Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City will look to nail down
first place in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday when the club welcomes to
the Philadelphia Union to Livestrong Sporting Park.
Kansas City has spent much of the season atop the East, but D.C. United's
late-season surge has prevented the club from clinching the top spot ahead of
Sporting leads D.C. by three points with one match to go, so all it needs to
secure the top seed in the East is a draw with the Union.
The club could be buoyed by the possible return of Roger Espinoza. The
Honduran midfielder sprained his ankle two weeks ago and returned to training
on Monday, though he was still uncertain as to whether or not he would feature
in the club's regular season finale.
"If the game was right now," he told MLSsoccer.com on Monday, "I couldn't
If push came to shove, Espinoza would likely play in the match. But Sporting
is already in the playoffs and the potential for the injury to flare up would
increase at the wrong time should he take the field against Philadelphia.
"We've still got a few hours before the [Philadelphia] game," he said. "I'll
see how I feel the rest of [Monday] and [Tuesday], or even Wednesday morning
or later. It was sore at the beginning, like any injury, but it loosened up.
"I'm taking it slow, though, because you don't know - when you're trying to go
forward - if you're going to hurt it again."
Peter Vermes' men would normally stand a good chance to claim a home point in
their sleep, but they will be coming up against a Union side that has won
three of its last five league matches.
It's too little too late for the Union, who were eliminated from playoff
contention weeks ago, but at the heart of the impressive run has been striker
McInerney has scored in four consecutive matches, but head coach John
Hackworth still wants to see more from his budding star.
"For me, I'm always going to be a little bit critical of guys in terms of
areas to improve," Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com. "Jack played well the other
night, there's no question. But I still think he can get better. His reactions
to certain moments have to be immediate. And some of his gesturing to
teammates, to referees, to opponents, it's not even worth doing."
The Sports Network