Preview: D.C. United at Sporting Kansas City
MLS MATCHDAY 22
D.C. United vs Sporting Kansas City
Saturday, August 11 - 8:30 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet | channel finder
Back On March 10, Sporting Kansas City toppled D.C. United1-0 in the season opener for both clubs. The result, and the way in which the visitors secured it – a stoppagetime Kei Kamara goal off a corner kick – seemed to be a harbinger of continuedwoe at RFK.
To date, the defeat stands as the lone blemish on the club’shome record.
And while D.C. has spent the better part of the last five monthssuccessfully erasing the sour memory of First Kick 2012, Saturday’s colossalroad match at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will be the Black-and-Red’s first shotat revenge.
“Obviously we still have a bad taste in our mouths from whatthey came and did to us in the beginning of the year,” admitted defenderBrandon McDonald this week. “That was our first game of the season, we had acouple new faces in the lineup. From then to now I think we have established a good rhythm aboutourselves.”
The hosts may face a lack of rhythm of their own onSaturday. Just 72 hours removedfrom claiming the organization’s second U.S. Open Cup in a thrilling – butultimately exhausting – final, Sporting must avoid both a championship hangoverand tired legs. Kansas City HeadCoach Peter Vermes’ fielded a full squad for the mid-week title tilt, makinghis counterpart’s preparations particularly difficult.
“Who knows what they are going to put out there,” said D.C.United Head Coach Ben Olsen, who is no stranger to line-up shufflinghimself. “Regardless of what theyput out there, it’s still a philosophy that’s the same. The way we want to go about them is notgoing to change. They have a goodteam speed about them, they like to pressure high and get you in bad spots.”
When the two teams met in March, United found themselves inbad spots far too often. Beyondhis goal Kamara ran rampant, and the scoreline would have been even morelopsided if not for a standout performance from Bill Hamid. Kansas City’s aggressive style put D.C.under heavy pressure, and the Black-and-Red never recovered.
Come Saturday, matching Sporting’s aggression will go a longway in avoiding a repeat performance.
“They were on top of us the whole game and last year when wewent [to KC] they took it to us again,” noted Perry Kitchen. “We know they are going to be in yourface that’s just how they play and they are very good at it. But we are going to match thatintensity and that fight.”
Though D.C. has a pair of matches in hand, the two sides areseparated by just four points in the Eastern Conference standings. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 Saturdaynight, and the match will be broadcast locally on Comcast SportsNetMid-Atlantic.
» ANALYSIS: Volkswagen keys to the match