Sporting Kansas City-United Preview

Sporting Kansas City opened its two-game road stretch with an

unprecedented feat. It will try to finish it off Sunday with

another.

Sporting KC will seek to record its longest win streak against

struggling D.C. United, losers of a franchise-worst seven in a

row.

Sporting Kansas City (6-4-2) became the first team to win at

Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium last Sunday with Aurelien Collin

scoring in a 1-0 victory. The win snapped the Dynamo’s record

36-game home unbeaten streak.

“I think as a team we battled for everything tonight,” coach

Peter Vermes said. “I thought we had a great mentality. I thought

the game plan, the guys followed it from front to back. They didn’t

detour from it. We were very detail-oriented on the field.”

Vermes’ club beat D.C. 1-0 on April 5 with Claudio Bieler

scoring in the 89th minute. That marked loss No. 2 for United

(1-8-1) on their current skid. They’ve been outscored 17-4 during

their slide.

They had a chance for a point last Saturday at FC Dallas but

gave up the go-ahead goal in the 77th minute in a 2-1 defeat.

“I’m proud of those guys,'” coach Ben Olsen said. “There are

some positives, but it’s still the same old things haunting us, the

plays that we’re doing to ourselves.”

Sporting Kansas City will try to take advantage of D.C.’s woes

while recording a sixth consecutive victory in the series. Kansas

City won the first five meetings from June 20, 1996-July 19, 1997,

and has outscored United 6-1 during its current five-game win

streak.

Sporting KC has won 1-0 in each of its last two visits to D.C.

with Jimmy Nielsen in net for both games. Matt Besler, the reigning

MLS defender of the year, scored in the 2011 matchup in the

nation’s capital and could return Sunday after missing three games

because of a knee injury.

The club, though, won’t have Collin or midfielder Oriol Rosell

available after both accumulated too many yellow cards. Sporting KC

also traded forward Bobby Convey to Toronto FC on Thursday for a

third-round draft pick.

“We’ve shown this year how good our depth is,” midfielder Graham

Zusi said. “There’s been guys filling in at a number of positions

and have really done extremely well. I don’t expect anything less

this weekend. … I don’t think it will change our dynamic.”

D.C. forwards Carlos Ruiz (ankle) and Chris Pontius (groin) are

questionable as is midfielder John Thorrington (knee).

United’s Dwayne De Rosario will seek to move into sole

possession of sixth place on the league’s all-time goal scoring

list. He tallied his 101st career goal and first this season last

week.