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SKC look to stay hot against FC Dallas

(Image: Twitter/@soundersfc)

Two weeks ago, Sporting Kansas City were at the very bottom of the Western Conference table. Now, with back-to-back wins, SKC (6-7-7, 25 points) have a chance to pull within one point of the final playoff spot with a match against FC Dallas (8-8-5, 29 points) on Saturday in Kansas City, Kan.

Not only has SKC won back-to-back matches, but both come via shutout. After defeating Chicago 1-0 July 6 at home, Sporting defeated Vancouver 3-0 July 13 on the road. It has the squad feeling as assured as it has all year.

“I think for sure the guys are more confident,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said. “I think some of that stems from the fact that we have everybody back at training now, except for two. That helps with standard of training, it helps with competition for position, it helps with giving guys a rest.

“They understand they’ve had two good games. Keep building from there. We also have a big opponent coming up. It’s not going to be an easy match by any means.”

Injuries helped SKC dig quite a hole. But the roster is much closer to full strength. Long-term absentees Jaylin Lindsey (knee) and Rodney Wallace (hip) are the only names on the injury report. The only other missing piece will be Ilie Sanchez, who will serve a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.

FC Dallas are tied for sixth, two points above the playoff line after a last-minute loss at Minnesota United last Saturday. They’ve struggled on the road, posting a 0-5-1 mark in their past six matches away from home.

Dominique Badji and 18-year-old Academy product Jesus Ferreira are tied for the team lead with five goals, while Michael Barrios is tied for eighth in MLS with seven assists.

“They have a great fan base there,” FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez said of Sporting. “Some of the players love the environment there. That’s a team we have to get pressure (against) right away. We know what they’re capable of.

“As long as we go out there with a positive mindset, I think we can get out of there with three points.”

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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