Preview DL - Sporting KC vs FC Dallas - August 19, 2017

Preview: Sporting KC to host FC Dallas on Saturday in 100th straight MLS sellout at Children's Mercy Park

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas
Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 — 7:30 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
2017 MLS Regular Season | Game 25 of 34

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV | FOX Sports Kansas City Plus
English TV | FOX Sports Midwest Plus
English Radio | ESPN 99.3 FM
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Mobile | FOX Sports GO, Sporting KC Uphoria

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The race for top spot in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference intensifies Saturday when co-leaders Sporting Kansas City (9-5-10, 37 points) host fourth-place FC Dallas (9-5-8, 35 points) in what is expected to be the 100th consecutive MLS sellout at world-class Children’s Mercy Park.

Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT and a limited number of tickets for the pivotal showdown — including standing-room only tickets — are available at SeatGeek.com. The first 10,000 supporters in attendance will get a commemorative 100th Sellout poster courtesy of match sponsor Price Chopper, and all fans exiting the stadium after the match will receive solar eclipse glasses ahead of Monday’s astronomical event.

FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will air three hours of live coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT, while listeners can follow the action on ESPN 99.3 FM (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish). Live updates will also be available through the Sporting KC Uphoria app, which will offer fans a free box of Popsicles, Klondike Bars or Magnum Desserts beginning Saturday morning.

Sporting Kansas City find themselves in a three-way tie atop the Western Conference following last weekend’s defeat at Seattle Sounders FC — a 1-0 setback that snapped a club-record 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Manager Peter Vermes made seven lineup changes for the trip to Seattle, as Sporting KC was less than three days removed from a thrilling shootout win over the San Jose Earthquakes in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals.

FC Dallas faces the sizable task of winning at Children’s Mercy Park, something no team has done in MLS competition since May 2016. Indeed, Sporting KC’s 21-game home undefeated streak is the sixth longest in MLS regular season history, consisting of 14 wins and seven draws. The visitors will be slightly more encouraged by the fact that Vermes’ men have settled for ties in four of their last five MLS home fixtures.

Led by 2016 MLS Coach of the Year Oscar Pareja, FC Dallas enjoyed a strong start to the 2017 campaign as reigning Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup champions. The club avoided defeat in its first nine MLS matches and made a spirited run to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, but has gone just 4-5-4 in league play since May 20.

FC Dallas recently suffered two heavy losses in a row — a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and a 3-1 reverse at the Philadelphia Union — before managing a 0-0 draw against Western Conference cellar dwellers Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Nevertheless, Pareja’s side remains one of the league’s toughest teams to beat, as their three road defeats are tied for the fewest in MLS.

Forward Maximiliano Urruti leads FC Dallas with 11 goals but hasn't scored in four straight MLS matches, his longest drought of the season. Standout midfielder Michael Barrios is tied for second in MLS with 10 assists, while center backs Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman anchor a team whose 1.18 goals against average is the third-lowest in MLS.

Sporting KC and FC Dallas have met twice during the 2017 regular season, scrapping to a 0-0 draw on March 11 in Kansas City before FC Dallas earned a 1-0 home win on April 22 behind Maynor Figueroa's 77th-minute header. The sides also met in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on July 11, when Latif Blessing scored twice and Daniel Salloi added a third in a remarkable 3-0 extra-time victory.

Recent history favors the hosts heading into Saturday’s matchup, as the home side in this particular fixture is 9-0-4 in the last 13 meetings across all competitions. Sporting KC boasts a 5-0-1 mark in its last six home meetings with FC Dallas, scoring 18 goals and conceding just three. The Texas outfit won on its first visit to Children's Mercy Park in 2011, but has gone 0-6-2 in all competitions since then.

Both managers will have strong squads at their disposal on Saturday. Cameron Porter suffered a season-ending ankle injury earlier this month and is the only player on Sporting KC’s injury report, while FC Dallas is full strength.

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