As they look to snap a three-match league winless streak and rebound from the disappointment of elimination from the US Open Cup, Sporting Kansas City can finally count on a full complement of players once more.
Left back Seth Sinovic is listed as day-to-day with hamstring soreness, but six of Sporting's seven internationals are back from duty with those squads and right back Chance Myers has been training this week after missing Kansas City's last two outings across all competitions with a groin strain.
“It's good to have them back for a number of reasons,” manager Peter Vermes said on Thursday, during the club's weekly news conference. “One is the community of the team, the culture in the locker room, all of that – and then, obviously, their play on the field is a big part of our team.”
US internationals Graham Zusi and Matt Besler were the last two to arrive, after the Yanks closed out a nine-point, three-match run in World Cup qualifying with Tuesday's 1-0 win over Honduras in Sandy, Utah. Besler played all 270 minutes in central defense in those matches, while Zusi turned in strong starting performances from the wing on either side of a one-match suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
“We gave them kind of an easy day today,” Vermes said. “I'm hoping that tomorrow they'll be a little more into training and then hopefully they'll be recovered for Saturday.”
The full cupboard comes just in time, too, as Sporting travel to Western Conference leaders FC Dallas on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
“They're the team at the moment,” Vermes said. “They're good on both sides of the ball, but I think the biggest thing is that they manage games really, really well. They've figured out, if they're winning, how to hold a lead. If not, how to get back into the game.”
FCD also have proven impossible to beat at home this season, with a 7-0-1 record at FC Dallas Stadium. Then again, Sporting are no strangers to cracking open a fortress, after snapping Houston's 36-match home unbeaten streak across all competitions with a 1-0 league victory on May 12.
Vermes hasn't brought up that bit of recent history this week, though – or played up the chance to mar Dallas' unblemished home record.
“We really haven't talked about them too much up to this point, honestly,” he said. “We've had a good week of training in regards to it being very intense, and then trying to adapt all the other guys and fit them back into the team. We've been more concentrated on that than anything else, but I think we're just up to the challenge of getting back to MLS games.”