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FC Dallas-Sporting Kansas City Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- Following a dominant effort in its home opener, Sporting Kansas City is on the verge of matching its best start in six years. That attempt, however, will come against one of the few teams to win at Livestrong Sporting Park.
FC Dallas earned that victory in stunning fashion last season and will try to play spoiler again Sunday night.
After winning its season opener on a late goal, Sporting KC (2-0-0) went the less-dramatic route last weekend with a 3-0 victory against New England. Reigning rookie of the year C.J. Sapong capped the scoring with his second goal in as many games.
Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi each contributed a goal and an assist, and Jimmy Nielsen made six saves during his second straight shutout.
"I think everybody was having fun out there tonight, but our mentality was right too," defender Chance Myers said.
The result has the team closing in on its first 3-0-0 start since 2006, and it might have some extra motivation in doing so.
FC Dallas (1-0-1) won 3-2 in Kansas City on Aug. 27 by scoring a pair of goals after the 88th minute, with Bobby Warshaw tallying the winner in stoppage time. Including last year's playoffs, Sporting Kansas City is 11-3-6 all-time at its new home.
"We all know what happened the last time Dallas came to town," Myers said.
Sunday's visit will mark the only game between the teams this season. Kansas City has dropped four of the past six matchups and is 1-3-1 in the last five at home.
Sporting KC earned one of those wins over Dallas last season as Zusi scored twice during a 4-1 road victory June 12.
"They're just a team that has some guys that are always dangerous," Zusi said. "They can seem asleep for 85 minutes and then all of a sudden come on and get a couple of goals."
Dallas enters this game following a 1-all draw with Portland last week that left coach Schellas Hyndman pleased with his short-handed club.
"I thought they matched the intensity that Portland brought and I think Portland's a very good team. I'm very happy we fought all the way down to the last second," he said.
Blas Perez scored the lone goal in his second MLS game after recording a pair of assists in a 2-1 victory over New York during the season opener March 11.
FC Dallas might need some more help from its 31-year-old Panamanian striker with forwards David Ferreira and Fabian Castillo dealing with injuries.
Former Kansas City striker Scott Sealy is expected to sit out because of an ailing right knee, while Brek Shea (United States) and Carlos Rodriguez (Panama) are off with their respective Olympic squads for qualifying.
Sporting KC striker Teal Bunbury is also with the U.S. team.
Updated March 24, 2012