Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City will be out for a bit
of revenge when it welcomes Toronto FC to Sporting Park on Saturday.
The two sides squared off earlier in the season with Toronto claiming a
surprising 2-1 victory over Sporting at BMO Field on March 9.
At the time, Toronto hoped that the result would prove to be the catalyst that
would spark a positive run of form that would hand the Canadian club its first
playoff berth, but it hasn't panned out that way thus far.
Toronto followed the victory with an 11-game winless run, a stretch of matches
that has left the Reds second from bottom in the Eastern Conference.
But things are looking up for the Canadian side. Since earning a 2-1 victory
over D.C. United on June 15, TFC has claimed two points from three games
against quite formidable opponents.
The Reds picked up a point from a scoreless draw at BBVA Compass Stadium
against the Houston Dynamo, faltered at home in a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake a
week later and earned a draw from a thrilling 3-3 tie against the Montreal
Even while Toronto enters Saturday's match with just 13 points from 17 games,
head coach Ryan Nelsen still views the playoffs as a realistic destination for
"Of course," Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com when asked if a playoff berth is still
attainable. "As I have said to the players, we have to go in and win every
According to Nelsen, overhauling the squad has put Toronto slightly behind the
eight ball, but he believes that the club is already seeing the benefits of
its in-season transactions.
"The foundation of the team is getting stronger and stronger," Nelsen
continued. "Obviously the results have not been backed up by the performances.
We could have had four or five more wins if we had certain personnel at the
start of the year.
"But we are starting to take a bit of shape. It was very hard when we took
over. We had no salary cap room and players that weren't really MLS tested or
proven. We're starting to get a shape to our squad now and hopefully we can
complement it with a few new players. Then we'll be starting to look like a
proper MLS team."
Sporting, meanwhile, has operated under a completely different system. Kansas
City has instituted a model of continuity, limiting player turnover to help
foster arguably the best team chemistry in MLS.
Deploying largely the same team year after year has seen Kansas City stake its
claim within the top-three of the Eastern Conference table. This season is no
different as the club enters the weekend in second place on 30 points.
Sporting is coming off of a 2-1 win at the Chicago Fire, a result that has
underlined the club's ability to take wins away from conference rivals.
"I think we're been really good this year in conference so these conference
games we realize how important they are to us," said Sporting head coach Peter
Vermes. "We have to continue to keep doing well against our conference teams.
I don't know if it's anything added. We go about our business with a lot of
consistency. Sometimes you fall out of form a little bit and it all depends on
how fast you get back into form. I think the good thing is the guys are
committed to working towards that."
The Sports Network