Columbus (5-6-5) at Sporting Kansas City (6-5-5)

  • Game info: 8:30 pm EDT Sat Jun 29, 2013
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Fresh off signing a new contract to stay with the team, Graham Zusi looks to help Sporting Kansas City end its four-game winless streak when it hosts the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.

After earning a starting spot with the U.S. national team this summer, Zusi chose to remain with Kansas City on Friday with a deal the terms of which will not be disclosed, per team policy.

It was a big win for Sporting KC (6-5-5) as the star playmaker had generated international interest, including from English Premier League clubs.

“Kansas City is like home for me and I am excited to be able to continue playing for this outstanding club, fans and city,” Zusi told the team’s official website. “Our goal is to win championships and I will do whatever it takes to achieve that with this team.”

The midfielder was an All-Star and MVP finalist last season after recording five goals and 16 assists. This season, he has three goals and five assists in 14 matches.

Zusi, who has an assist in each of his last two games against the Crew, will try to help his club avoid its first five-game winless streak since a 10-game drought in 2011. Sporting KC’s last victory was 1-0 victory at Houston on May 12.

Kansas City has also totaled two goals during a season-high three-game home winless streak.

Claudio Bieler has a team-best seven goals, but he’s scored once in his last six matches.

Dom Dwyer may be able to provide a boost after getting recalled from his loan to USL PRO affiliate Orlando City Soccer Club. The forward had 18 goals in all competitions for the Lions, including a record 15 in 13 league games. He scored three goals in Orlando City’s surprising run to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

The Crew have gone 4-1-1 in their last six visits to Kansas City, winning 2-1 there on a pair of scores by Jairo Arrieta on July 28.

After knocking off Eastern Conference-leading Montreal 2-0 on June 15, the Crew (5-6-5) weren’t able to maintain that form in a 2-1 loss to Chicago last Saturday.

Federico Higuain scored on a penalty kick in the seventh minute for Columbus. Higuain has scored four of his five goals from the penalty spot, though he’s tied for most shots in the league with 57 and ranks sixth in shots on goal with 21.

“He’s a set-up guy,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “He’s going to occasionally score. The good thing for us is he’s very dangerous on set pieces and he’s taking the penalty kicks, which is not that easy.”

Dominic Oduro, who leads the Crew with seven goals, has three in his last five road matches.

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Saturday, Jun 29