The return of Teal Bunbury gives surging Sporting Kansas City another weapon on the offensive side.
Sporting KC goes for the first 4-0 start in team history Sunday night when Chivas tries to avoid dropping its first three at home for the first time.
Gone the last two matches on international duty with the U.S. U-23 national team, Bunbury is back with Sporting (3-0-0) after a 3-all draw with El Salvador on Monday eliminated the U.S. from Olympic contention.
“It’s kind of bittersweet for him,” midfielder Graham Zusi told Kansas City’s official website. “It’s unfortunate to not see him play in the Olympics, but we’re glad to have him back with the team.”
Sporting coach Peter Vermes hasn’t announced whether Bunbury will start Sunday, but having C.J. Sapong start a third straight game isn’t a bad option, either. The reigning MLS rookie of the year has two goals - one in each of the first two games - and is tied with Kei Kamara for the team scoring lead.
Kamara, among the MLS leaders with 24 shots and 11 on goal, will look to find the back of the net in a third consecutive match after recording the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas last Sunday.
Zusi, who has a goal and four assists, set up Kamara’s goal and one by Aurelien Collin in first-half stoppage time to help Kansas City improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2006.
“We’ve shown in the first three games that we can be a very good team,” said midfielder Paulo Nagamura, who was acquired from Chivas on Nov. 29 for a supplemental first-round draft pick. “It we (prepare like we have been), I think we can go to Los Angeles and get some points.”
Kansas City goes for a third straight win over Chivas in Carson, Calif., following a 3-2 victory in its last visit March 19, 2011.
Sapong scored two minutes into that game - the season opener for both clubs - for the fastest goal by a rookie in MLS history.
Chivas (1-2-0), meanwhile, returns home after picking up its first victory - and scoring its first goal of the season - in a 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake on March 24.
With Angel missing a second straight game with a concussion, rookie Casey Townsend stepped up to net his first professional goal in the 72nd minute.
Dan Kennedy made three saves after yielding one goal in each of the first two games - both 1-0 home losses.
“We’ve just got to stay sound defensively,” Townsend told Chivas’ official website. “Our defense has played great all year, but they have a lot of weapons and we’ve got to stay focused for the 90 minutes and get a couple goals ourselves.”
That could be difficult against Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, who has allowed one goal in 2012.
Nielsen made three saves in Kansas City’s last road match in this series.
These teams played to a 1-all draw at Livestrong Sporting Park on July 9.