It’s been 326 minutes since Sporting Kansas City scored at home.
Sporting Kansas City (11-6-4) has posted two scoreless draws and a 1-0 loss at home since beating league-worst Toronto FC 2-0 at Livestrong on June 16. Julio Cesar’s tally in the 34th minute of that contest is the club’s last goal at home.
“I think we’ve created plenty of chances,” midfielder Graham Zusi told Kansas City’s official website after last Saturday’s draw with New England. “It’s all about sticking them in the back of the net now.”
These clubs have excelled defensively, with Kansas City yielding 19 goals in 21 games for the league’s best ratio and Columbus (7-7-4) giving up 19 in 18 contests.
The home team, however, will be without Collin, who suffered two facial fractures that forced him to exit Wednesday’s All-Star game in the first half. Collin, who has three goals and has started every game this season, will miss one to two weeks.
His absence figures to make it difficult for Jimmy Nielsen to record his league-leading 10th shutout. Nielsen has posted three in his last four games.
It was a frustrating defeat for the Crew, who held a 16-8 advantage in shots and owned 68 percent of the possession.
“That game showed we can play against the best teams, but our game needs to be more mature,” coach Robert Warzycha told the Crew’s official website.
Although Kansas City’s attack has been floundering, Columbus is wary of containing Bunbury, Kamara and C.J. Sapong in this rematch.
“We know they’re big guys, they’re speedy,” Crew defender Chad Marshall said. “We’ve got to be physical with them, and slow the pace of the game down. They like to get after you quickly with numbers.”
Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum did not record a save the last time these teams met. Gruenebaum is a Kansas City native who has posted seven shutouts to also rank among the league leaders.
Both clubs played home friendlies Tuesday. Columbus won 2-1 over English club Stoke City and Kansas City fell 3-0 to French champion Montpellier.
Kansas City coach Peter Vermes used many of his reserves in that contest including forward Konrad Warzycha, the Polish-born son of the Crew coach. Warzycha has played in one MLS match so it seems unlikely he will get to face his father’s team for the first time.
Vermes remains without midfielder Roger Espinoza, who is playing for Honduras in the Olympics.
Marshall sat out Tuesday for Columbus with a sprained ankle, but should play Saturday.