Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sporting Kansas City looks to hand Red Bulls first home loss

Sporting Kansas City will make the team's first of two trips to Red Bull Arena in the final six games of the season at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday to take on the New York Red Bulls.

The match will air live on KSMO-TV and La Gran D 1340 AM in Kansas City, as well as on MyTV Wichita and MyTV Topeka.

Sporting Kansas City, who has held the top spot in the Eastern Conference since the team began its current six-game unbeaten streak in early August, will return to the road for the first time in over a month on Wednesday and will look to continue the team's record-setting form away from home this season.

The club's 7-4-2 record on the road is the best in MLS this season and the seven regular season away victories are the most in regulation in team history.

However, Sporting Kansas City has suffered 1-0 defeats each of the last two years at Red Bull Arena in their only two trips to the venue since its opening in 2010 and the Red Bulls are unbeaten there in 2012 with a League-leading 10-0-3 home record, including victories in their last five home MLS matches.

Sporting Kansas City holds a two-point lead over the Red Bulls and will look to gain ground on San Jose in the Supporters' Shield race.

Five points back of the Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City has two games in a four-day span to put pressure on the Western Conference leaders.

Wednesday's contest will match Sporting Kansas City's defense, which leads MLS with 25 goals against in 28 games, against a Red Bulls' attack that has scored 49 goals in 28 games to become the Eastern Conference's top offensive team.

Led by Kenny Cooper with 14 goals, second most in MLS, and Thierry Henry with 13 goals and nine assists, the Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last five MLS matches.

Henry was named MLS Player of the Week on Monday for a fourth time this season after scoring two goals and adding an assist in New York's 3-1 win over Columbus on Saturday.

Fellow Designated Players Tim Cahill and Rafa Marquez complement a highly-regarded Red Bulls' roster that includes MLS All-Stars Wilman Conde and Sebastien Le Toux, as well as former U.S. international Heath Pearce.

Since the two teams last met in a 1-1 draw at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in August, New York has also added midfielder Lloyd Sam from Leeds United.

Most recently, the Red Bulls completed a move last week for former A.C. Milan defender Digão, the younger brother of Kaká.

The all-time series between Sporting Kansas City and New York is deadlocked at 17-17-10 in the regular season, though the Red Bulls are 10-3-7 at home in the series.

The two teams will meet again on Oct. 20 for the third and final meeting of the regular season.