Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes knew his club’s 10-game road stretch to open the season was going to be tough. Kansas City, though, could return home with some momentum with a solid performance against Toronto FC on Saturday night.
Article continues below ...
Awaiting the opening of Livestrong Sporting Park on Thursday against Chicago, MLS-worst Sporting Kansas City (1-6-2) has gone winless since a 3-2 season-opening victory over Chivas USA on March 19.
However, the road-weary club enters this match with confidence after Ryan Smith’s first goal of the season – a 75th-minute strike – helped it snap a five-game losing streak with a 1-all draw against defending MLS Cup champion Colorado last Saturday.
"If I look at it now, it’s a monumental step forward for us, and it’s a huge point on the road," Vermes said. "It helps us going into our final game in this 10-game road stretch into Toronto, and we just have to stay focused on what we’re doing, and just continue to get better, and eliminate some of the mistakes we’ve made."
Before playing 17 of its final 24 games at home, Kansas City will go for its first victory at Toronto since a 1-0 win April 28, 2007, in the first-ever game at BMO Field.
Toronto FC (2-5-6), 2-0-2 at home in this matchup since that defeat, is coming off a 6-2 home loss to Philadelphia last Saturday that coach Aron Winter called "… a bad, bad performance by us."
It was the most goals allowed in franchise history, and two shy of the league record.
"If you’re not motivated by that, if you don’t want to prove that you’re much better than that, there’s something wrong with you," defender Ty Harden said.
Winter’s squad, which plays eight of 11 on the road following Saturday’s match, may lean heavily on captain Maicon Santos as it tries to generate offense against a Kansas City club that’s limited three of its last four opponents to one goal.
Santos posted his first multigoal game Saturday to match a career high with five.
Kansas City would like to get more production from forward Teal Bunbury, who is tied with Kei Kamara with a team-best three goals, but has not found the back of the net in his last six games. The Ontario-born Bunbury scored the lone goal in the teams’ last meeting, a 1-0 Kansas City home win July 31.
The clubs played to a scoreless draw at Toronto last June 5.