Kansas City, KS – Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC may be at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference table, but both sides will be trying to rebound from frustrating results last time out when they meet up at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday.
For Sporting, that result was a 1-1 draw against Red Bull New York in a match that saw Sporting claim just one point despite not giving up a shot on goal.
TFC meanwhile, is trying to bounce back from a disheartening defeat against Santos in the CONCACAF Champions League in midweek, a result that puts in jeopardy the club's ability to advance to the knockout round of the competition for the second successive year.
Sporting began the table-topping clash with New York by scoring in the first four minutes through Kei Kamara.
However, he inadvertently scored on his own net in the 28th to level the match, while New York was content to dig in defensively and play for the draw, which left Sporting head coach Peter Vermes a bit frustrated.
"At some point, teams have to come and get after you," Vermes said in the postgame news conference. "They can't just sit back. (New York) bunkered in tonight. They're happy to be leaving here with a point."
The match was troubling enough for Vermes, but things got worse when it was revealed that striker Teal Bunbury had suffered a torn ACL in the match.
The injury means that Bunbury's season has come to an end, although there was some positive news as Vermes revealed that wingers Bobby Convey and Jacob Peterson were both poised to return to training after both players missed the past few games because of injuries.
Sporting will be hungry for three points in Saturday's match with the club leading New York by one point with a game in hand at the top of the conference.
Toronto has had plenty to be disappointed about this season with the club sitting on the bottom of the East and riding a six-game winless streak in league play.
The one positive TFC was hoping for this season was more success in the CONCACAF Champions League, which they could have achieved with a home win against Mexican side Santos on Tuesday.
The hosts were locked in a 1-1 draw as the match entered the 89th minute, but Toronto allowed goals in the 90th and 92nd minutes to leave their hopes of advancing to the knockout round in trouble.
Toronto's final two games in the three-team group stage come on the road, leaving head coach Paul Mariner's team with plenty of work ahead of them.
Mariner was obviously frustrated after the match but he still found positives to take from the game despite the meltdown at the end.
"There's nowhere near that was a 3-1 game," Mariner said. "I thought we were a little tentative the first half. I thought the second half we were much better. They're a very good team and we matched them for 89 minutes."