Sporting Kansas City
The Crew will hope to learn from the mistakes it made in a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on September 7 when it hosts Peter Vermes' side on Saturday in search of its fourth-straight victory. Before the Black & Gold clash with Sporting, here is a look back at the last meeting between the two clubs.
An early penalty awarded to Sporting doomed the visiting Crew early as Claudio Bieler calmly converted from the spot. Later in the first half, Soony Saad found space in the box to make the deficit 2-0 just before halftime. Though the Crew's play improved in the second half, it wasn't enough to match Sporting's class on the evening as C.J. Sapong added a third for the home side in the 55th minute to hand Brian Bliss his first loss as Interim Head Coach.
The Crew and Sporting Kansas City split their three meetings in 2012 right down the middle with each team claiming one match apiece while the finale ended in a draw. Before the two original MLS rivals meet for the first time in 2013, here is a look back at the three battles from last season.
A seventh-minute Jacob Peterson tally gave Sporting an early lead in a midsummer clash between the two midwestern rivals at Crew Stadium. While the Crew created several prime chances in search of an equalizer, Kansas City's All-Star goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was there to deny the Black & Gold each time. Top-of-the-table Sporting's victory was sealed in the 82nd minute when striker Teal Bunbury finished a Kansas City counterattack to beat Andy Gruenebaum in net.
Despite Kansas City forward Kei Kamara's early goal, the Crew's only trip to Sporting Park in 2012 was the coming out party of newly signed Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta. The forward tallied twice to help the Black & Gold overcome an early deficit, including a 30-yard laser past Nielsen to give Columbus the 2-1 lead in the 34th minute. Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Kansas City native Andy Gruenebaum made five crucial saves amid a Sporting onslaught late in the match to preserve the Crew victory.
Just like the first two matches before, Sporting Kansas City scored within the first 10 minutes against the Crew to put the Black & Gold on their heels early. With its playoff chances waning, Eddie Gaven's stoppage-time near-post header past Nielsen was enough to keep the Crew's postseason dreams alive for the time being.