Fire-Sporting Kansas City Preview
Perhaps a dominant home performance against the reigning MLS champs will be a springboard for the Chicago Fire to finally end their lengthy road winless streak.
The Fire look to build on their first win in almost two months while trying to end a 21-game road winless stretch Saturday night against a Sporting Kansas City side that last won at home in late May.
Residing just below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, Chicago (5-7-7) ended an 0-3-3 league stretch that dated to a win over Minnesota United FC on May 11 with a much-needed and resounding 5-1 rout of Atlanta United FC on Wednesday.
C.J. Sapong (eight goal) recorded a brace, Nico Gaitan had a goal with three assists and Francisco Calvo added one of each as the Fire broke out after totaling seven goals in their previous six contests.
"It felt like we exorcised a few demons," midfielder Dax McCarty told the Fire's official website. "I know it's been tough for our team and our fans to be patient (with the offense) ... we're right there. We're right there. We've dug ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but it's not catastrophic. We're not out of it by any means. We're going to pick up some confidence with this (win). We've got a lot of games in July; we can pick up a lot of ground."
In order to do that, the Fire have to end an 0-15-6 road rut that dates to a 2-1 victory at Orlando City SC on May 26, 2018. Chicago, which has managed just one goal while losing its last two road matches, is 0-4-2 at Kansas City since a 1-0 victory there in June 2012.
SKC (4-7-7), however, has been outscored 7-1 while losing two straight league home games since holding on for a 3-2 win there over Seattle on May 26. Sporting must find a way to bounce back from a rough 5-1 home loss to league-leader Los Angeles FC on Wednesday.
Yohan Croizet scored in the 85th minute, but by that time SKC was already down 3-0. It was a relatively sloppy game overall for Kansas City, which was booked with four yellow cards through the first 48 minutes and saw Daniel Salloi miss an 82nd-minute penalty kick.
"The game, right now, comes down to small little details and right now things aren't going our way," veteran defender Matt Besler told Sporting's official website. "It's disappointing, and I can tell you that there's nobody that's more frustrated than us right now. We have to live it every single day ... I don't know what to say other than we're trying to get back (on track)."
Updated July 4, 2019