Sporting Kansas City lead MLS with five shutouts and a goals-against average of just 0.625. But after conceding twice last weekend in a 2-0 away loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, they're ready to get back to the form that saw them record clean sheets in the five matches before that.
“It's always tough to lose a game,” left back Seth Sinovic said at the club's weekly news conference on Friday, a day ahead of Kansas City's matchup against the Portland Timbers at Sporting Park. “It's always tough giving up goals, especially as a defense. You kind of take it personally. So we're ready to get back out there and hopefully get another shutout and get another victory.”
Despite the disappointment of the loss to the Galaxy, which snapped a five-match unbeaten streak and three-match winning streak, Sinovic said it gave Sporting's back line a valuable lesson.
“There's definitely things we can take from it,” he said. “I think we tried to play the offside trap a little too much. I just think in general there were a lot of opportunities where we could have dropped and kept the play in front of us. Instead, we took the riskier play and we got burned for it.”
Portland won just once away from home last season but are unbeaten in three road dates this year. With that in mind, Sinovic said he wouldn't be surprised if the Timbers came after their hosts on Saturday.
“At the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if they sit back like a lot of other teams do,” he added. “We'll be ready to play either way.”
At the same time, Sinovic and right back Chance Myers will be ready to get into the attack as well – not only to provide service from the flanks on overlapping runs, but to take cracks at the goal themselves.
Myers, who has yet to score as a pro, has six shots in six matches this season. Sinovic, whose only tally came last season against Houston in the second leg of their Eastern Conference playoff series, has five shots in eight. Each has one shot on goal.
“When we have the ball, everybody's an attacker at that point,” manager Peter Vermes said during the news conference. “It's about us getting people in those spots to get a chance off at a goal. Everybody's option is, when we have the ball it should always be an option for the ball to go forward. If Seth gets in a position to shoot, he'd better shoot. He got there, he'd better shoot.”
That will continue to be the plan, Sinovic said.
“We want to score just as much as everybody else does,” he said. “Me, personally, I haven't had the greatest accuracy when it comes to shooting this year so far, but the more opportunities I get, the more I'm going to take. We welcome that, and it's great to have the confidence of the coaches behind us to take those shots.”