By this game last year, Sporting Kansas City were 1-1-1 and had collected the only points they'd gather until late May.
Well, this is a different year. Obviously.
Already having earned nine points from three games and fresh off a six-point homestand, Sporting hit the friendly skies and took off for Los Angeles to face Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center. Kickoff is 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on KSMO-TV.
If you're into slight scheduling quirks, this is the second week in a row that KC have played the last match of the the MLS week. It's also the fourth different starting time this season (at least, for us in the central time zone): 6:30 p.m. vs. DC, 7:30 vs. New England, 6 p.m. vs. Dallas and 8 p.m. vs. Chivas. Of course, next Saturday, KC will add afifth
different starting time: 3 p.m. against LA.
Here's a little Pre-match Ramble to get you ready.
How will KC handle the target on its back?
Being on top of the table is the place Sporting KCwants to be. But it's not necessarily a place Sporting KC are used
to being in. (Though, in a way, they've stood at the top of the East since late last season.)
Chivas gets to take the first shot at first-place KC and the Goats are a team that have, thus far this season, shown that they aren't an easy team to put down.
Three games, all 1-goal affairs. Of course, Chivas lost both home games and won its lone road trip. There are some aspects of Chivas that are nearly impossible to explain.
After Chivas, a few big boys come to KC -- Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake -- before KC takes a trip to the Pacific Northwest -- Vancouver in Portland in quick succession.
Hey, Remember Him
No one's likely to have forgotten winger Ryan Smith. He of the dazzling feet and left-footed glory who disappeared to deal with "family issues" mid-way through the 2011 season before getting traded for Paulo Nagamura (basically) in November.
It's hard to forget him and how that all went down.
But what of Rauwshan McKenzie? He made just five appearances during his time with the Wizards -- all five coming during the 2009 season when Jimmy Conrad was away on Gold Cup duty and/or injured.
After two sparse years with Real Salt Lake, McKenzie finally found a spot for himself with Chivas. He's started all three games this season and has formed a solid partnership with Heath Pearce.
Watch Out For
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is pretty good and pretty under-rated. He's almost single-handedly keeping Chivas afloat this season with 12 saves so far and generally swallowing everything that comes close to him. Cue the Kei Kamara shot parade!
This save is just absolutely massive in stoppage time against Salt Lake.