March 9, 2018 / 9:10 PM / 7 months ago

Sporting KC eyes reversal when it visits Fire

A rare season-opening home loss has Sporting Kansas City trying to get untracked on the road when it plays the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

The match at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., will be the first game of the season for the Fire, which was third in the Eastern Conference last season with 16-11-7 record.

“We’re ready to start. The fans are ready. We can’t wait,” Fire defender Johan Kappelhof said.

SKC (0-1-0) opened with a 2-0 home loss to New York City FC on Sunday. It was the club’s first season-opening loss since 2014 and the first time it dropped a home opener at Children’s Mercy Park since it debuted in 2011.

“They lost the first game so we expect them to have energy and come at us,” Kappelhof said. “We’ve prepared for that this week in training. We have to give the same energy or more.”

SKC has lost its past three visits to Chicago since 2013 and its 18 road defeats (4-18-2) to the Fire represent the most against any MLS opponent.

Chicago features German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger in his second season in the league and 2017 MLS scoring champion Nemanja Nikolic, who scored 19 of his 24 goals at home.

Sporting KC looked unusually disjointed against NYCFC, but midfielder Ilie Sanchez said the insertion of several new players into the lineup was no excuse.

“Many players from last year are playing,” he said. “We need to come together and work hard to get the result. We expect a really good opponent but we also expect more from ourselves.”

It marked just the second time since the start of 2017 that Peter Vermes’ team had conceded two goals in a home game, first doing so in a 3-2 win over Chicago last July.

—Field Level Media

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