|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Saturday, June 23, 2012 (All times Eastern)
Kansas City (9-3-2) at Philadelphia (2-8-2), 7 p.m.
Chester, PA (Sports Network) - The Eastern Conference's second place team will square off with the team that is second from bottom as Sporting Kansas City heads to PPL Park to face the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
The Union are coming off of a 1-0 loss to D.C. United last weekend, marking the debut of interim head coach John Hackworth in less-than-favorable fashion.
Hackworth took control of the first-team responsibilities after the firing of Peter Nowak, and the new coach seems dead set on establishing more consistency in the starting XI.
"The one thing I want to do - and the players certainly want it - is create some continuity," Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com. "The plan is not to make big wholesale changes. We had a good performance [last Saturday vs. D.C. United] and if it isn't broken, don't fix it."
Hackworth inserted a few new faces into the lineup last time out, handing out starts to Jack McInerney, Josue Martinez and Amobi Okugo. Lionard Pajoy is likely to return to the pitch after serving a one-game suspension, and he will come back into the fold for an open contest against Sporting with both sides favoring a 4-3-3 formation.
"I think it will be a great matchup between two teams that are definitely attacking teams right now," Hackworth said of Saturday's contest. "I hope we'll continue the way we attacked from last Saturday and do that here again."
Sporting is coming off of short rest after playing to a 1-1 draw at Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday.
In the midst a heavy fixture list, head coach Peter Vermes deployed a second- choice squad to give his regulars more rest. Nevertheless, Sporting was able to pick up a positive result in a tough road environment, improving to 29 points on the season.
"I thought the effort from those guys was outstanding," Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the hard-fought tie. "At the end of the day, it was a great team effort to pull out of here with a point."
Vermes looks prepared to rely on the role players for another outing, hinting that they may find more playing at PPL Park.
"We've got to keep reaching down deep into the roster," he said. "That's how we've got to do it. We've got to do right by our players. They're working hard, they're recovering, and we'll keep assessing game by game."
06/22 14:36:12 ET
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