MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
07/15/2014 4:10 PM
07/15/2014 4:19 PM
Kansas City (8-5-5) at Columbus (4-6-8), 7:30 p.m.
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Crew will attempt to get back on track in their quest for a playoff berth when the club plays host to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
Columbus is winless in its last six regular season matches, dropping the club to sixth place in the Eastern Conference where it sits three points back of a playoff spot.
The Crew have been left to lick its wounds following a 4-1 defeat at Red Bull New York last time out.
"I can safely say it's our worst performance of the year, and it's disappointing," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "We had the intention to play a good game and really come here and make it difficult, and we did just the opposite. We made it very, very easy for (New York). Not to take anything away from them, but the manner in which we conceded goals was amateurish."
That leaves the Crew with no place to go but up. However, things will not get easier against a Sporting side that has taken 10 points from its last four league games.
Kansas City's road form has been stellar of late as the club has won its last three league contests away from Sporting Park. The club record is five consecutive road wins, set in 1997.
"Our objective is that we think we have the responsibility to go on the road and play. We don't buy into the whole 'sit back, bunker in and see if you can get one on the counter,'" said Sporting head coach Peter Vermes. "I think it's important for the fans. I think they got to see some entertainment, but at the same time you still have to be able to get results."
Dom Dwyer's sensational season continued in Sporting's last match, a 2-1 win at the Montreal Impact that saw the Englishman open the scoring in the fourth minute and record the winning goal in the 89th minute.
Dwyer has amassed 14 league goals this season, putting him second in the race for the MLS Golden Boot behind New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips.
"He is a handful," Vermes said of Dwyer. "He's got a work ethic that is incredible and at the same time an incredible hunger to score goals. He really doesn't stop until you take him off the field. His hunger and his courage are two things that win the day for him."
Sporting has also welcomed Graham Zusi and Matt Besler back to the fold following their impressive exploits at the World Cup with the United States national team.
Besler made his first appearance back with Sporting against Montreal and recorded his first assist of the MLS season, providing the throw-in that handed Dwyer the opener. Throw-ins could now become a vital addition to Kansas City's repertoire.
"That's a thing I know teams in this league don't like," Vermes said, "but it's something that's a part of our game. When you have numbers in the box like we do, and you have guys moving off the ball, it's like a corner kick."
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