After a welcomed international break, where four players suited up for their respective national teams, Sporting KC face Houston Dynamo in an Eastern Conference clash that is important for both sides in the run up to the playoffs.
Currently Sporting KC sit three points behind the San Jose Earthquakes in the race for the Supporters Shield. With the new rules the winner of the shield will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and, if they make it there, host the MLS Cup.
There is much imputes even for the Dynamo who find themselves in the playoff play-in round places and would not fancy playing a red-hot Columbus who are surging up the table.
As it stands Sporting KC only has three home fixtures remaining of their final seven and all four road fixtures are against eastern teams who are pushing for the playoffs and better positioning for the playoffs. The overused phrase ‘business end’ to this MLS season is here and every point in the remaining seven matches are of the utmost importance.
Of players of note who will look to make this game their shinning moment, with NBC Sports Network camera’s rolling, is none other than KC’s Graham Zusi.
Fresh off his fantastic performance for the United States in their victory over Jamaica Zusi has forced the hand of his international coach Jurgen Klinsmann and has been performing more than exceptionally well for his club. His change from the center of the pitch to the wing, due to injuries of two typical wingers, has not had the typical drop off due to position change that could’ve been expected. In fact it has been his good work that has kept Sporting moving forward in their push for dominance of the Eastern Conference.
On the other side of the coin Houston’s league form has dipped as they have become involved with the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League they have only picked up one win from their last five league games. The fact that they have their first home game of the group on Thursday only heaps the pressure on the squad as they look to compete in two demanding competitions with the limitations that Major League Soccer has stipulated.
Looking for a quality, high tempo match which looks to be in the favor of the home side.