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Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids: Three Questions with Burgundy Wave

I spoke with Johnny Rosch of the Burgundy Wave ahead of Sporting Kansas City's match on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids at Sporting Park.

Kansas City will need Matt Besler to be flying high the next few months as the transfer window closed with no reinforcements to the back line.
Kansas City will need Matt Besler to be flying high the next few months as the transfer window closed with no reinforcements to the back line.
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

We ask them...

1. Rapids are in the cellar of the Western Conference right now. What is the outlook among the Burgandy Boys faithful right now? Is there reason to believe Pablo and/or his mustache can get things turned around?

BW: I think the club is still very bullish on the 2015 season.  While the Rapids are last in the Western Conference right now, they are just four points from a playoff spot.  And they have had results in 8 of their ten matches.  Is there frustration with the team?  Yes.  But no one is thinking or saying that the season is over.

As for Pablo, the front office and players on the team are behind him 100% and the Rapids are not losing faith in him at all.  He is still learning how to coach in this league, but the club feels that their long term future is with Pablo.

2. Just 1 win to go along with 7 ties so far, but with the exception of NYCFC and Houston, the club has had a rough schedule thus far. Are these draws, like the Fire last year, upsetting and a result of dropping two points, or is the club pleased to be getting points from these quality sides?

BW: Obviously the name of the game in football is three points and so far that has only happened once.  So yes, there is some disappointment with the lack of wins, but the club still feel good about where they are at.  The defense has significantly improved from 2014 and aside from a lack of goals, this club is very quietly putting together a decent season.  With two new strikers (Kevin Doyle and Luis Solignac) in the fold, the feeling is that the Rapids are close to going on a run.

3. What will be the key for the Rapids if they want to steal 3 points in The Blue Hell this weekend?

BW: The Rapids are a very good road team and have yet to lose away from DSGP so there is every reason to feel optimistic about getting a result at Sporting Park.  That being said, the Rapids are going to need to be very compact on defense and play smart football.  They need to eliminate silly mistakes and capitalize on breaks that they can get on the counter.  If they are able to do this, it is very possible to grab a result in KC.

Burgundy Wave Predictions:

Irwin, Harrington, Moor, Burling, Riley, Pittinari, Cronin, Ramirez, Powers, Torres, Solignac

Score:  1-1

They ask us...

1. How has the transition gone from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference for SKC.

TBT: The schedule seems to be attempting to ease us into it, actually. Half of the games have been against the Eastern Conference, plus a game against Houston, who is also new to the West. That being said, 11 of KC's 14 points have come from the East and both losses from the new conference. So it hasn't really felt different yet. That will change for the good when another scrappy match against rival RSL comes around in June.

2. Losing Ike Opara is a big blow for SKC from his leadership on the field to his skill in the back.  How does Sporting replace a guy like that?

TBT: Well... they didn't. Vermes did say they were exploring all options for bringing in a CB, but the window has closed for the time being. Hometown kid, Kevin Ellis, who has played all over the field for KC, has been filling in. It's been a step down to say the least. This week however, it looks like the other hometown kid Erik Palmer-Brown will be getting a start before he leaves for the U-20 World Cup. Jalil Anibaba is capable of playing CB but has been at RB while the club awaits the return of Chance Myers. So yes, the once impenetrable back line has holes. When Myers comes back in June, it will have to be Anibaba/Ellis pairing with Besler until the next window opens on July 9th.

3. Two years ago SKC won the MLS Cup.  What is the ceiling for this team?

TBT: KC will always be expecting to compete for silverware each season. The talent to do that was there until Ike went down. I'm confident Vermes will remedy the lack of another CB in the next window, but right now it is hard to think SKC can win something with so many questions in the back.

On the other hand, Feilhaber is perhaps the best he has ever been, Krisztian Nemeth looks more dangerous with every touch of the ball, and they are in a playoff spot now before Dwyer has caught fire. Chance is due back in a couple weeks to bolster the back line, and the club has talked about bringing in a DP level attacking player in addition to finding a new CB. With the team as is until July, the ceiling for SKC probably stops before the Supporter's Shield. But the talent is there to make a run in the playoffs or at the Open Cup.

The Blue Testament Predictions:

(4-3-3) Tim Melia, Jalil Anibaba, Erik Palmer-Brown, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth, Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson

Score: 3-1