|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 (All times Eastern)
Kansas City (13-7-4) at Toronto FC (5-13-5), 4:30 p.m.
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City has certainly felt at home on the road this season, compiling the best road mark in MLS.
With six wins and two draws from its 12 away contests, Sporting will have no problem taking its two-game winning streak to BMO Field to face Toronto FC as the club attempts to extend its lead atop the Eastern Conference.
Toronto enters the contest on the bottom of the conference and having earned just one point from its last three games.
The two teams may be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but lately BMO Field has been a tough place for Sporting to play as the club is 0-2-3 in its last five trips to Toronto without having scored a goal.
One player who figures to give problems to the Kansas City defense is new Toronto striker Eric Hassli, who was acquired in a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on July 20 and who enjoyed a strong home debut for TFC on Wednesday.
The Frenchman tallied one goal and assisted on another in 80 minutes of play in his team's 2-2 draw with Portland, and showed a high level of comfort from the beginning.
"I feel so great on this team because we have great young players and Torsten [Frings] is the best teacher, so it's a pleasure to me," Hassli said. "The coach gave me a lot of confidence. I need my freedom, he gives me a lot of freedom but I also have to do my job for the team first."
If Hassli continues to do his job, Toronto should be able to make a push up the Eastern Conference, although a playoff spot will still likely remain out of reach.
Sporting holds a two-point lead on second-place Red Bull New York at the top of the table, and the club was able to welcome back defender Aurelien Collin from injury after he spent the past few weeks on the sidelines with a facial fracture sustained in the All-Star game.
Collin is a big reason why Sporting boasts the top defense in MLS, and after taking a little while to get back into form in his return against D.C. United last weekend, Collin picked up where he left off.
"He was a little out of rhythm to start out with, but then he started to get into it more," manager Peter Vermes said after the match against United. "One area where he was really good was set pieces. Very good for us. We've missed that. He's very good on attacking set pieces, and it's a lot for guys to handle. I thought in the end, he and (Matt) Besler were very good in the back."
08/17 16:27:40 ET
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