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Sporting, RBNY aim to return to winning ways
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Both Red Bull New York and Sporting Kansas City will be eager to get back to winning ways on Tuesday when the two sides square off at Sporting Park.
New York has lost its last three games to slip to sixth in the Eastern Conference, while Sporting has managed to claim just one point from its three most recent outings.
Head coach Mike Petke saw his RBNY side lose a 5-4 thriller to Chicago before dropping a 2-0 contest at Toronto.
He was hopeful his side would snap that losing skid at home against a struggling Portland team on Saturday, but instead the losing continued as a pair of goals from Maximiliano Urruti canceled out the opener from Bradley Wright-Phillips for the Red Bulls.
Petke doesn't think his team is playing poorly, but rather he believes the problem could be mental.
"I think we have confident players, but perhaps it is a mental thing," Petke said of his team's recent struggles. "Perhaps it is a little bit a lack of confidence. I don't have that answer. I could try and find that answer as a coach, but I'm not in their head."
The continued success of Wright-Phillips will certainly help New York snap out of its funk as his goal on Saturday put him into a tie atop the MLS scoring chart with 10 goals.
Sporting has had trouble of its own in recent weeks with the club losing a pair of one-goal games to Philadelphia and Chicago before yielding a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC last Friday.
Dom Dwyer continued his strong play with a pair of goals to put Sporting up, 2-1, with six minutes to play.
But a revamped defense was unable to hold the advantage and TFC scored in stoppage time through Bradley Orr to deny Sporting three points.
With top defender Matt Besler away on international duty, head coach Peter Vermes already had to shuffle his defense.
And that situation got worse when Chance Myers suffered a ruptured Achilles early in the second half of Friday's match that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
The injury will really test Sporting's depth in the back, but defender Kevin Ellis still managed to take some positives from Friday's result despite giving away the lead so late.
"This was a good test of our character," Ellis said after the match. "Every game is a battle, and tonight we really had to rise to the occasion. I feel like we did, but again, those two mistakes hurt us. They can easily be fixed and they won't happen next game."
With Besler and Myers out, Ellis will be one of the players who will be charged with slowing Wright-Phillips and the rest of the New York attack, while Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg figures to be busy once again as he has conceded two goals in each of the past three games, which happened just once in Sporting's first nine matches this season.
05/26 15:43:35 ET