Sporting KC needs to break out of MLS winless streak
PHILADELPHIA -- Two clubs clearly in the playoff picture in their respective conferences square off Saturday as Sporting Kansas City travels to take on the Philadelphia Union.
Both teams have a chance to improve their positioning in the 7 p.m. matchup at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa.
Sporting KC (11-11-5, 38 points, good for fifth place in the Western Conference) will be playing its fifth match (all competitions) in the past 15 days. With a win, SKC has the opportunity to jump as high as third in the table by the end of the weekend.
The club suffered a 3-0 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday. Sporting KC is on an 11-game winless run in MLS, drawing four and losing seven since beating the New York Red Bulls 2-0 on April 9.
SKC rested several normal starters on Tuesday, but Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer all are expected back in the lineup.
There are still several regulars on the injury list, including Nuno Coelho (hamstring), Justin Mapp (calf), Tim Melia (back spasms), Chance Myers (hamstring), Lawrence Olum (abdomen) and Seth Sinovic (ankle).
Philadelphia (10-9-7, 37 points) has already matched its point total from last season with eight games remaining.
Seeking its first postseason appearance since 2011, fourth-place Philadelphia is nine points above the red line in the Eastern Conference. Chris Pontius leads Philadelphia with 10 goals and five assists while Tranquillo Barnetta is sixth in MLS with 54 chances created.
Roland Alberg has scored eight goals in his last 11 MLS matches, and former Sporting KC forward C.J. Sapong has chipped in seven goals of his own.
The clubs last met in September 2015, squaring off in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. Sporting KC won the match and the title, 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw through regulation.