KANSAS CITY, KS – It’s a battle for the top spot in the Western Conference on Saturday night when Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park.
KICKOFF: 6 p.m. PT | TV: TSN2 | RADIO: TSN 1040
Here are the key storylines to watch.
BEST IN THE WEST?
It’s getting crowded at the top of the Western Conference.
The ‘Caps remain in first heading into the weekend, but Portland Timbers, Sporting Kansas City, and Seattle Sounders FC each trail them by just one point. Portland and Seattle have both played one more game than Vancouver, while Sporting KC have a game in hand.
The winner of Saturday’s match, therefore, will take pole position.
A Whitecaps FC win would also clinch their berth in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. Click here to view their different playoff scenarios in the event of a draw or loss.
Whitecaps FC saw their seven-match unbeaten run come to an end on Wednesday night with a 3-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC. It was a disappointing end to a fantastic run of form for Vancouver, who had lost just one game in the two months prior.
“We're top of the table with four games to go,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said following Wednesday’s match. “Not many people would have said that would have happened, but it is happening … We've lost an unbeaten run, now we have to start a new run. It's about how you bounce back.”
The ‘Caps have only lost two matches in a row once this season – and that was back in March.
Sporting KC have been virtually unbeatable at Chlidren’s Mercy Park this season.
Actually, they have been unbeatable.
In fact, Sporting KC are the only team that remains undefeated at home (10W-0L-5D) in 2017. Even more impressive? They haven’t lost at home in 24 league matches, the third-longest such streak in MLS history. And the ‘Caps have never won there, either. Not in MLS play, at least.
“We go into a very difficult environment on Saturday,” Robinson said. “An environment where we’ve never won. That’s clear … we’re not favourites. They’re clear favourites. We’ve got to go there, roll our sleeves up, and we’ve got to show that we’re all men. Because it’s going to be a battle.”