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Sporting KC v Colorado Rapids: Preview, Predictions, Injuries & Starting XI

Sporting Kansas City play at home after a trip to Canada. They’ll be looking to stay undefeated, but more importantly score some freaking goals.

MLS: Sporting KC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rapids @ Sporting KC

Sunday, April 8th, 2017 at 6:00 PM CT

FS1 | fuboTV

Sporting Kansas City return to national television for the second straight week. After making a road trip to Toronto a week ago Friday they will return to Sporting Park Children’s Mercy Park to take on the Colorado Rapids for the first time in 2017.

The Rapids are coming off their best season in a long time after they had the second best record in the Western Conference and made it all the way to the Conference Finals before falling to the Sounders (who arguably shouldn’t have been there, but that’s another story). The Rapids haven’t quite picked up where they left off as they have started 1-1-1 through their first three games.

A trip to KC is usually not a good thing for the road team but the Rapids are likely unconcerned. They have won five straight regular season meetings against Sporting KC, including two straight wins in the Blue Hell. Their last trip was on the 20th anniversary of the start of the Kansas City Wizards last April.

Before this currently losing streak started SKC had gone 11 games against the Rapids without a loss (6-0-5 if you include the playoffs). Colorado is a bit out of form right now having not played since March 18th where they gave Minnesota United their first ever MLS point and strangely surrendered two goals. Colorado is notoriously stingy after having allowed the least goals in the league last year.

Colorado’s Offseason

Looking back at Colorado’s offseason (and recent trade) it’s hard to see how this team is better than it was in 2016. In the offseason they lost Jermaine Jones and quite a few roleplayers and then just made a bizarre move to trade away defensive stalwarts Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to Minnesota.

Cronin started 33 of 34 possible games in 2016 and Burch appeared in 28 games (27 starts) as well. In return they get Mohammed Saeid and Josh Gatt. Gatt has a really interesting story and Saeid is definitely more of an attacking presence, but Colorado could really suffer defensively because of these moves. Defense is kind of their thing.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT: Diego Rubio (torn ACL)

QUESTIONABLE: Benny Feilhaber (thigh strain)

Colorado

OUT: John Berner (wrist injury), Axel Sjoberg (hamstring surgery)

QUESTIONABLE: Alan Gordon (hamstring injury)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None

Colorado - None

Starting XI Predictions

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Abdul-Salaam, Mustivar, Blessing, Ellis, Salloi, Saad

The starting lineup is really contingent on if Benny Feilhaber can play. Our own Thad Bell reported that he was back at practice this week but as recently as midweek Peter Vermes was up in the air if he could go. It has been three weeks since he played, so it’s possible that’s enough time for a recovery but muscle injuries are notoriously difficult to deal with.

If Feilhaber can’t play, then it seems likely Medranda slips back into the midfield and Soony Saad starts on the wing. That said, I’d love to see Latif Blessing or Daniel Salloi get a start as they both looked good for the Swope Park Rangers in the USL and Blessing has shown a spark each time he’s come on late as a sub. As we all know, this team is struggling to score with just a single goal (and a own goal) through four games but thankfully they’ve allowed a league low one goal in defense as well.

Colorado won’t make it easy on Sporting either as they will no doubt park the bus and hope to squeeze out a win. They do it at home and on the road so there is no reason to believe they won’t sit back and keep 10 or more players behind the ball at all times waiting for a chance to steal a goal. In the last two meetings between these clubs Colorado stole a goal in the 78th minute (both games) and got a 1-0 win.

The Rapids will be without their defensive center back monster in Sjoberg and they traded away the aforementioned Cronin and Burch, so it’s possible they’ll be a bit leaky. However they still have Bobby Burling and Tim Howard out there, so they’ll be tough to score against regardless and Sporting hasn’t shown they know how to score. If Benny can’t play then no one on the field for Kansas City has a goal this year. That’s stunning to think of when both Lawrence Olum and Jacob Peterson have goals for their new clubs.

Prediction: 1-0 Sporting KC Win

Despite the lack of goals I just can’t help but think SKC will find a way. They are at home where they are fantastic. The team hasn’t lost in 11 straight home matches and are just a single game away from equaling the club record of 12 straight at home.

Colorado’s defense will leak just enough and Dom just has to get his first goal the season. Having only one towing center back instead of two to contend with show allow him enough space to finish.