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United-Sporting Kansas City Preview
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Sporting Kansas City's recent U.S. Open Cup victory caused a well-deserved celebration on its home field.
It's been quite some time, though, since it won an MLS match there.
Kansas City looks to avoid its first five-game home MLS winless streak in nearly seven years as it goes for its fourth straight overall win against D.C. United on Saturday night.
Sporting K.C. won the franchise's second U.S. Open Cup by beating Seattle in penalty kicks Wednesday, earning an automatic berth into the CONCACAF Champions League.
"It's what we set out do as a club," coach Peter Vermes said. "Bringing that kind of competition to this facility and to this club is the next step in the direction that we want to go in."
Kei Kamara scored on a penalty kick in the 84th minute before converting another in the shootout.
"This is about as good as it gets," Kamara said. "Winning a major trophy in front of the best fans in the league, you couldn't ask for more than this. Everyone on the team deserves this moment. Everyone out in the crowd deserves this moment. I'm so happy for everyone."
Kansas City (12-7-4), though, hasn't given its fans much to celebrate during MLS play recently. It's 0-2-2 in its last four league games at home since beating Toronto 2-0 on June 16, and it hasn't gone five straight MLS home matches without a victory since Aug. 26-Oct. 8, 2005.
Sporting K.C. won 1-0 at New England last Saturday on Teal Bunbury's goal to end a three-game winless streak, and it will now look to extend its three-match winning streak against D.C. - all of which have ended 1-0.
C.J. Sapong scored in the third minute of extra time to lift Kansas City past United on March 10 in the nation's capital.
D.C. (11-7-3) trails Kansas City by four points in the Eastern Conference and is coming off a 1-0 win over Columbus last Saturday. Chris Pontius scored to help United stop a 1-3-0 skid.
Dwayne De Rosario injured his shoulder in the first half, but coach Ben Olsen said the 2011 MLS MVP will be ready to go Saturday.
With starting defenders Robbie Russell and Daniel Woolard still dealing with injuries, though, D.C. acquired defender Mike Chabala from Portland on Thursday to add depth. He practiced Friday and will travel with the team for Saturday's match.
Olsen said he'll also need to continue shifting certain players from their regular positions to make up for the injuries.
"We got a lot of guys minutes in spots they were not necessarily comfortable in (against the Crew)," Olsen told the team's official website Thursday. "Places where they might find themselves down the stretch, so that was a positive. We'll see how we hold up."
Though United have won seven straight at home, they have dropped three straight on the road and have gone 0-3-3 in their last six visits to Kansas City.
D.C.'s last win at K.C. was a 1-0 victory July 4, 2007.
Updated August 10, 2012