaining, a scenario most didn’t see coming prior to the last two victories.
However, Vermes isn’t surprised that the Galaxy are in the position they are, even after Sigi Schmid left the head coaching role in September and Dominic Kinnear moved up the bench to finish the season.
“I’ve always thought they had a very good roster,” said Vermes. “Sigi [Schmid] is a good coach, I think Dom [Kinnear] is a good coach too. That roster was due to start yielding results at any point.”
Sporting defender Seth Sinovic believes LA's improved organization has helped them get into the position they are in.
“They’ve got a little bit better idea of what they’re trying to do,” said Sinovic. “The thing that hasn’t changed is that they’ve got an unbelievable amount of talent on the field from top to bottom. We know how dangerous they are. They’ve been dangerous all year. They score tons of goals, and we’ve got to be ready for the challenge.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be leading that line again on Saturday, and it’s going to be a sold out crowd at Children’s Mercy Park to witness him. It’s safe to say Sporting are relishing the challenge of playing against him and the Galaxy front line.
“I think it’s going to be good for us to play against the players that they have at that level,” said Sporting KC midfielder Ilie Sanchez. “[Ibrahimovic] came here this year and it’s a good thing for the league. So, it’s going to be a good test for us playing against him and his team. Not just for this game but also for what else is to come.”