Major League Soccer

FC Dallas-Sporting Kansas City Preview

Peter Vermes returns to the Sporting Kansas City dugout on Saturday with the aim of ending FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez's impressive unbeaten run in this fixture.

Sporting boss Vermes missed the 1-1 draw with San Jose Earthquakes and 3-1 win at Seattle Sounders after testing positive for coronavirus, but he has been cleared to return against Dallas.

That victory at Lumen Field moved Sporting within two points of Western Conference leaders Seattle and they also have a game in hand to play.

Vermes will take charge of his 200th Sporting match this weekend and is raring to go following his recent spell in self-isolation.

"I feel great... I'm not joking," he said. "I'm back to my old routine... I was in here early this morning.

"I'll be really honest with you, I probably had two days where I had what you might call like a minor cold, and really, that was about the extent of it.

"So I feel really good and I'm just glad to be back up and running again."

Something has to give when 10th-placed Dallas visit Children's Mercy Park.

The Toros have lost all seven of their away games in 2021, failing to score in five of those, but under-pressure Gonzalez has four wins and a draw in his last five head-to-head encounters with Sporting.

"It's good know that record historically, that helps build confidence in what we can do," Gonzalez said.

"But it's in the past, it's not going to fight for us on Saturday. We've got to do the fighting, the believing, and the work.

"It's nice to know that it can be done but it's going to be difficult, most teams don't get that done over there against a very good side in Kansas City. We need to be up for the challenge and we need to bring our best."

Sporting Kansas City - Daniel Salloi

Salloi's red-hot streak has showed few signs of stopping anytime soon, the Hungarian striker having netted five goals in his last five games and nine for the season overall. That includes five game-winning strikes, while his goal last week went a long way to helping Sporting to what could prove to be a truly massive victory against the Sounders.

FC Dallas - Szabolcs Schon

Hungary international Schon made his first MLS start in last week's 4-0 win against LA Galaxy and picked up an assist for the third of Pepi's goals. Gonzalez has regularly rotated out wide this term, but there is every chance that Schon could hold down a starting spot and form a deadly partnership with star man Pepi, who this week signed a new contract with Dallas.

- FC Dallas are unbeaten against Sporting Kansas City in five straight MLS matches (W4 D1) for the first time ever. Dallas have won the last two meetings and have only won three in a row once over Kansas City, doing so from July 1999 to June 2000, though one of those wins came in a breakaway shootout.

- Sporting Kansas City have won four of their last five matches (D1) after a 3-1 win at Seattle last week. That win was the seventh time Sporting has won a match in which it conceded a goal this season, which is the most in MLS.

- Sporting Kansas City's win in Seattle means FC Dallas now have the longest active home unbeaten run in MLS (17 games, including playoffs). Dallas, however, has lost eight straight away matches going back to last season's playoffs, the second-longest road losing streak in team history after a nine-match run from October 1999 to May 2000 (including playoffs).

- Salloi has scored in each of his last four matches at Children's Mercy Park, netting five goals in that time. Only two players in Sporting Kansas City history have scored in five successive home matches: Jacob Peterson in 2016 and Scott Sealy in 2006.

- Pepi became the youngest player to score a hat-trick in MLS at 18 years, 196 days against the Galaxy. The three goals took him to 11 for his career in the regular season, making him the fourth youngest to double-digit goals in MLS history behind just Freddy Adu, Diego Fagundez and Jozy Altidore.

Updated July 30, 2021

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