Surging SKC, L.A. meet at Sporting Park
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Two MLS heavyweights will meet at Sporting Park on Saturday as Sporting Kansas City prepares to host the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The two clubs have proven to be perennial postseason contenders in recent years as Kansas City finished last term as MLS Cup champions while Los Angeles claimed back-to-back titles in the two preceding seasons.
And to make Saturday's clash even more interesting, both clubs enter the weekend in good form.
Sporting has claimed four wins from its last five league matches, taking 13 points from that stretch to climb to 31 points on the season and stay one point back of first-place D.C. United.
Kansas City most recently earned a victory at Crew Stadium, claiming maximum points in a 2-1 victory over Columbus with Benny Feilhaber grabbing the winning goal deep into second-half stoppage time.
It was the second consecutive match that Sporting won by way of a late goal as Dom Dwyer granted the club a win against the Montreal Impact last weekend with his winner in the 89th minute.
"We've been doing it, a few times," said goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, who has been deputizing for the injured Eric Kronberg. "Last game we pulled out one late. It just feels good not giving up until the end and to be able to string something together out of nothing sometimes. We've been very successful as of late."
Los Angeles also claimed a win in midweek action, running out at the StubHub Center to a resounding 5-1 victory over the struggling New England Revolution.
Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes played starring roles in the emphatic victory, scoring two goals apiece to lead the romp.
Zardes broke into the Galaxy team as a winger but has since proven his worth as a striker alongside Keane, one of the league's most deadly strikers.
"I definitely have been listening to Robbie," Zardes told MLSsoccer.com. "He's constantly talking to me, even throughout the game. He's giving me little tips on what he's going to do, and he told me to pay attention to the first ball once you're running through. We worked on it in practice, and we did it in the game. When Robbie gets the ball at his feet, I know he'll find me."
Zardes' recent exploits have even garnered praise from league legend Landon Donovan, a man who knows a thing or two about thriving on the grand stage as youngster.
"He's becoming a real player. And I'll say it again, if teams want to focus on other players on our team, then he's going to punish them," Donovan told the league's official website. "And so eventually teams have to pick their poison, but we're just going to let him keep playing and keep playing well and just do his thing."
07/18 15:01:42 ET