Vancouver, BC – Sporting Kansas City will look to continue its domination of the 2012 Major League Soccer season on Wednesday when it heads to BC Place to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
With a perfect 6-0-0 record, Sporting has been the toast of MLS this season. The club's staunch defense set an MLS record this season by going 335 minutes without allowing a shot on goal.
"There are a lot of things that go into that record: all 11 of us defending as a whole, applying pressure, even a little luck," said Sporting defender Matt Besler. "The most important thing for us is the shutout streak. Shutting teams out gives us a chance to win every week."
Despite being held to just a goal per game in its last three outings, Sporting has been able to narrowly preserve its perfect record by keeping three consecutive clean sheets.
"We're full of confidence," said Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. "When you're solid defensively and you create chances, you have a belief that you're going to manage the game and you're going to win."
Not only has head coach Peter Vermes assembled a quality squad, but he has them in the right frame of mind to achieve success on a weekly basis.
"The biggest quality about our group of guys right now is that there are very hungry and they realize what is ahead of them," Vermes said. "They know that the next game now is what they have to focus on and it takes a lot of energy.
"It's a whole week of preparation. It's trying to get recovered from a physical perspective and making that turn around. Those other things don't really matter at the point. What matters is focusing on our next game."
Sporting's 1-0 defeat of Real Salt Lake at the weekend means that the preparation for its trip to Vancouver has been brought front and center.
The Whitecaps got off to a terrific start to the new season, but faltered in their last outing. A four-game unbeaten start that yielded eight points was brought to a halt on April 7 when the 'Caps lost to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Vancouver's offseason moves have proven to be quite beneficial as striker Sebastien Le Toux leads the team in scoring and head coach Martin Rennie has the team playing organized soccer.
One area of concern for the 'Caps is the lack of production from Eric Hassli, who netted 10 goals for the team last season.
The Frenchman has failed to score in his last 14 appearances dating back to last season, but his primary strike partner has stressed the importance of staying patient.
"The most important thing is to stay positive," Le Toux told MLSsoccer.com of his strike partner's scoring drought. "I told him last year I played 22 games [with only one goal], and then at the end of the year I scored 10 goals and one in the playoffs, so it's just a matter of time, and he'll find the net very soon."
Rennie doesn't seem too worried either, stating that Hassli's overall play has been positive and that the floodgates may open once he finds his first goal of the season.
"He's missed a couple of games with little knocks," Rennie told MLSsoccer.com. "With forwards they do get judged on goals, but as a coach you have to judge them on not just the goals, but all the other things they're doing, and I think he's doing a lot of other things. Defending well from the front, pressing from the front, holding the ball up, linking up quite well, but as a striker he needs a goal.
"If he gets one, he could go on a run of getting a few. Hopefully we could start that on Wednesday."