MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
05/30/2014 4:30 PM
05/30/2014 4:30 PM
Kansas City (5-4-4) at D.C. United (5-4-3), 7 p.m.
Washington, D.C. (SportsNetwork.com) - D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City will meet at RFK Stadium on Saturday for a match that could affect Eastern Conference positioning.
The two sides are separated by just one point in the table as Sporting enters the weekend in second place with 19 points, just ahead of third-place United.
D.C. went into last weekend in second place, but a home defeat to the New England Revolution opened the door for Sporting to climb ahead, a chance that the reigning champs seized with back-to-back home draws against Toronto FC and Red Bull New York.
United's loss to the Revs snapped a three-game unbeaten run for the club, but defender Bobby Boswell is confident about the club's outlook.
"We're still making strides in the right direction. I don't feel like we got played off the field," Boswell said. "I felt like we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. Some things didn't go our way, but it wasn't like it was a bad performance by our team tonight. I think we take some positives away from that, learn from the mistakes, and the ultimate goal is to be better and learn from it."
Fabian Espindola scored United's lone goal on the night. He now has a goal or an assist in eight of his last 10 games, with six goals and five assists for the season.
Dom Dwyer, on the other hand, has been one of the hottest strikers in MLS. The Englishman bagged a brace against Toronto last Friday and made life difficult for the Red Bulls defense in the first half on Tuesday.
While Dwyer was unable to find a goal in the draw with New York, Antonio Dovale opened his MLS scoring account with a ninth-minute curler off of a pass from Benny Feilhaber.
"He's very good with the ball. It's not easy to get the ball off him. He can give a final pass and as you saw he can score. He almost scored a second one in the second half," SKC manager Peter Vermes said of Dovale. "He's just got a very high aptitude for the game, and I think it's because he's smarter than most of the players he's playing against."
Sporting has had to shuffle the lineup to compensate for World Cup absences to Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. That has seen Sal Zizzo return to the fold as he started for the first time since May 14, playing 72 minutes as a winger.
"We are getting the most out of what we can right now," Vermes said. "And with the different people we have in the game and trying to deal with a lot of injuries in regards to the middle of the park, it's never easy."