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Sporting KC v Colorado Rapids: Preview, Predictions, Stats, Injuries and Roster Changes

Two clubs with some work to do in Group D clash on Friday.

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MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City
Sep 21, 2019; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell (7) dribbles the ball up field against Colorado Rapids defender Sam Vines (13) during the second half at Children’s Mercy Park.
Peter G. Aiken

Sporting KC v Colorado Rapids (#SKCvCOL)

When: Friday, July 17, 2020 at 7:00 PM CT

Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World

How to Watch/Stream: ESPN2 | ESPN Deportes | fuboTV
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

Well the COVID Cup MLS is Back Tournament didn’t quite start the way that Sporting Kansas City or the Colorado Rapids had hoped. Both clubs lost their Group D openers and will be desperate for a win on Friday.

As you no doubt know, Sporting KC were in firm control before the wheels fell off after a Tim Melia red card. Ultimately, it would take two stoppage time goals for SKC to lose. It was the first time in club history they were leading in stoppage time and ultimately lost.

The Rapids on the other hand never really got going. RSL led relatively early on and never gave up that lead. If you look at the regular season standings, it’s not as bad as both clubs did win their first two games before the league shut down. What is really wild is that, despite losses, the four best third place finishers will move on. Currently there is a massive tie for the 5th spot between all the people with no points (before factoring in tie breakers). But winning would eliminate the need to worry. If Sporting win out, they move on, no doubt.

Interesting Stats

  • SKC and Colorado have met 78 times across all competitions which is the most for any opponent in KC history.
  • Colorado have gone 7-2-2 against Kansas City since August 2015.
  • Former Sporting KC fan favorite, striker Diego Rubio scored in both 2019 meetings against SKC.
  • For more interesting stats, check out, Behind the Numbers.

What’s Changed in Colorado Since 2019?

The biggest name that is gone from the Rapids since the end of the last season is USMNT legend Tim Howard, who “retired.” They also released MLS veteran defenders Kofi Opare, Tommy Smith and Axel Sjoberg. Two players who they parted ways with — midfielder Dillon Serna and fullback Sam Raben — ended up on Sporting KC II, who return to action this weekend.

The additions far outweigh the subtractions. Most notable is new Designated Player — midfielder Younes Namli on loan from Krasnodar (Russia). He is the teams only DP but they also added midfielder Nicolas Benezet via transfer from Guingamp (France) by way of Toronto FC.

The Rapids also added defender Austin Trusty via trade from the Philadelphia Union, giving them one of the strongest groups of young center backs in the league (see: Lalas Abubakar, Kortne Ford and [not young at all] Drew Moor who was a free agent signing).

Replacing the departed goalkeeper Tim Howard is United States international William Yarbrough on loan from Club Leon (Mexico). Though, so far he hasn’t made an appearance and Clint Irwin has started.


Sporting KC

OUT - Andreu Fontas (achilles surgery), Felipe Gutierrez (knee surgery), Unknown Player (COVID-19this is likely John Pulskamp)


*Updated to reflect the official injury report and the signing of a pool goalkeeper.


OUT - Kortne Ford (left knee)

QUESTIONABLE - Clint Irwin (head)


Sporting KC - Tim Melia (red card)

Colorado - None (somehow, Irwin tackled a defender and missed the ball and wasn’t sent off... Marrufo’d)


Sporting KC

GOALS: Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda, Khiry Shelton (2) Erik Hurtado, Roger Espinoza (1)

ASSISTS: Pulido (2), Roberto Puncec, Luis Martins, Gerso Fernandes, Johnny Russell, Kinda, Shelton (1)


GOALS: Kei Kamara, Jonathan Lewis, Younes Namli, Drew Moor (1)

ASSISTS: Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Price (2), Diego Rubio (1)

Starting XI Predictions

That deserved it’s own piece. Check it out for the answers on who could replace Tim Melia (there are more options than you may initially have thought), if Gerso should keep starting and more.

Score Predictions

I always get weird and superstitious about picking SKC to win. It’s odd, because I’m not superstitious in any other part of my life. I picked them to win against Minnesota, so I guess... it’s all my fault? That said, I think they were the better team for 60 minutes. They probably needed a sub to change the game and instead they waited 13 minutes to sub and then got a red card a minute later. I fully believe they win that game if not for that. They almost held on until stoppage time ruined it.

Despite the fact that Colorado seems to have Sporting’s number a bit recently, this game is in a neutral site, which I think benefits SKC. Playing at altitude against both Colorado and Real Salt Lake is a disadvantage. Orlando is a mere 82 feet above sea level. That combined with Sporting’s desire to right the wrong on Sunday and SKC’s obvious fitness advantage will lead to victory. They just have to finish their chances and as the rust shakes off it should be easier and easier.

2-1 Sporting KC

What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. MLS is Back! Let’s chat about it.

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