Luchi Gonzalez insists his impressive record against Sporting Kansas City as FC Dallas boss will count for little in this latest meeting between the Western Conference rivals.
The 41-year-old is undefeated against Sporting and its head coach Peter Vermes in six encounters, winning five and drawing one of those since taking over at Dallas in 2018.
That includes a 2-1 win at Children’s Mercy Park two weeks ago, making the Toros the only side to beat SKC in its last eight league matches. But Gonzalez expects the visitors to be fired up for their trip to Toyota Stadium as they look to keep pressure on the New England Revolution in the Supporters’ Shield standings.
“Things have bounced our way historically but that game on Saturday, there is no guarantee of anything,” he said. “So, we have to know that we have the potential to take care of business and get a result. But things will only get harder, especially against a team that we had a favorable result at their home two weeks ago. We know that’s going to be on their mind.”
Dallas enters Saturday’s game on a great run of form, having won three and drawn one of its last four matches.
Sporting has won just one of its last three league matches, meanwhile, and was thrashed 6-1 by Liga MX side Club Leon in the Leagues Cup in midweek.
Vermes fielded a much-changed lineup for that cup tie, with six of the starters aged 21 or younger, and has defended his decision to do so with this Dallas match taking priority.
“We’d like to win everything that we play in,” he said. “But unfortunately when you’re playing seven games in 22 days, I’m not going to risk guys that have high (physical) loads. I’m not going to risk them. It was obviously a very young team in a lot of respects. And that is what it is. That’s the decision I had to make.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
FC Dallas – Jesus Ferreira
Ferreira has played a key part in Dallas’ impressive run of form thanks to two goals in his last three appearances, after having failed to net in his first eight appearances of 2021. The United States forward also has three assists to his name this term, highlighting his all-round importance to this improving Dallas side.
Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell
Skipper Russell was on target against Dallas in the recent encounter between the sides but has not featured in any of Sporting’s three games since. The 31-year-old is poised to return on Saturday, though, and will be aiming to add to a return of three goals in his last four matches.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– FC Dallas has won three straight matches against Sporting Kansas City for the first time in club history (excluding breakaway shootout wins). Dallas is unbeaten against Sporting in the last six meetings (W5 D1), the longest it has gone without a defeat against Kansas City in MLS.
– FC Dallas’ 2-0 win over Austin FC last week extended its home unbeaten run to 18 games (W10 D8), the longest active run in MLS. It is the longest home unbeaten streak in MLS since Sporting Kansas City went 24 straight (including playoffs) without defeat at home from June 2016 to September 2017.
– Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in four straight away matches (W3 D1), the second-longest active run in MLS (San Jose – five straight). Kansas City last went five straight away matches without a loss in June-July 2014 during a five-match road winning streak.
– Szabolcs Schon has four assists in his last four games, including assisting both goals in Dallas’ 2-0 win over Austin FC on Saturday. Schon is the first FC Dallas player with multiple assists in a match in nearly two years, since Michael Barrios did so against Sporting Kansas City in October 2019.
– Sporting Kansas City’s scoreless draw at Colorado last week ended a 12-match goalscoring streak for the club. Kansas City has not been shut out in consecutive matches in over two years since a pair of losses to Atlanta and D.C. United in May 2019.