Montreal (0-3-3) at Kansas City (2-1-2), 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Sporting Kansas City returns to action for the first time in two weeks as the club gets set to take on the Montreal Impact at Sporting Park on Saturday.
Sporting's last outing was a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake two weeks ago in a rematch of last season's MLS Cup final, while Montreal is still searching for its first win of the 2014 campaign after playing to its third successive draw last weekend, a 1-1 stalemate with Chicago.
Montreal lost its first three games to begin the season, but has rebounded to take three points from its last three matches.
And although the team sits on the bottom of the Eastern Conference and has yet to record a win this season, goalkeeper Troy Perkins is encouraged by the last three results.
"Everybody seems to see the negative, but the reality is we've gotten points in our last three games," Perkins said. "We're unbeaten, it's still early in the season and we're getting points, so we keep moving forward."
In the Impact's last game, the club got a goal from Jack McInerney in the 43rd minute to take the lead on the Fire with McInerney scoring in his debut following a trade that sent Andrew Wenger to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for the 21-year-old.
But McInerney's debut was spoiled by a second-half goal from Chicago's Quincy Amarikwa, forcing Montreal to settle for a point.
The Impact won't be expected to pick up their first win on Saturday, but Perkins feels that the atmosphere in Kansas City will force his team to raise its level on play and that Saturday's contest will be a great test.
"You go to places like that and it demands that you step up your game," said Perkins of Montreal's trip to Kansas City. "As professional athletes, you want to prove yourself against the best. You have to play at a higher level. You want to be tested. It's a high energy environment and I love playing those types of games."
Sporting will be pleased to have some extra rest ahead of the match, but it won't do any good for defender Ike Opara, who is likely to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Opara made a career-high 18 appearances last season after joining Sporting from San Jose in midseason, but now head coach Peter Vermes will have to replace the 25-year-old along the back line.
One player who Vermes can rely upon is goalkeeper Erik Kronberg, who is making the most of his first season as the starting netminder after spending eight years as the number two, first to Kevin Hartman and then Jimmy Nielsen.
"It always is tough for players like that to be able to follow in somebody else's footsteps," Vermes said of Kronberg's emergence this season. "But I truly believe that he's starting to forge his own path, and I think people are starting to see that he has qualities that are important to our team as well. He's going to continue to grow as a keeper, and that's what we need him to do."
The 0-0 draw with RSL marked Kronberg's second clean sheet of the season in the five games he has started, while Montreal will hope to replicate the success it had against Sporting last term when the Impact won two of the three meetings between the sides.