for this game

SKC eyeing postseason spot ahead of home clash with Fire

Oct 9, 2014 - 8:42 PM Kansas City, KS ( - Sporting Kansas City can clinch a postseason berth this weekend, but the club will need a bit of help.

The reigning MLS Cup champions must start by defeating the Chicago Fire at Sporting Park on Friday, but they also will need the Columbus Crew to lose to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

But claiming on win on Friday will be no easy task for Sporting, a club that has managed just one victory in its last seven league outings.

Kansas City appeared to be on the upswing after a 4-0 demolition of Chivas USA on Sept. 12, but a narrow loss to the New England Revolution and a scoreless draw with D.C. United has kept the club in an ill-timed rut.

Sporting's poor run of form has left the club scrambling to lock down a playoff spot as it enters the weekend in third place with 46 points.

"Yeah, look, it comes down to this every year doesn't it?" SKC head coach Peter Vermes said of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. "Towards the end of the season it's a pretty close packed-in group and, you know, I always say every game is important, but obviously there is a little more significance when everybody sees what's left and how much points are there and all that stuff. It is what it is, it's really about getting to the playoffs and then it all starts all over again."

Three points at Sporting Park also may be hard to come by given the fact that Chicago does not ship many games.

The Fire have lost just eight matches in league play this term, the fewest of any team in the East. But an MLS-record total of 18 draws has left the club second from bottom in the table and already eliminated from postseason contention.

True to form, Chicago enters Friday's contest having tied four of its last five league contests, most recently playing to a scoreless draw with the last- place Montreal Impact.

"It's pretty tough," said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. "As the game goes, and you've been watching enough games over the time following the Fire, there's a lot of good players playing the game. To get those many ties, I wouldn't say it's easy or hard to do, but it's not usual. The thing for me is, at least we didn't lose some of those games where we could've, and I think we probably could've won a few more that we tied. This is a difficult one, but something we have to work on."

With Chicago having little to play for on Friday, Yallop could use the match as an opportunity to shape his lineup for next season.

"I've been looking to next year for a little bit moving forward," he said following the draw with Montreal. "What went on in tonight's game defines our season: not quite good enough to win the game, but we kind of did okay in the match. It's been 18 draws now; we're not quite good enough to win games and see games out. It's where we're at right now; we're looking for next season and what we need to do moving forward, as every coach is. It's disappointing not to win tonight; I thought we did enough to get at least a win tonight."