The Sporting Kansas City franchise has waited eight years for another opportunity to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
So what’s another few days?
There was no hesitation in the voice of Sporting KC coachPeter Vermes
as he delivered a similarly focused message regarding tonight’s MLS game at New England. Any talk of Wednesday’s Open Cup, he insisted, will have to be delayed until Sunday.
Easier said than done.
“There’s no doubt it’s a challenge,” Vermes said. “But you can’t negate the fact that (tonight) is a league game. You have to take care of that first.”
Vermes’ club is in need of a result in MLS action. A three-game winless streak — which followed Sporting KC’s surge back to the top of the Eastern Conference — has left the team sitting in a second-place tie with Houston, one point behind conference-leading New York.
The road may be the perfect place to return to form. Sporting KC, 11-7-4, has unexpectedly struggled recently on its home field, Livestrong Sporting Park, failing to win any of its last four MLS games. On the other hand, it is the only team in the conference that boasts a winning road record (5-4-2).
Regardless of location, Sporting KC players have stressed they must do better with their scoring opportunities. They outshot Columbus 19-1 in the second half in last weekend’s 2-1 loss but failed to score in the half.
“Dominating is not good enough,” said midfielderKei Kamara,
who has a team-high eight goals. “Sometimes it’s better to play dirty and get three points. A lot of people will say, ‘We worked hard; we put up a good fight.’ But that’s not good enough.”
The Revolution, 6-10-5, is in a drought of its own. New England is winless in its last four MLS games and has won just one of its last eight, dropping it into an eighth-place tie in the 10-team Eastern Conference.
Both teams expect to continue playing short-handed tonight. Revolution defenderA.J. Soares will miss his second straight game after starting the previous 20, and Jerry Bengston joins Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza
on the Honduras Olympic squad.
Vermes said forwardJacob Peterson
will miss tonight’s game because of with a right shoulder sprain, an injury he suffered July 28 while diving to attempt a header on a crossing pass from Kamara.
As for the remainder of his injury report, Vermes was tight-lipped. Center backAurelien Collin, defender Chance Myers, and forward C.J. Sapong are questionable.