Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sporting Kansas City back in action Wednesday

Sporting Kansas City will play their final Western Conference opponent of the MLS regular season when they take on the Seattle Sounders FC at 9:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.

Wednesday's match will air live on KSMO-TV (Kansas City), KMTW (Wichita) and WIBW (Topeka) with pre-game coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT. Viewers are encouraged to use the #SKCtv hashtag on Twitter with selected comments to be shown throughout the broadcast.

Sporting Kansas City has won four straight in all competition and will have the opportunity to move into first place in the Eastern Conference with a win on Wednesday. The team is led by playmaker Graham Zusi, whose eight assists are most in MLS, and captain Jimmy Nielsen, who has a League-high six shutouts.

After scoring two goals for Sierra Leone in their African Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday, Sporting KC striker Kei Kamara returns to the team to join C.J. Sapong and Teal Bunbury in the attack. Collectively, the three players have combined for 12 of the team's 19 goals on the offensive end, while the Sporting KC defense has allowed a League low 10 goals this season.

Sporting KC will again be without central defender Matt Besler (appendicitis) and left-sided forward Bobby Convey (calf strain) as the team plays its second of five games in a 14-day span following a 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday.

The Sounders FC enter the contest winless in their past five MLS matches, their worst such stretch since entering MLS in 2009, and are coming off a 4-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday. Colombian defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will be unavailable on Wednesday after receiving a red card in the defeat, but midfielder Osvaldo Alonso returns having served his two-game suspension.

Seattle has won five straight in the series with all five game-winning goals coming in the final 15 minutes, including three in second-half stoppage time. Led by head coach Sigi Schmid, the most victorious manager in MLS history, Seattle have won three straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles and, like Sporting KC, are in the quarterfinals of this year's tournament.

For the second straight week, Sporting KC will face a team with the MLS maximum of three Designated Players. Colombian forward Fredy Montero, Argentine midfielder Mauro Rosales and Uruguayan midfielder Alvaro Fernandez again feature for the club following standout seasons in 2011.

The Sounders FC also added striker Eddie Johnson in the offseason and he will face his former club for the first time since his memorable 2007 season in which he recorded 15 goals and six assists before signing with Fulham of the English Premier League.

Since 2008, the eight meetings between Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC in all competition have been decided by a single goal with Sporting KC's lone win coming on the road in 2009. The evenly matched foes have been the best in MLS over the course of the past year, amassing the most points of all 19 MLS teams in their last 34 MLS regular season matches.

Sporting Kansas City supporters can follow the game online via @SKCGameday on Twitter and the MatchCenter, or on mobile devices with Sporting Explore and MLS MatchDay apps.