MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
08/22/2014 2:13 PM
08/22/2014 2:17 PM
D.C. United (12-7-4) at Kansas City (12-6-6), 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Eastern Conference rivals will square off at Sporting Park on short rest Saturday as Sporting Kansas City will play host to D.C. United.
Both clubs were involved in CONCACAF Champions League contests in the middle of the week as Sporting played to a 1-1 draw at Real Esteli on Tuesday before United claimed a 1-0 home win over Waterhouse FC on Wednesday.
Recent results in league play, meanwhile, have been quite similar for the two sides.
Sporting comes into the contest having taken 16 points from its last seven games while D.C. has managed to collect 15 points over the same stretch.
The nearly identical runs of form has helped keep the clubs in the top-two positions in the Eastern Conference table as Sporting stays in first place with 42 points, two points better than United.
Both clubs enter Saturday's clash on the back of league wins as United demolished the Colorado Rapids in a 4-2 victory on Sunday.
"It was huge," DCU assistant coach Chad Ashton told the club's official website. "You're going into this difficult stretch, and you don't want to start it with a third loss in a row. We've preached all year that, 'Hey, we're going to have a loss here and there, but let's keep the streaks to a minimum.' We've done a good job of keeping those small."
Ashton specifically highlighted the partnership between attackers Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva, two of the standouts in United�s offensive onslaught against Colorado.
"I thought the partnership was great," Ashton continued. "They have a good understanding of each other. They know where the other one is at all times. They know what each other's strengths are, and they play to those strengths. They were both very dangerous the entire night, and obviously it shows up in the box score."
Sporting, meanwhile, is coming off of a 4-1 thrashing of Toronto FC in its last league contest.
The win helped maintain Kansas City's stout home record in league play this term, which has seen the club drop just one match at Sporting Park all season.
"It's always great to play at home," SKC head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "Who wouldn't want to play in front of a group of fans like this, in a stadium like this, on a field the way it is right now? The other side of it is you have to look at how well we have done on the road as a team. It's been one of the best in the league at the moment, and there's a reason for that. It goes back to having a core group of guys that have a very good mentality."
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