SKC tests shutout streak against DCU

Sporting Kansas City will put its stout defensive form on the line when the club faces D.C. United at Sporting Park on Friday.

Kansas City, boasting a 2-1-2 record through its first five games of the season, has not conceded a goal since falling to Toronto FC by a 2-1 score on March 9.

The shutout streak reached 339 minutes following the club's 2-0 defeat of the Montreal Impact last time out, but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was quick to downplay its importance.

"That streak doesn't really matter," said Nielsen. "All that matters is winning.

"We had an outstanding performance [against Montreal]. It was so attractive; it was so sexy to watch. I was so proud. It's the best soccer we've played since I came here. As a team and individually, the only word for it is 'outstanding.'"

The victory saw Claudio Bieler notch his third goal in five games, his first since netting in each of Sporting's opening two matches of the season.

Graham Zusi bagged the other goal to cap an impressive month that included a tour with the United States national team for World Cup qualifiers.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence, but he's also a very good player," Sporting head coach Peter Vermes said of Zusi. "His game is definitely evolving, and the confidence is allowing him to do some of the things that he's progressed in on the field."

While Sporting enters the weekend in positive spirits, D.C. was left humbled by a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium last weekend. It was the club's first home loss in league play since the opening day of the 2012 season, which was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting.

"I don't think there's been good enough progression right now," said United head coach Ben Olsen. "But we've had some things to deal with. We've had some injuries and call-ups as an excuse, I suppose, and we've got some new guys fitting in - Rafael [on Saturday] and [Dwayne De Rosario] in a new position.

"I'm not overly alarmed. I don't like what's going on right now, the last two games in particular. But I do think that we have some new pieces and we are still finding out who we are, even though we have a lot of the same guys."

Bill Hamid continued his fine start to the season by making seven saves against Columbus. His season tally of 20 stops ranks him second in MLS behind Chivas USA's Dan Kennedy, who has produced 23 saves.

"We're asking a lot of Bill Hamid right now," said Olsen. "He's a monster. And I wish I didn't have to see him make so many great saves."