Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo will renew acquaintances at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday as the two sides square off as Western Conference rivals.
Sporting and Houston are very familiar with each other after meeting each year in the Eastern Conference playoffs from 2011-13.
And despite the fact that both teams moved from the East to the West this season, the rivalry between the two certainly won't have diminished.
Sporting enters the contest following a late 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy, snapping the club's four-game unbeaten streak.
Houston, meanwhile, owns just one win from its last six games, giving the team nine points from its opening seven contests this season.
The Dynamo went down 1-0 in the first half at D.C. United last weekend on a free kick from Chris Rolfe. But Houston battled back to claim a point in a 1-1 deadlock as Ricardo Clark scored on the rebound from Will Bruin's header to give the team a second successive draw.
Clark has now scored in each of Houston's last two games, and fellow midfielder Brad Davis believes it is important for the club to get this kind of production from the United States international.
"I think it's extremely important for us," Davis said of Clark's recent ability to get forward and score goals. "Rico's in the middle of the park and that's one of the things we want out of him. We know how honest he is defensively, but you want him to be able to get up the park and get close to the forwards and get those types of chances and that's what he did."
Like Houston, Sporting enters the match with nine points from seven games, but SKC will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Galaxy, which got the winning goal four minutes into stoppage time through Omar Gonzalez.
Despite the defeat Sporting head coach Peter Vermes felt as though his side played well and certainly deserved something from the game, and he believes that his team just needs to stay focused on playing its game and everything else will fall into place.
"I thought the guys battled for the time they had so it is unfortunate we are leaving out of here without anything, but that is the way it goes sometimes," said Vermes. "We are going to keep getting better because of that as the season goes on. You have to be able to play if you are going to get results, and we just have to make sure we are staying focused on doing that."
One positive that has emerged over the past few games is the play of Krisztian Nemeth, who has scored each of the club's last two goals.
Nemeth was signed in the offseason after spending three years in the Netherlands with Roda, and with Sporting's leading scorer being defender Ike Opara, who is out for an extended period of time because of an Achilles injury, Nemeth's emergence is important.