In a season in which they were left for dead early, Sporting Kansas City appear to have some life after a recent stretch in which they've won or tied four of their past five MLS matches.
Sporting KC (3-8-4, 13 points) will host FC Dallas (6-3-5, 23 points) Wednesday night with a chance to climb even closer to the red line in the Western Conference. Sporting KC are three points behind a three-way tie for the ninth and the final playoff spot with just over half the regular season left.
The club's recent performances have been up and down. SKC scored two goals for the first time all season in their first road win at Seattle in on May 7. Then they scored three goals for the first time in a 3-0 victory over Minnesota United six days later.
After a decisive 4-0 loss at St. Louis on May 20, SKC hit the four-goal plateau Sunday at home against Portland in a 4-1 victory.
"Since the Seattle game we've been very good in a lot of areas," Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said following the win over Portland. "When you're good with the ball, you can have purposeful chances with it. (Sunday), we were pretty good with the ball."
Dallas is in solid position, just three points out of first place in the Western Conference. Dallas is riding a five-game unbeaten streak in MLS matches (2-0-3).
In its last match Saturday in San Jose, Nkosi Tafari scored his second goal of the season in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time to help earn a point on the road in a 1-1 draw. Tafari rose up over a group of defenders for a header in the box off a corner kick.
"I told Nkosi in the 89th minute to go forward," Dallas coach Nico Estevez said. "Teams that are brave and take risks get rewarded. I'm really happy that our players got at least a point because they put everything into this game to get more."
Kansas City and Dallas last met on March 18 in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas overcame an early goal by Daniel Salloi to win 2-1 with second-half tallies from Alan Velasco and Jesus Ferreira. Dallas has won the last two head-to-head meetings, each by a 2-1 score.
--Field Level Media