Sporting tries to start new streak against Fire

10:52 AM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City will make its home debut on Saturday when the club welcomes the winless Chicago Fire to Sporting Park.

Kansas City opened the campaign with a road win at Philadelphia before falling 2-1 at Toronto FC last weekend.

The club was unable to overcome a sluggish first half that saw Sporting make some critical mistakes, putting the team in a 2-0 hole that it was ultimately unable to climb out from.

"They pushed the game and they made the most of their opportunities. We made a big mistake early on to get them into the game that gave them some confidence," said Sporting manager Peter Vermes. "Getting the second goal early on put us behind the 8-ball pretty early. Two goals is a big deficit to come back from. I thought they closed the half out well, they slowed the game down and didn't give us much to get into the rhythm or anything."

One of the positives for Sporting from the match was the fact that Designated Player Claudio Bieler scored for the second time in as many games, making the loan spell of forward Kei Kamara with Norwich City much easier to take.

The defeat in Toronto also snapped a 13-game unbeaten streak in league play dating back to last year for Sporting, but Vermes was encouraged by his team's second-half display.

"The second half I thought our guys did a very good job of changing the pace of the game and pushing the tempo a little bit," Vermes said. "We created quite a few opportunities, maybe a little unlucky here or there, but at the end of the day they did well in the first half we did well in the second half."

Chicago has started its season with back-to-back losses for only the second time in club history, and much of the club's troubles can be linked to an attack that has yet to produce a goal this season.

The Fire sustained a 1-0 defeat against Montreal last weekend after a heavy 4-0 setback at Los Angeles to open the season.

Fire head coach Frank Klopas will be worried that his team has yet to score, but he also knows that the solution is quite simple.

"We've got to put our chances away," Klopas said. "I thought in the first half we had some good looks. We have got to be better in the final third. It's difficult when you create the opportunities but don't put them away. The game sometimes is not fair because out of nothing, we gave up a goal. I think in the run of play we got in some good spots, we just couldn't finish."

Another issue for the Fire is the injury absence of veteran defender Arne Friedrich, who missed the first two games of the season and has now traveled to Germany for treatment on his troublesome hamstring.

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