Sporting KC visits FC Dallas in matchup of unbeatens

Defender Seth Sinovic and Sporting KC played midfielder Paxton Pomykal and FC Dallas to a scoreless draw March 11 in Kansas City.
Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

It’s too early in the season to call it anything but a match of unbeatens, but Saturday’s match between FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, looks like it could be a classic.

It’s these teams’ second matchup of the young season, having played to a scoreless draw in Kansas City on March 11. Sporting Kansas City owned 69 percent possession and outshot FC Dallas 14-6 but was unable to penetrate the Dallas defense.

Both teams have focused on defense early this season. Sporting KC (3-0-3, 12 points) has recorded an MLS-best four shutouts and allowed a league-low two goals. Neither goal occurred in regulation time.

FC Dallas (3-0-2, 11 points) has remained tough to beat in MLS competition. The club is 5-0-5 in its last 10 regular-season matches dating to last season, earning five clean sheets during the stretch. Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman form one of the best center back partnerships in MLS. Since the beginning of last season, FC Dallas has allowed just 0.9 goals per game when the two start together.

“I think anytime you go on the road, no matter who you are playing in this league, it’s always a difficult challenge,” said Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes. “I think Dallas last year was the best team in the league. They won the Supporters’ Shield and the US Open Cup. Those are really big deals.

“We have a lot of respect for them. We know they’ll present us with some real difficulties in the game. It’s a good challenge for us.”

The all-time series between the two clubs is as even as this contest appears. Sporting KC owns a narrow 23-21-12 advantage in the series but is winless in its last four visits to Toyota Stadium.

“We always want to be fighting for the first spot,” FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said. “Facing (Sporting KC) not long ago will be beneficial as we take information and lessons from that game and apply it to this match.”

Both clubs have just one name on their respective injury reports, and both of those are long-term injuries. Sporting KC forward Diego Rubio remains sidelined as he continues to undergo rehabilitation on his ACL, while FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz is recovering from a ruptured Achilles.