Sporting aims to keep momentum at Columbus

Sporting Kansas City holds a five-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference ahead of its trip to Crew Stadium to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

With three games to play, Sporting looks like a good bet to wrap up the top spot in the East, and they can take a big step toward that goal with a win over the Crew.

Even though Peter Vermes' team has already booked a place in the postseason, the coach isn't expecting his side to let up.

"We're not going to take our foot off the gas pedal," Vermes said ahead of Saturday's contest. "I think we've got to maintain our form going into the postseason."

"Every time we're put in a position where we've had to get certain results, we've done a really good job of getting them. I like our style. I like the fact that we're locked in. I like the fact that no matter who we put in there or take out, those guys all have a connection to the game. The performances have been good, but the results are what we've been very good at getting at the right times."

Sporting brings a nine-game unbeaten streak into the contest, and knows that two wins from its final three games will be enough to seal the top spot in the East.

Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi knows his team is in a good position, but he also doesn't feel like his side can afford to let up in the final three matches.

"If you have any down time, or a time when a game doesn't matter, then you can take your foot off the pedal a little bit," Zusi said. "But we're not in a position for that to happen, so I think we'll stay sharp."

Columbus will be hoping for a similar sharpness on Saturday with the club sitting one point back of fifth-place Houston for the final playoff spot.

The Crew has taken six wins from its last nine games, and the club has split its two meetings with Sporting this season.

And even though there is already plenty on the line for the Crew, midfielder Eddie Gaven thinks Sporting's arrival will bring out a little bit more in his team.

"[SKC] is one of the better teams in the league," Gaven said. "You always want to play against the best to see how you measure up. So far this year, we've won one and lost one. It's been pretty even. Playing here at home, we want to take three points. Last time we played them at home, they beat us. It definitely leaves a bit of a sour taste in out mouth."