Coming off its worst loss of the season, Sporting Kansas City hosts a club to whom they have the most losses in franchise history, as the Chicago Fire visit Children’s Mercy Park for a Saturday match.
Sporting is 18-26-12 all-time in the regular season against the Fire, though they’re 4-0-1 in the last five matches, and 6-0-2 in the last eight home matches.
Sporting KC (11-5-7, 40 points) suffered its first loss by more than two goals all season when they fell 4-0 to Los Angeles FC on Sept. 3.
They’ll try to rebound against Chicago (6-11-5, 23 points), which is coming off a two-week break. The Fire currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, seven points below the playoff line.
Both clubs will be breaking in new midfielders.
For Sporting, it’s Jose Mauri, who was called on to start against LAFC even though manager Peter Vermes said he was not game-fit yet. But with Daniel Salloi and Gadi Kinda away for national team duty, Vermes had no choice but to start Mauri.
“To be successful in this sport you always have to have the first foundation, and that’s fitness,” Vermes said. “It’s not his fault. … We’re basically two-thirds into the season and he’s trying to play catch-up. That’s why it’s important to have players and have an opportunity to rotate players around so a guy like him can build his minutes.”
Once he’s fit, Vermes is confident in Mauri’s abilities.
“He has a lot of qualities for both of those positions (the 6 and the 8) that we like,” Vermes said. “He’s good on the ball. He has good positioning. Defensively he gets it.”
Chicago likely will be debuting a new midfielder as well, as Federico Navarro should make his club debut in Saturday’s match.
“He’s a different profile from the rest of our midfielders,” Fire coach Raphael Wicky said. “He’s a ball-winner and covers a lot of ground. He does the dirty work, but he can also play football.”
Chicago will have its hands full, as eight of the remaining 12 matches will be on the road, beginning with Saturday’s contest.
–Field Level Media