Published August 10, 2012
| Sports Network
Kansas City, KS – Fresh off of its U.S. Open Cup title win on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City will welcome D.C. United to Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday as the two sides continue to battle for position in the Eastern Conference.
Only four points separate Sporting, which enters the weekend action tied with the Houston Dynamo for first place in the East, from United, who sit fourth on 36 points.
A perfect start through Sporting's first seven games of the season has yielded a relatively stagnant period, allowing other sides to catch up to the Eastern Conference summit; the club has managed just eight points from its last six league games.
But after taking a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in its last outing, Sporting will be looking to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-June 16.
"We've got a lot of games still ahead of us and it's about us just trying to getting better as we go along," said Sporting head coach Peter Vermes. "And right now, I think we've done a really good job of playing on the road, which I think will help come playoff time.
"And more importantly, we've got to get some guys back off injuries. That's a big thing for us right now."
Sporting looks as if it could be without some regular contributors for Saturday's tilt with United as Peterson Joseph, Chance Myers, Jacob Peterson and C.J. Sapong are listed as questionable.
D.C., at just about full strength, could be well-equipped to earn its second league win in a row.
Ben Olsen's men claimed a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew last time out, snapping a two-game losing streak.
That win came at RFK Stadium though, and United have lost three successive road games by a combined score of 8-2.
D.C. should be buoyed by the return of Andy Najar, who will be eager to impress after returning to the MLS fold from his Olympic tour in London with Honduras.
"I've been through that," Olsen said. "Whether you do well or not, it's intense being a part of the Olympics. Doing well, maybe even is more taxing. He didn't play the last game and he didn't have 90-minute games before that so, physically, he should be OK. We've just got to get him there mentally."