Sporting KC looks to continue dominating defensively against Fire
Sporting Kansas City hosts the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., in their first match A.D. (After Dom).
The club traded forward Dom Dwyer to Orlando City SC in exchange for $400,000 in general allocation money, $500,000 in targeted allocation money as well as up to $700,000 in future allocation money based on Dwyer's performance.
Dwyer scored 67 goals in all competitions during his six-year stint with Sporting KC, second-most in team history. The 26-year-old joined the club as the 16th pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of South Florida and appeared in 157 competitive matches. His 55 MLS goals since the start of the 2014 season lead Sporting KC by a large margin over Benny Feilhaber (24).
"Dom has been a great player on the field and a tremendous ambassador off of it for this organization," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. "We thank him for that and wish him nothing but the best.
"It is important to understand that when an organization is successful, individuals are going to be highly sought after by other clubs. Understandably, the salary cap world of sports does not enable you to keep everyone on your roster forever. So as the ever-changing and fluid roster continues to evolve, moves like this can occur."
The allocation money will help Sporting KC in the future, but Dwyer's departure leaves a big hole in the present. Sporting KC faces off with Chicago, against which it is 14-26-11 all-time in the regular season. Sporting KC is unbeaten in its last five home matches against the Fire.
Sporting KC (8-4-9, 33 points) slipped to second place in the Western Conference last weekend with a 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. It is 6-0-4 at home this season, and its club-record regular-season home unbeaten streak is now at 19 matches.
Sporting KC continues to dominate on defense, leading MLS with just 15 goals allowed in 21 matches. It is the only club in MLS with a goals-against average (0.71) under 1.0.
Chicago (11-4-5, 38 points) sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, coming off its first league loss in almost three months, a 2-1 decision at New York City FC last Saturday. The Fire are 9-0-1 at home, but just 2-4-4 on the road.
Chicago's strength is on the offensive end, as the Fire are third in MLS in goals scored with 38.
"They're strong defensively, but we have a lot of attacking pieces," Chicago midfielder Matt Polster said. "We have a lot of guys who can score. We have a lot of pieces they have to worry about. I think we're ready to show what we're about."
Two of those pieces are Nemanja Nikolic and David Accam. Nikolic is the league leader in goals with 16 while Accam is tied for fourth with 11 and is in the top 10 with seven assists.
Accam has a goal and/or an assist in nine of his last 10 games played, dating to May 6. He has seven goals and five assists in that run.