USOC Match Preview: Sporting KC vs. Colorado Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MAY 28: Marvell Wynne #22 of the Colorado Rapids and C.J. Sapong #17 of the Sporting KC look to control the ball at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on May 28, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The third round of the US Open Cup was nothing short of astonishing, in all, 8 MLS teams were knocked out of the tournament. Their places in the fourth round were instead taken by various lower division sides including the fairy tale team of Cal FC, a non-league side that has had to play on the road 3 times all while knocking out better opposition.

Sporting Kansas City almost joined the rest of the defeated MLS teams but held out USL Pro side Orlando City SC 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at LSP in the third round. Now, as we look ahead to the coming rounds, Sporting KC certainly have the upper hand with their upcoming game on Tuesday against the Colorado Rapids at home, and should they advance, they would face either the Michigan Bucks or the Dayton Dutch Lions at LSP, both of which are technically at least 2 divisions lower than Sporting KC.

With this in mind, Sporting KC's road to the final - and eventually the CONCACAF Champion's league - would seem to be a lot easier than most other teams. But then again...remember last year?

The Basics

Time: 7:30 pm CT, as of right now, I believe there will not be a stream. But there is a chance SKC could stream it live on their YouTube channel like they did when they played Orlando.

Where: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas.

Who: Sporting KC vs. Colorado Rapids

What: US Open Cup 4th Round

Key Matchup: Starters vs. Starters

This game is kind of interesting because although it is not a regular league game, it is an extremely important game if Sporting KC are looking to gain access into the CONACAF Champions League and with no other MLS games scheduled until the 16th, there is no need for Vermes to worry about resting his starters. In the end it all comes down to how much merit Vermes places on this game and whether or not he decides to give an opportunity to his fringe players(i.e. Jon Kempin, Michael Harrington, Paulo Nagamura, Soony Saad, Jacob Peterson, Lawrence Olum) or go the safe route and stick with his regular starting 11 who dispatched the San Jose Earthquakes 2 weeks ago. The same goes for Colorado. If they decide to use reserve players while SKC uses first teamers, it could spell trouble for the traveling team, or vice versa.

Colorado Rapids player to watch: Andre Akpan

Not knowing who exactly will be starting for either side on Tuesday night makes this section kind of tough. But Andre Akpan has been Colorado Rapids' top goal-scorer in the reserve league with three goals and giving him the start up top for the Rapids would seem to make sense seeing as the two preferred forwards, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, are out injured. Akpan has seen limited MLS time but will look to impress the Colorado coaches and could raise a few eye brows if he continues his good reserve league form at LSP.

Predicted Lineup: GK: Jimmy Nielsen RB: Chance Myers CB"s: Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler LB: Michael Harrington CM's: Julio Cesar, Graham Zusi, Paulo Nagamura RW: Soony Saad ST: Teal Bunbury LW: CJ Sapong

It seems as if the coaching staff will mix mostly starters and some second string players.

Predicted Score: Sporting KC 2 - Colorado Rapids 1

I don't even know how to justify this. I just want the win and I got a feeling with home advantage SKC should/could/maybe get the important W.

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