Preview: Sporting KC hosts Columbus at Sporting Park on Saturday

SKC looks to take sole possession of first place in the East

Sporting KC vs Columbus Crew
Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 7:30 p.m. CT
Sporting Park | Kansas City, KS

English TV: KSMO-TV
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

MatchCenter | Game NotesMedia Guide | Scouting Report
By the Numbers | Social Media | GameOn | Video Previews | Tickets | MatchDay

Sporting Kansas City welcomes the Columbus Crew to Sporting Park on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT for the first of two meetings in a one-month span. The match, sponsored by Price Chopper, will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV with pre-game coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT. A limited number of tickets are still available and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park box offices.

With seven games remaining in the regular season, Sporting Kansas City currently sits atop the Eastern Conference in a three-way tie with the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls. Columbus is five points out of playoff position and is seeking the team's first road victory since May in a 1-0 win at Toronto FC.

Both teams earned victories in their most recent matches. Sporting Kansas City defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 with goals from Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi last Saturday, while Crew interim head coach Brian Bliss led Columbus to a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday in his first match at the helm of the club. Bliss formerly played (1998) and coached in Kansas City (2000-2006), including a period as the interim head coach for 14 matches at the end of the 2006 season

Saturday's match features three players who have scored nine goals this season in Sporting KC's Claudio Bieler and the Crew's Federico Higuain and Dominic Oduro. Bieler and Oduro each tallied a goal in the clubs last meeting, a 3-2 victory for Sporting Kansas City in June, while Hiquain returns on Saturday after missing the Crew's last two matches due to suspension.

Sporting Kansas City will also be without U.S. internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi who will suit up with the U.S. Men's National Team for their FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica at Estadio Nacional at 9 p.m. CT tonight live on beIN SPORT. Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jerome will also miss Saturday's match while returning from the Haiti Men's National Team.

The Columbus Crew will be without Kevan George who is with Trinidad and Tobago on international duty. Eddie Gaven (left ACL) and Kansas City native Andy Gruenebaum (left shoulder weakness) will miss the match due to injury.

Sporting Park will host its annual Scout Night, recognizing over 2,500 Heart of America Council scouts prior to the match on Saturday. The first 1,000 scouts to arrive in uniform will receive a commemorative badge.

All fans are encouraged to join Andy Edwards and Dave Borchardt in the Boulevard Members Club for a live broadcast of The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame show on Sports Radio 810 WHB. For all in-game updates, follow @SKCGameday on Twitter or visit SportingKC.com/Gameon.