Toronto FC-Sporting Kansas City Preview
It’s hard to imagine where Sporting Kansas City would be without
Teal Bunbury’s superb play through the first six months of the
The club could have a hard time maintaining its Eastern
Conference lead down the stretch after losing its star forward.
In its first game since learning of Bunbury’s season-ending knee
injury, Sporting KC will look for others to step up Saturday night
when it hosts league-worst Toronto FC.
With 47 points, Sporting KC (14-7-5) sits three behind
league-leading San Jose and one in front of second-place New York
in the East. Kansas City stayed ahead of the Red Bulls after the
clubs played to a 1-all draw Sunday, but that result came at a
steep cost for coach Peter Vermes’ team.
Bunbury tore his left ACL and damaged his LCL while leaping to
make a pass to Kei Kamara for Sporting KC’s only goal Sunday.
Bunbury fell to the ground holding his knee but went on to play
several more minutes before coming out. His injury was initially
thought to be a sprain.
“All the support has really been keeping my spirits up. It’s
nothing I can get down about,” Bunbury told Sporting KC’s official
website. “It’s not going to help my knee heal faster. So I’m
already over that. I’m just looking forward to next season and
watching these guys win the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup this
Sporting KC, 3-0-1 over its last four league games, may have a
hard time replacing Bunbury. The former fourth overall draft pick
has five goals in MLS play – tied for second on the team behind
Kamara’s 10 – and his 50 shots rank third on the club.
“It’s a tough break,” Vermes said. “He put a lot of time and
energy into getting into the form that he was in. But that’s part
of the business that we’re in. You work so hard to get to a certain
point, and then something happens to where you’re out for a good
period of time. He’s had a huge impact on the team that we’ve grown
into, and I have a lot of confidence in our medical staff that he’s
going to come back better and stronger than he was before.”
Sporting KC went 6-1-0 over its first seven MLS home games but
has since been outscored 5-4 during a 1-2-3 stretch on its own
field. What appears to be a favorable matchup versus Toronto FC
(5-15-6), though, could give the home fans plenty to cheer for.
Kansas City prevailed 1-0 at Toronto on Aug. 18, improving to
4-0-2 over the last six in the series. Sporting KC has outscored
Toronto 8-2 while recording five clean sheets during that run.
Toronto FC, 0-4-2 in its last six games overall, is coming off
Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions
In its most recent league match, Toronto FC played to a 1-all
draw at Houston last Saturday. Terry Dunfield headed in the
game-tying goal in the 85th minute on a terrific pass from Darren
“I thought we played very well,” O’Dea told Toronto FC’s
official website. “I think we could have won in the end, but we
definitely improved our performance and now hopefully the results
will come and if we keep playing hard we will win more than we