Fresh off a 3-0 victory over San Jose Aug. 26, Sporting Kansas City once again are in a position to challenge for a playoff spot. A few more strong matches will put SKC back in a familiar position in the playoffs, but the next opportunity will be a stiff test.
Sporting KC (7-11-8, 29 points) will host first-place St. Louis City (15-9-2, 47 points) on Saturday. It’s the first time Kansas City has hosted another team from Missouri since now-defunct Saint Louis FC lost at Children’s Mercy Park in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup.
St. Louis will be playing its third game in eight days following a 2-1 loss at Orlando City on Aug. 26 and a 2-1 home victory over FC Dallas on Wednesday.
During the first-ever meeting between the two clubs in May, St. Louis scored a brace in each half for a 4-0 victory over SKC.
“We didn’t have a good performance last time,” SKC coach Peter Vermes said. “They beat us up. I think everybody understands that it’s a big game for us in so many ways — the rivalry and the points for us, because we’ve got to get ourselves into a playoff spot.”
St. Louis’ 15 wins are second in MLS and four more than any other Western Conference team. St. Louis leads MLS with a plus-19 goal differential (52 goals scored, 33 conceded). According to Opta, St. Louis is outperforming its expected goal differential by 23.16 goals, the largest margin in MLS and more than 10 goals better than any other team.
St. Louis forward and Kansas City native Niko Gioacchini leads St. Louis with 10 goals.
“I think there has to be (anger from SKC),” St. Louis coach Bradley Carnell said. “This is what makes good games great games. We’re excited about this one. Everyone should be fully charged and ready to go another 90.”
Sporting KC are 20-9-10 overall against expansion teams and 3-3-1 in their first-ever home games against an expansion franchise, only suffering defeats to the Houston Dynamo (2006), Seattle Sounders (2009) and Montreal Impact (2012).
—Field Level Media
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