SKC aims for return to prominence vs. Montreal
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact will attempt to overturn their respective two-game losing streaks on Wednesday when the two sides meet at the Stade Saputo.
Kansas City enters the match carrying a three-game winless run. After a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on June 20, Sporting was thrashed in a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park before falling to the Chicago Fire, 1-0, at home last Friday.
With one point from its last three contests, Sporting has struggled to impose its muscle on Eastern Conference foes. The club has fallen to third place in the East where it sits four points off the pace set by first-place D.C. United.
Sporting thought it would be buoyed by the return of Bobby Convey. The left winger returned to training after missing five games due to a series of calf strains, but head coach Peter Vermes ruled him out of Wednesday's clash and cited Saturday's meeting with the Houston Dynamo as the more likely date of return.
"We've just got to get his fitness up a little bit," Vermes said. "That's the biggest thing."
Vermes does expect midfielder Paulo Nagamura to return to the fold after he missed time because of a right abductor strain in his groin.
"His fitness is there," Vermes said. "It's getting there now. I wouldn't say it's 90 minutes, but maybe around 60. Hopefully, he's going to get some serious minutes coming up now. He's got to get back in a routine, especially after being injured for the last month."
Montreal will need to improve upon its last outing, a 3-0 loss to D.C. United. Defender Zarek Valentin realizes that his side will have to outwork the opposition in order to get the win.
"It's going to be a hard fought game," said Valentin. "We have to come out guns blazing and outwork them. As a team, we all have to be ready to outwork K.C. as they always bring it. They are a very good team, so we need to battle out butts off."
Sporting will be playing for more than just three points at the Stade Saputo as the club will be looking to avenge a 2-0 loss suffered at the hands of the Impact on May 5.
"They are strong and physical team," said Patrice Bernier. "They have really good offensive players and rely on crosses for their big, strong forwards. We have to have the same mentality we did when we went to K.C. and shut them out if we are to be successful."
07/03 16:35:57 ET