Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sporting KC takes on rivals Chicago Fire on Friday

Sporting Kansas City returns to Toyota Park for the second time during the 2013 MLS regular season to face Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Fire. The nationally televised match-up will air live on the NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. CT.

The clubs first met this season in Sporting Kansas City's home opener on March 16, resulting in a scoreless draw at Sporting Park. The second meeting saw Sporting Kansas City earn a 2-1 road victory last month with goals from Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi.

Chicago's Mike Magee scored the lone goal for the Fire in the loss and leads MLS with 14 goals this season. The Sporting KC victory was one of only two home losses for the Fire in their last 10 matches at Toyota Park.

Since the teams last met, the Chicago Fire have added two Designated Players. Uruguayan midfielder Arévalo Ríos debuted last weekend and Ecuadorian striker Juan Luis Anangonó has started each of the club's last two matches.

Sporting KC is coming off a 1-0 loss at the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, but still sits atop the Eastern Conference with 39 points and can claim a share of the Supporters' Shield lead with a victory on Friday. 

All-Star midfielder Graham Zusi is no longer on the team's injury report and could be available for Friday's game.

The Chicago Fire fell 2-0 to the New England Revolution last weekend and will be without defender Bakary Soumare, head coach Frank Klopas and assistant coach Leo Percovich on Friday due to their ejections in that match. Fire attackers Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko were both held out a week ago due to injuries but are expected to be available for selection tomorrow.

The Chicago Fire holds the all-time advantage over Sporting KC (23-12-10), including a 15-4-2 record at home in the series. However, Sporting KC is unbeaten in the last three matches between the Eastern Conference foes.

Sporting Kansas City will be hosting the club's official watch party in the Boulevard Members Club at Sporting Park on Friday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. CT in time for NBCSN's MLS Insider, featuring Sporting KC, and MLS 36 with Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler.

Food and drink will be available to purchase at the watch party, including $3 KC Pils and Bud Lights, and all attendees under the age of 17 will receive a free Sprint Sporting KC scarf.

The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame Show will air live from the Boulevard Members Club at the conclusion of the match. Fans can join the discussion with hosts Andy Edwards and Dave Borchardt by calling 913-3-810-810.

Nearly 300 Sporting KC supporters will make the trip to Chicago for the match. For those remaining in Kansas City, follow @SKCGameday or visit for in-game updates.