Five Things

Sporting Kansas City begins a run of three consecutive home matches Tuesday night against D.C. United at 7:30 p.m. CT at Children's Mercy Park. The match will be broadcast locally on 38 The Spot and can be streamed for free at SportingKC.com or in the Sporting KC mobile app through Sporting One. Tickets for all of Sporting's remaining home matches are on sale at SeatGeek.com as well.

It has been some time since Sporting KC and D.C. have taken the field against one another, three years to be exact. The two sides have split the last two meetings as both of the last two fixtures have gone the home side's way. Tuesday will be the 57th all-time, regular season meeting between the two sides and Sporting trails D.C. by one win despite outscoring them 75-69.

Here are five things to know about the inter-conference clash between Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United.

Results keep rolling in

Coming into this matchup, both Sporting KC and D.C. United are in solid form, in the midst of results streaks. Sporting has earned at least one point in four consecutive matches and five of their last six overall. In the month of August Sporting defeated the LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers and Austin FC with an offensive explosion, scoring nine goals in those three matches and 12 goals total in the month. They have begun the month of September with consecutive draws on the road at LA and the Houston Dynamo. The four-match unbeaten streak is the longest for the club in 2022.

Tuesday night's visitors are also on a bit of a streak, trying to stay alive in the race for last place in MLS. In their last three matches, D.C. is 1-0-2, picking up a road win against the MLS Cup-holding New York City FC followed by back-to-back scoreless draws against the Colorado Rapids and at Real Salt Lake. This three-match run without a loss is their longest of 2022 as well.

First meeting in three years

As MLS charter clubs, Kansas City and D.C. have met many times on the field. In 2004, D.C. spoiled Sporting's chances at two trophies, defeating them in the MLS Cup after the then Wizards lifted their first Open Cup trophy. In the regular season, the two sides have met 56 times. The fixture is incredibly close as Sporting's record is 21-22-13 against the nation's capital. For the first 24 seasons of Major League Soccer from 1996-2019, Sporting faced D.C. at least once, every single year. The streak came to a close in 2019 and Tuesday will be the first meeting since that day.

The last time D.C. made the trek to Kansas City came on March 31, 2018. Felipe Guttierez found the back of the net in the third minute off a Khiry Shelton assist for the match's lone goal. D.C. would return the favor a year later on their home turf, sending Sporting home with a 1-0 loss. Paul Arriola's lone strike in the 78th was enough to sink Sporting at Audi Field. Those successive 1-0 home wins fit the pattern of this series.

Defensive Duels

Since 2013, the last 11 meetings between Sporting and D.C. have produced defensive battles with a total of 13 goals produced. The last four clashes generated three goals with three 1-0 scorelines and a scoreless draw. Sporting has struggled in this matchup dating back to 2014. They are 1-4-3 in the last eight, including two losses at Children's Mercy Park. This season, D.C. ranks last in the Eastern Conference in goals conceded meaning this matchup presents the opportunity for the scoring that has been missing from this series.

Youth in goal

Looking to keep the defensive nature going will be Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper John Pulskamp. The 21-year-old from Bakersfield California has been a key contributor to Sporting's recent form, starting seven straight matches between the pipes and posting a 3-2-2 record. Earning a clean sheet Saturday in Houston, Pulskamp became the third-youngest MLS keeper to post two or more shutouts this season behind 18-year-old Chicago Fire keeper Gaga Slonina and 20-year-old Rocco Rios Nova out of Atlanta United.

In the other net is 21-year-old David Ochoa, having recently been acquired by D.C. United from Real Salt Lake. After not appearing in an MLS match Ochoa has started four straight for D.C. earning a 1-1-2 record and two clean sheets. In his last appearance at Children's Mercy Park for any team, Ochoa helped RSL to a 2-1 win over Sporting in the 2021 Western Conference Semifinals.

Discussing D.C.

There was a changing of the guard in D.C. on July 12 as former Manchester and D.C. United star Wayne Rooney took over head coach responsibilities from interim head coach Chad Ashton. Rooney inherited a squad in last place in the Eastern Conference and began making moves in the MLS Secondary Transfer window. The club has added talent such as forward Miguel Berry and defender Julian Gressel along with Ochoa in goal.

Tuesday's visitors are headlined by forward Taxiarchis Fountas who paces the club at 11 goals. He has been sidelined for the last three matches while in concussion protocol. In those three matches, D.C. has failed to score twice as Fountas leads the team in shots with 78, 43 more than the next highest player, Ola Kamara. Despite exponentially fewer shots than Fountas, Kamara has been able to find the back of the net nine times this season, including the first goal in a 2-1 win at NYCFC. If Fountas is available, Sporting's defense along with Pulskamp will look to stifle the first-year Designated Player from Greece. If not, Kamara will have to be slowed down as he then becomes the target man.