MONACO (AP) – After a mediocre start, Sporting Kansas City began a turnaround with a victory over FC Dallas in June. The resulting surge has lifted the club toward the top of the Eastern Conference.
Kansas City looks to continue its push for first place when it hosts Dallas on Saturday night.
Sporting KC (9-7-9) went 1-4-6 during a tough season-opening stretch of schedule before defeating Dallas 4-1 on June 12. That sparked its current 14-game roll, which has been helped in part by a heavy diet of home games.
Kansas City improved to 6-1-4 at Livestrong Park with a 1-0 victory over D.C. on Sunday. That moved it into second place in the East, four points behind Columbus.
With a favorable schedule over its remaining nine games, six of which are at home, Sporting KC sees overtaking the Crew as a reachable goal.
"They aren't going to be easy games because this is the point where everyone wants to get points," forward Kei Kamara told the team's official website. "All we have to keep doing is use our fans as our 12th man to keep helping us get those points."
Kamara scored his team-leading seventh goal Sunday, giving him four in the first six games of this nine-game homestand.
Jimmy Nielsen has also been outstanding during this stretch, recording two shutouts while giving up six goals.
Dallas (12-7-7) matched its longest winless streak of the season at three with a 1-0 loss to Seattle last Saturday. The club has continued to struggle since a hot start, going 2-3-3 over its last eight while getting shut out three times during that stretch.
Dallas is also dealing with lineup uncertainty. Defender George John didn't play last weekend because of a yellow-card suspension and replacement Zach Loyd left the backfield in the 24th minute with a hamstring injury.
"When Zach went out it was really hard to find someone to go into center back," coach Schellas Hyndman said. "There's a lot of things that have been talked about George John and a whole bunch of stuff that is going on, but I think you saw our team missing him."
John is reportedly being sought by Blackburn of the English Premier League. He traveled to Greece this week to collect his passport, which could signify his end with Dallas.
Loyd is questionable for Saturday while midfielder Daniel Cruz, ejected last week after receiving his second yellow card, will have to sit out.
The roster issues come as Dallas tries to hold on to the third spot in the West. It is two points behind second-place Seattle and two ahead of fourth-place Colorado.