Sporting Kansas City’s new signing Erik Thommy is hoping to help Peter Vermes’ side end a poor run of form as he targets a potential debut against Western Conference leaders Los Angeles FC.
Thommy has joined Kansas City from Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart, and the 27-year-old defender will be available to make his Major League Soccer bow Saturday when the hosts bid to snap a three-match home losing streak against LAFC.
“I want to help the team. They are not in the best situation, I think, but there’s a lot of potential inside the team,” Thommy said. “They play well, sometimes they’re unlucky at the moment, but I’m here to help them.
“I talked to the coach, he showed me a lot of the team and knew a lot about me, which gives a good feeling. To be honest, I didn’t watch the games before because of the time (difference), but when Kansas called me, I recognized that the MLS developed a lot in the last years, really fast. You can see everything is going in the right direction.”
LAFC, meanwhile, is vying with Austin FC to top the Western Conference after winning four of its last five league games, and has been boosted by two new arrivals of their own.
In a 2-1 win over Nashville last time out, boss Steve Cherundolo was able to start Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini and introduce Gareth Bale from the bench and was pleased by the impact made by both men.
“Giorgio we chose to start and to see how far his legs would take him after a very short preseason,” Cherundolo said. “A player of his caliber prides himself in not making mistakes, He can say he played a mistake-free game. He is a world-class defender.
“Gareth was excellent (as well). Every touch was great. His quality on the ball is incredible.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City – Daniel Salloi
Only Johnny Russell (six) has scored more than the Hungarian’s four goals for Kansas City this term, each of which have come from open play. He will be key to the hosts’ hopes of causing an upset in this encounter.
Los Angeles FC – Gareth Bale
Bale only played 20 minutes from the bench last time out, but if the five-time UEFA Champions League winner is handed more game time this weekend, his attacking quality could prove decisive.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The eight meetings between Sporting Kansas City and Los Angeles FC have been split, with each team winning four times. LAFC has scored 14 goals in its four wins over Sporting, but has managed just three goals in the four defeats.
– Sporting Kansas City has lost three straight home matches for the first time since August-September 2014. Sporting has never lost four straight home MLS matches in regulation time, but did lose five straight – including a breakaway shootout loss in the fourth match of the streak – from September 1998 to April 1999.
– Los Angeles FC is the sixth team in MLS history to have at least 42 points through the first 20 matches of the season. LAFC had 46 points at this stage in 2019, making them one of two teams, along with LA Galaxy (46 in 1998, 43 in 2010), to have 42 points after 20 games multiple times.
– Roger Espinoza will miss Sporting’s match against LAFC after receiving a red card against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. It was Espinoza’s 13th career red card in MLS play, three more than any other player in league history.
– Los Angeles FC’s 2-1 win over Nashville on Sunday was the 14th straight time LAFC has won a match in which it has taken a lead at any point. The last team to record a longer streak was Seattle (19 straight) in 2018-19.