Sporting Kansas City-Dynamo Preview
Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes has confidence in his side's attacking ability as he aims to cut out sloppy errors which have proved costly in their last two MLS matches.
Kansas have dropped off the pace in the Western Conference after successive defeats to FC Dallas and Orlando City.
Those defeats came after a win over Minnesota United, which followed a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Houston Dynamo, who Kansas face again on Saturday.
Yet Vermes insists his side have the quality to rediscover their form and push Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers at the top of the division.
"You've got to keep fighting for results. It's really hard when you're not playing well and you're not getting results and you're trying to muster up positives," Vermes told a news conference.
"I don't think it's that. I think we're the only team in the league to score in every game this year. We can score goals, that I'm not afraid of. We definitely have to score more.
"The demoralizing thing for any team is giving up soft goals when you've controlled the game, we've got to be better there. Our players understand that we have to get better in that area, it comes down to individual decisions.
"Now it's just about getting results."
Houston are down in ninth, outside of the playoff positions, though there was a boost this week as they tied down Memo Rodriguez to a new contract.
"It means a lot to me that the club believes in me for the long term. Obviously, the hard work hasn't stopped and I'm more motivated than ever," Rodriguez told club media.
"As a kid you dream of playing professional soccer in your hometown and to do that for years to come is a dream come true."
Houston Dynamo - Memo Rodriguez
Houston's 23-year-old playmaker has been in good form this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists. Having signed his new deal, he will be eager to repay the club's faith by turning in a stellar display on Saturday.
Sporting Kansas City - Johnny Russell
Former Derby County striker Russell has scored each of Sporting's last four goals, though all of them, as well as 19 of his 25 career MLS goals, have been scored in Kansas City.
•This will be the fourth meeting of the season between Houston and Sporting, with the Dynamo winning the last two after Kansas City won the first meeting 4-0 in early March.
•The Dynamo will try for three straight wins over Sporting, a feat neither side has achieved in their 41 all-time meetings (including playoffs).
•Houston are unbeaten in their last nine home matches dating back to the end of last season (W5 D4). They have recorded five home unbeaten streaks of 10 or more games in their MLS history, last doing so from March to July 2019 with a run of 10 unbeaten at home (W7 D3).
•Maynor Figueroa has scored Houston's last two goals, both headers, after not scoring in any of his first 35 MLS appearances for the Dynamo.
•Russell is the first player to score four straight goals for Sporting since Dom Dwyer scored five in a row for them in May 2014.
Updated October 2, 2020