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Mariner begins TFC reign in Kansas City

Toronto FC hopes to turn the page when the club visits Livestrong Sporting Park to take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

TFC started the season with nine successive losses in MLS before recording a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on May 26.

But despite snapping its record-breaking streak of futility, Toronto still decided to make a coaching change as Aron Winter was let go in favor of Paul Mariner.

"All it is is minor adjustments," Mariner said of the coaching change. "It really is. It's not a massive overhaul."

Not much has gone right for Toronto so far, but one bright spot in recent games has been the play of forward Danny Koevermans, who has come off the bench to score in back-to-back games after missing the previous three because of injury.

The win may have been the first in league play for TFC, but it was the club's third in five games in all competitions, and midfielder Torsten Frings believes his team will benefit from having a bit of a break.

"[After] the wins we had against Vancouver and Philadelphia, I think we have a little more confidence now," said Frings. "The break was good for us. Now everybody's fresh. Paul is a great guy. He wants us to have fun at the pitch and you could see it today. I think it's very important for us that we have fun."

Sporting doesn't plan on Toronto having much fun at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday as the team eyes another win to break out of a recent dip in form.

A 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes last time out snapped a four-game winless streak, and was the club's first victory since April 18, when Sporting won its first seven games in MLS.

Forward Kei Kamara scored for the first time since April 18 in the win over San Jose, giving him a team-leading five goals on the season, but his status for Saturday's game will be in doubt after being away on international duty with Sierra Leone.

If Kamara is unable to go, Sporting manager Peter Vermes can turn to the in- form Teal Bunbury, who has netted three goals in the last three games in all competitions.

"I'm in that groove," Bunbury said. "Sometimes strikers get in that groove but the ultimate goal for me is to try to work hard on the field. The goals are things off the ball as well, working defensively and getting in good positions, things to help out the rest of the team."

Sporting will be without defender Matt Besler for the next few weeks after he underwent surgery for appendicitis, but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen will still be expecting to maintain his league-leading goals against average (0.83), while Toronto goalkeeper Milos Kocic is at the other end of the spectrum (2.10).