Sporting KC (10-5-3, 33 pts) at Columbus Crew (6-6-4, 22 pts)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 6:30 p.m. CT
Columbus Crew Stadium | Columbus, Ohio
English TV: KSMO-TV, KMTW, WIBW
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM
Eastern Conference counterparts Sporting Kansas City and Columbus Crew will meet at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday for the first of three match-ups in the second half of the 2012 season. The game will air live on KSMO-TV (Kansas City), KMTW (Wichita) and WIBW (Topeka), with radio coverage also available for Spanish listeners on La Gran D 1340 AM.
Sporting Kansas City supporters are invited to attend the team’s official Watch Party at the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park Members’ Club, with parking available in Lot D and doors opening at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. Food and drink will be available to purchase, including the $3 pick special which comes with chips and the choice of a hamburger, hot dog or bratwurst. Additionally, all home Sporting Kansas City jerseys will be discounted 25% off and there will be a limited number of Jimmy Nielsen goalkeeper gloves and autographed captain flags on sale.
Sporting Kansas City, tied with D.C. United atop the East, will play the team’s ninth game in less than a month and are coming off a 2-0 victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals at Philadelphia on Wednesday. Midfielder Roger Espinoza will play his last match with the club on Saturday before departing to join Honduras at the London 2012 Olympic Games and he returns to Columbus after attending Ohio State University.
Both teams have allowed a League-low 17 goals this season with Nielsen earning the MLS All-Star First XI nod over Crew keeper and Overland Park, Kan. native Andy Gruenebaum.
The Crew fell 2-1 at Montreal in their last outing, but welcomed the return of two-time MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall, who had missed the club’s eight previous matches while recovering from a concussion. The Crew could also be lifted on Saturday by the debut of discovery signing and Costa Rican international Jairo Arrieta. The 28-year-old striker was acquired from Saprissa and has been with the club since early June, but did not become eligible to play until earlier this month.
Columbus holds the edge in the all-time regular season series with a 20-18-5 record, including a 12-8-3 mark at home. Sporting Kansas City has only won once in their last seven trips to Columbus in MLS competition, a 1-0 win that came exactly two years from Saturday on Teal Bunbury’s first career MLS goal.