Kansas City (5-3-2) at Chicago (1-2-6), 3 p.m.
Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Sporting Kansas City will hope to regroup on Sunday when it travels to Toyota Park to face the Chicago Fire.
Kansas City spurned a chance to take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday as it suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Union, a result that snapped a two-game winning streak for the reigning MLS Cup champions.
"We deserved to lose," SKC head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "(Philadelphia was) the better team. They worked harder than we did and they were hungrier than we were. They beat us to all the balls. Very seldom do we get outworked playing against one of our opponents, but tonight we got outworked in our home stadium. That doesn't sit well with me, that's for sure."
Sporting enters the weekend with the New England Revolution for first place with 17 points apiece. In order to stay atop the East for another week, Kansas City will need to play with more energy than the team showed against the Union and the Montreal Impact in its previous outing.
"Maybe they thought we were playing the same game on Saturday in Montreal," Vermes said. "We just didn't have the juice we normally have. I'll have to go back and look at the training that we've done over the last couple days. We lacked the pop that we normally have. Again, we got outworked today and they deserved to win because they were the better team."
Chicago, meanwhile, enjoyed its first win of the season last time out, defeat Red Bull New York in a thrilling 5-4 affair at Red Bull Arena.
Harry Shipp was the star of the night, scoring a hat trick to lead his side to a much-needed victory. But even while the rookie received the majority of the plaudits, he was quick to praise his teammates for their efforts.
"It was all about the team bonding together, as 11 guys defending the box and I think we showed that in the last 10 minutes there were some great head clearances and it was a roller coaster, but it was a good roller coaster," Shipp said in a postgame interview.
"I'm just happy, if I score three goals and we don't win the game it doesn't really matter. So, that's what's important," he told reporters after the match.
While Chicago has managed just one win from its first nine league matches, its two defeats leave the club tied for second-fewest in MLS thus far.
A wealth of draws - six, in total - have prevented the club from rising in the Eastern Conference table, but if Shipp can continue his ascendance, a playoff berth down the road could be in the cards.