Kansas City (6-5-4) at FC Dallas (8-3-4), 8:30 p.m. After a three-week break, Sporting Kansas City will face a stern test in its return to MLS regular season action as it heads to FC Dallas on Saturday.
Kansas City comes into the weekend on a poor run of form. Not only has the club taken just two points from its last three league matches, but it also was ousted from the U.S. Open Cup by Orlando City SC on June 12, denying Sporting the chance to defend its crown.
"Credit to them, they played well in the first half," head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "It's definitely not something we wanted to have happen. We wanted to go deep into the competition and try to go after it again. It's devastating."
In league play, Kansas City most recently faltered in a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact at Sporting Park on June 1. It was just the fourth time all season that the club has given up more than one goal in a game.
With 13 goals conceded in MLS play this season, Sporting shares the best defensive record in the league, along with the New England Revolution.
And according to FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, the Frisco club boasts one of the best attacking trios in the league.
Unfortunately for Hyndman, none of his talented strikers were available for selection in the club's tussle with the Portland Timbers on Saturday, a match that FC Dallas lost, 1-0.
"We went in to the game with no strikers," said Hyndman. "Eric Hassli got injured, and then today I found out I lost Kenny Cooper, and then Blas Perez is with the Panama national team. Take those three guys and we might have been a little bit different.
"I think we have arguably the best strikers in the league when you look at Eric Hassli, Kenny Cooper and Blas Perez. All three of them on one team; what are the chances that none of them would be available in one game?"
Hyndman knew he would be without Perez, who leads Dallas with five goals on the season. But he had the rug pulled under him regarding the statuses of Cooper and Hassli.
Cooper was excused from the match to attend a family emergency while Hassli was ruled out of the contest after sustaining an injury in the warm up. Perez is expected to feature for Dallas against Kansas City.
"Blas Perez will be back after his last game with Panama, and I think Kenny will be fine depending on the emergency that he's dealing with," said Hyndman. "Eric strained his back during the warm up after we had already announced our lineup."