Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Recent weeks have been frustrating for both
the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City, and the two sides will meet up at
Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday both in need of three points.
Neither side has had a lot of luck in front of goal recently with Columbus
scoring five times in its last six games, while Sporting hasn't fared any
better with three goals in four games.
The Crew will try to overturn a 2-0 defeat at home against Sporting from two
weeks ago, and the key could be the play of midfield duo Dilly Duka and Jairo
Duka started only his fourth game of the season in the Crew's 1-0 win over
D.C. United last time out, while Arrieta set up the only goal of the match and
brings with him a more offensive approach in the middle of the field.
Duka's numbers may not reflect his effectiveness - with one assist in eight
appearances this season - but Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum is aware of his
"He's fun to watch," Gruenebaum said of Duka. "He brings an element to the
team I felt was lacking, a little creativity, a little bit of deception."
After two straight losses, the 1-0 win over United was a step in the right
direction for head coach Robert Warzycha, who thought that his team's overall
effort in the win was the biggest difference.
"I saw more intensity to be honest with you," the coach said. "We worked
harder and there were no mental lapses. If you don't have any mistakes and you
don't give up the goal, which can change the game, we can be very good."
Kansas City is a team that knows all too well how frustrating it can be when
you don't score goals.
The club has been held without a goal in its last three home games, including
a 0-0 draw with the New England Revolution last time out in league play.
"When you make a clean sheet, you're guaranteed at least a point," said
Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen after the draw. "When we couldn't put in the
goals today - all right, we get one point. It's better than nothing. But I'm
struggling to stand here being satisfied."
With only two wins from its last eight games, there shouldn't be anyone in
Kansas City who is satisfied. But midfielder Graham Zusi, while frustrated,
doesn't think the solution is overly complicated.
"It's frustrating. I'm not going to lie," Zusi said. "It's not from a lack of
opportunities, either. I think we've created plenty of chances. It's all about
sticking them in the back of the net now."
Despite its struggles in recent games, Sporting still enters the weekend just
one point back of Red Bull New York for the top spot in the Eastern
However, the club was dealt a small blow on Wednesday in the MLS All-Star Game
when defender Aurelien Collin sustained two facial fractures after a collision
with Chelsea's Michael Essien.
Collin is expected to miss 1-2 weeks and he has played a major role in Kansas
City keeping nine clean sheets so far this season, starting all 21 games for
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