Preview: Sporting KC takes on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 9 p.m. CT on Wednesday live on KSMO-TV
Sporting KC (6-0-0, 18 pts) at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-1-2, 8 pts)
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 9:00 p.m. CT
BC Place | Vancouver, British Columbia
Sporting Kansas City will play their 500th regular season match in club history when they make their first-ever visit to BC Place to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 9 p.m. CT on Wednesday in British Columbia, Canada. The match will air live on KSMO-TV with coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT and fans may also tune into La Gran D 1340 AM for the Spanish station's live broadcast of the match.
Sporting Kansas City will be playing their second match in five days, following a 1-0 win over Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake on Saturday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The victory continued Sporting Kansas City's record-setting start to the 2012 season, as they become the first team since the LA Galaxy in 1996 to win their first six matches in regulation.
Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen enters the match with a 337-minute shutout streak, the longest active mark in MLS, and has allowed only one goal in six matches this season. His 0.17 goals against average in 2012 has lowered his career mark to 1.06, the best by a Sporting KC goalkeeper in club history and tied for second-best among all goalkeepers in MLS history (minimum 4,000 minutes played).
While Sporting KC strikers C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara are tied for the team lead with three goals this season, midfielder Graham Zusi leads all MLS players with six assists in 2012. Moreover, Zusi has provided four game-winning assists and scored one game-winning goal to account for all but one of the team's six match-winners.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC are led by club captain Jay DeMerit and began their second MLS season with a 377-minute shutout streak, an all-time MLS best, with goalkeeper Joe Cannon in net. The San Jose Earthquakes snapped the streak, and handed them their first loss of the season, in a 3-1 road defeat in Vancouver's last outing 10 days ago.
Wednesday's contest will feature a rematch of the two team's pre-season meeting at the 2012 Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando. Vancouver prevailed with a 3-0 victory en route to being crowned tournament champions.
The two sides met twice during Vancouver's expansion 2011 season, with the Whitecaps scoring twice in second-half stoppage time for a memorable 3-3 draw in the first-ever match-up and Sporting KC prevailing 2-1 at home in the following fixture.