Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Two Eastern Conference heavyweights will meet at BMO Field on Saturday as Toronto FC gets set to host Sporting Kansas City.
While the two clubs are separated by 11 points in the table, they both remain in good stead for the season as Sporting comes into the match in first place while Toronto occupies third place.
Kansas City is unbeaten in its last six league games and has won five matches over that stretch, but the club suffered a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City in a friendly match on Wednesday.
"It would be interesting if we got that kind of workout on a weekly basis," Sporting head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "It's a great team for us to play for a number of reasons. Obviously, for us, our focus is on the league. We are playing a big game on Saturday and that is where our concentration is and was.
"Our biggest thing is we want to make sure to get out of here unscathed, because as you know we have had quite a few injuries over the course of the season. So from that perspective, everyone got out of there with no injuries, which was great. It was a good environment, a good game for us, a good 45 minutes for both groups and now we can get ready for the game we have to get ready for and that is Toronto."
Benny Feilhaber assisted on Sporting's lone goal of the match, and the former United States international insisted that while friendly matches against European sides remain important in the American soccer landscape, it was simply another day of preparation for Saturday's tilt.
"This is a big event individually and obviously for the fans," the midfielder said. "We want to be prepared for the Toronto game on Saturday, and this was essentially another day in the preparation for that game. We got what we wanted out of the game but were unfortunate not to get a better result. We'll move on and be very confident going into Toronto."
Toronto, meanwhile, enters the game with just one league loss in its last 10 outings.
The Reds also tasted defeat in a friendly match on Wednesday, but their 3-2 loss to Tottenham was a bit more respectable.
Toronto came back from a two-goal deficit to level the score only to see Spurs grab a late winner. Dwayne De Rosario was one of the leaders of the second- half resurgence.
"I just told the guys we didn't come here to spectate," De Rosario said. "This is our field, this is our home. We have to take it to them. I think we did that in the second half and we were able to put them under pressure and force them to cough up the balls where we could attack and counter-attack. We started to build confidence from that."
Kansas City and Toronto have met once already this season, playing to a 2-2 draw at Sporting Park on May 23. They will meet once more in regular season play as Sporting will host the Reds on Aug. 16.