KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes always says that “One man's absence is another man's opportunity.”
With club scoring leader Dom Dwyer suspended on caution accumulation for Wednesday's away match at New England (6:30 pm CT; Broadcast Info), center forward Claudio Bieler could get the starting opportunity he hasn't had since mid-May.
“It's a good chance,” Vermes told reporters on Monday. “A very good chance. We'll see. I have not put the lineup together, but he's in the running – and the good thing is, he doesn't need his passport for this trip.”
Bieler, Sporting's little-used Argentine DP, began the year in an every-other-match rotation with Dwyer but hasn't been in the XI since May 18. He led Sporting with 12 goals across all competitions in 2013, his first season in Kansas City, but has netted only once this year.
Sporting were unable to use him for their CONCACAF Champions League opener in Nicaragua last month because of a passport issue.
Dwyer, in the meantime, has 17 goals this year – one shy of Preki's club record, set in 1996 when MLS was in its inaugural season and Kansas City were known as the Wiz.
He won't be the only key player serving a yellow-card suspension on Wednesday, either. Benny Feilhaber, Sporting's engine in midfield, will also sit out the match after being cautioned for shoving Houston's Kofi Sarkodie in last weekend's 3-1 home loss to the Dynamo.
“I'd like to have the full complement of the roster to choose from, but that hasn't been the reality at all this year,” Vermes said. “It's not like I'm sitting here going, 'Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do?' We've dealt with this all season long. We've dealt with a lot of stuff, and to still be in the position we are is very good, and we'll make those adjustments again for this game.”
Sporting's position isn't as good as it was two weeks ago, though. They're trying to snap a two-match losing streak, over which they've been outscored 6-1 at home and fallen from the top of the Eastern Conference to four points behind leaders D.C. United.
“I think it's interesting how everybody is very concerned,” Vermes said. “We've got a very good group. We're not in the position that we're in because we're not good. We've got a team that can play, and we've had a tremendous amount of adversity over this season, and everybody's done very well with that.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.