Major League Soccer

Crew and SKC looking to ignite playoff push

CREW (5-9-2) VS. SPORTING KC (3-5-7)
5:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, DAZN, ST-OH, FSKC, FS-M

After an extended break from MLS play, the Columbus Crew host Sporting Kansas City on Sunday with each team looking to reset their season.

Sporting K.C. (3-5-7, 16 points) have a win and six ties in their past 11 matches to offset a 2-1-1 mark to open the campaign. Kansas City is 10th in the Western Conference entering the weekend, three points from a postseason berth.

Columbus (5-9-2, 17 points) began 4-1-1 under new coach Caleb Porter but since then has a win and a draw in 10 matches and sits 10th in the East, two points off the playoff line. The Crew are winless in their past four games (0-3-1).

“We can’t play all 18 games (remaining), so we need to compartmentalize,” Porter said. “Right now, we have one mission and that’s to win the next game and the next game, then get in the playoffs. The group is really fighting and giving everything. They are bought in. I am really pleased with that.”

MLS took a break from competition with the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, so the Crew last played a league game on June 1. Since then they won their first U.S. Open Cup match but were eliminated in the Round of 16 on Tuesday by Atlanta United.

SKC played Toronto FC on June 7 in league play before losing to Minnesota United in the fourth round of the Open Cup on June 12. Afterward, coach Peter Vermes gave the Sporting players some time off to refresh mentally and physically.

“That break in there was really good for them at this point of the season with us trying to make a push here at the end of the season,” he said.

The Crew will play their first MLS match since Zack Steffen, last season’s league Goalkeeper of the Year, transferred to Manchester City of the Premier League. Either Jon Kempin or Joe Bendik will start.

–Field Level Media

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