Sporting Kansas City can move into first place in the Supporters' Shield standings with a victory on Saturday against Austin FC as their Major League Soccer campaign resumes from Children's Mercy Park.
The Wizards have won three in a row heading into this contest, while Austin held the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders to a scoreless draw in their last outing.
For their standards, Kansas City started slowly, with only two wins in their opening five matches, but since then, they have been lights out, winning three consecutive games and scoring three times in each of those victories.
Another three points on Saturday would mark the longest winning streak in the regular season for Peter Vermes's side since 2018.
The longtime KC manager will hope that the two-week international break does not affect the rhythm of his team, who appeared to be hitting their stride before the time off.
They have not only been good in front of goal, but they have also not allowed other teams much time on the ball lately, limiting two of their last three opponents to just over 30% of the possession throughout a full match.
Through their first seven games, the newest MLS franchise have had a mixture of good and bad results in their inaugural campaign.
In their last match before the break, manager Josh Wolff saw his squad perform exceptionally well defensively against the best team in the league so far, the Seattle Sounders.
Even though they are winless in their last four encounters, that result could serve as a huge confidence boost for this young group who are learning what it takes to compete in Major League Soccer.
Wolff has started a different front three in each of their last three matches without much success as Austin have gone scoreless in three consecutive games and have not registered more than three shots on target in any one of those encounters.
The offense may have dried up in recent weeks, but this side have been able to compete and have had an opportunity to earn points in every one of their fixtures thus far.
Backup keeper Brooks Thompson is still suffering from back problems and will likely miss out on the game on Saturday as first-choice keeper Tim Melia is expected to start for a fourth consecutive time.
Striker Alan Pulido has been lighting up the scoreboard lately with four goals in his last three games, but he is on international duty with Mexico on Saturday and will not be available for the Wizards.
His teammate Daniel Salloi has made some contributions of his own, with a goal in two of his previous three matches and he might be counted upon to contribute more in the absence of Pulido.
Goalkeeper Bradley Stuver had to make only two saves for his second clean sheet of the season in their last match.
Sporting Kansas City possible starting lineup:
Melia; Zusi, llie, Fontas, Martins; Espinoza, Busio, Kinda; Russell, Shelton, Salloi
Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Kolmanic, Besler, Cascante, Lima; Fagundez, Ring, Pochettino; Redes, Dominguez, Stroud
We say: Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Austin FC
Sporting KC are on a roll right now, with three straight wins, scoring three goals each time while five different players have scored their last six goals, which shows the depth of this team.
Austin have shown the ability to limit their opponents' time and space, but they have barely mustered any quality scoring chances over their last three games.
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