The hard part is over. Now comes the harder part.
Sporting Kansas City have little time to savor Wednesday night's 1-0 victory at the New York Red Bulls, their five-match shutout streak, their three-match winning streak and their move to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
On Thursday, it was time to hop on a plane, fly across the country and start preparing for Saturday's match against the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy (10:30 pm ET, NBCSN/LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Still, midfielder Benny Feilhaber said, Wednesday's result should give Sporting a shot of energy going into the second leg of their transcontinental trip.
“It was really our design to come in here and get the three points, because we know how hard it's going to be to go across the country and have the legs to play another tough 90 minutes against one of the top teams in the West,” Feilhaber told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the win over New York. “We were able to get what we wanted here, and now that makes it that we can go into LA and play our game and try to pick up more points. It definitely gives us a boost.”
Wednesday's match was a hard-fought, physical affair, though, and manager Peter Vermes wasn't immediately sure whether he would be able to go with the same lineup on Saturday against the Galaxy.
“Tomorrow's flight will be about dealing with little nicks here and there and seeing who's recovered well,” he said after the Red Bulls match. “I just want to be really smart about that. The only difference – and the good thing – is that this past week, we didn't have to play on the weekend. But with as much energy as we spent today, that's going to have to be evaluated along with the travel.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.