Sporting KC (12-7-4, 40 pts) vs D.C. United (11-7-3, 36 pts)
Saturday, August 11, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. CT
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, KS
English TV: KSMO-TV
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City will welcome D.C. United to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in the final regular season meeting between the two Eastern Conference clubs. A limited number of tickets are still available for the match at Ticketmaster.com and the LSP Box Offices, and the first 5,000 fans into the stadium on Saturday will receive a free Pepsi Cooler courtesy of match sponsor Pepsi.
Coming off the club’s 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City will conclude the busiest stretch of their season tomorrow with the team’s 17th game in all competition over the past eight weeks. By contrast, D.C. United will be in action for only the eighth time over the same span.
Sporting Kansas City, tied for first place in the East ahead of tonight’s clash between fellow conference contenders New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo (7 p.m. CT on the NBC Sports Network), will begin an important stretch on Saturday that sees the club play four of their next five MLS matches at home. Over that stretch, Sporting Kansas City will face three teams all within four points of catching the club atop the East as teams vie for postseason position with less than a third of the season remaining.
Manager Peter Vermes’ squad is 6-3-2 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park this season, but have gone four straight home fixtures without a win in League play. Conversely, D.C. United is 3-6-1 away from home, with losses in their last three on the road.
Sporting Kansas City can draw level in the all-time series with a victory, which would give both teams 18 wins in the 45 regular season meetings. Sporting KC has won three straight over D.C. United and will look to build on their 11-6-5 record at home against D.C. United.
D.C. United, four points back of Sporting KC in fourth place in the East, have been boosted by an 8-1-2 home record in 2012. The team’s lone loss at RFK Stadium in 2012 came against Sporting KC in the season opener, with striker C.J. Sapong scoring in second-half stoppage time.
The visitors are led by 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, whose 10 assists are most in MLS this year, and fourth-year forward Chris Pontius with 10 of the team’s 35 goals on the season, including six match-winners. D.C. United’s offense ranks second best amongst the 19 MLS teams with a 1.67 goals per game strike rate, but will be up against the stingiest defense in MLS as Sporting Kansas City have allowed 0.913 goals per game.
The match-up will feature two of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer this season, with Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen leading all players at his position with 10 shutouts and 12 victories. His counterpart, Bill Hamid, boasts a 0.79 goals against average and 83.0 saves percentage, both marks that are second-best in MLS for goalkeepers with a minimum of 600 minutes played in 2012.
Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV and La Gran D 1340 AM. Pre-game coverage will be available on KSMO at 7 p.m. CT and Sports Radio 810 WHB will broadcast The Final Whistle: Sporting KC Postgame show live from LSP immediately following the match.
Following the match, all ticket holders may attend a special postgame party in the Shield Club at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Located on the west side of the stadium on the main level, the Shield Club will have food, drink and merchandise available to purchase and replays of Wednesday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final will be shown on TV.