Sporting KC (13-7-4, 43 pts) at Toronto FC (5-13-5, 20 pts)
Saturday, August 18, 2012 - 3:30 p.m. CT
BMO Field | Toronto, Canada
English TV: KSMO-TV, KMTW, WIBW
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM
KU Band (Dirty HD 1080i)
Galaxy 17, Tr. 18
DL: 12060(V) | SR: 29.27 | FEC: 3/4
Sporting Kansas City will look to extend their lead atop the Eastern Conference on Saturday when they meet Toronto FC at 3:30 p.m. CT at BMO Field. The match will air live on KSMO (Kansas City), KMTW (Wichita) and WIBW (Topeka), with radio coverage available on La Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish).
Saturday’s match-up features the national champion from both the United States and Canada. Sporting KC lifted the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy last week while Toronto FC won the 2012 Canadian Championship in May.
Sporting Kansas City are coming off a 2-1 win over D.C. United last weekend at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and now return to the road, where they’ve compiled the best road record in MLS this season with six wins and two draws in 12 away matches.
The only Eastern Conference team with a positive goal differential on the road this season, Sporting Kansas City will aim to continue the team’s road form on Saturday in a venue that has kept the club in check in recent years. After earning a 1-0 win in the inaugural MLS match at BMO Field in 2007, Sporting Kansas City have gone without a goal en route to an 0-2-3 record in their last five trips to Toronto.
Manager Peter Vermes, now in his fourth MLS season, holds a 3-0-2 record against Toronto and Sporting KC is 6-3-4 in the all-time series, including a 2-0 win at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park earlier this season.
Forward Teal Bunbury has goals in back-to-back MLS matches for Sporting Kansas City, lifting the team to two straight wins. On the opposite end of the field, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has played every minute in net as captain of the club and leads MLS with 13 wins and 10 shutouts, both of which are single-season highs for Nielsen since joining the team in 2010.
While the Sporting KC defense leads the League with a 0.92 goals against average this year, their opponents on Saturday have allowed an MLS-high 1.83 goals per game and 20 goals at home.
After losing the team’s leading scorer, Designated Player Danny Koevermans, to a season-ending injury last month, Toronto FC have revamped their roster since these two teams last met in June. Highlighted by the departure of Julian de Guzman to FC Dallas and the acquisition of Eric Hassli from Vancouver, new head coach Paul Mariner also added Irish international Darren O’Dea.
Making his home debut on Wednesday in a 2-2 draw against Portland, Hassli played a part in both goals by scoring the first and assisting on the second. Toronto FC will also be boosted by the return of six players who were unavailable for the mid-week fixture, with Terry Dunfield, Doneil Henry, Dicoy Williams, Ryan Johnson and O’Dea all returning from international duty and Logan Emory having served his one-game suspension.