Toronto FC (5-15-6) at Kansas City (14-7-5), 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC may be
at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference table, but both sides will be
trying to rebound from frustrating results last time out when they meet up at
Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday.
For Sporting, that result was a 1-1 draw against Red Bull New York in a match
that saw Sporting claim just one point despite not giving up a shot on goal.
TFC meanwhile, is trying to bounce back from a disheartening defeat against
Santos in the CONCACAF Champions League in midweek, a result that puts in
jeopardy the club's ability to advance to the knockout round of the
competition for the second successive year.
Sporting began the table-topping clash with New York by scoring in the first
four minutes through Kei Kamara.
However, he inadvertently scored on his own net in the 28th to level the
match, while New York was content to dig in defensively and play for the draw,
which left Sporting head coach Peter Vermes a bit frustrated.
"At some point, teams have to come and get after you," Vermes said in the
postgame news conference. "They can't just sit back. (New York) bunkered in
tonight. They're happy to be leaving here with a point."
The match was troubling enough for Vermes, but things got worse when it was
revealed that striker Teal Bunbury had suffered a torn ACL in the match.
The injury means that Bunbury's season has come to an end, although there was
some positive news as Vermes revealed that wingers Bobby Convey and Jacob
Peterson were both poised to return to training after both players missed the
past few games because of injuries.
Sporting will be hungry for three points in Saturday's match with the club
leading New York by one point with a game in hand at the top of the
Toronto has had plenty to be disappointed about this season with the club
sitting on the bottom of the East and riding a six-game winless streak in
The one positive TFC was hoping for this season was more success in the
CONCACAF Champions League, which they could have achieved with a home win
against Mexican side Santos on Tuesday.
The hosts were locked in a 1-1 draw as the match entered the 89th minute, but
Toronto allowed goals in the 90th and 92nd minutes to leave their hopes of
advancing to the knockout round in trouble.
Toronto's final two games in the three-team group stage come on the road,
leaving head coach Paul Mariner's team with plenty of work ahead of them.
Mariner was obviously frustrated after the match but he still found positives
to take from the game despite the meltdown at the end.
"There's nowhere near that was a 3-1 game," Mariner said. "I thought we were a
little tentative the first half. I thought the second half we were much
better. They're a very good team and we matched them for 89 minutes."