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

Sporting haven’t won in Colorado since 2014.

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MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ Colorado Rapids (#COLvSKC)

When: Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 8:00 PM CT

Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

How to Watch/Stream: FOX Sports Kansas City | FOX Sports Midwest | ESPN+ | fuboTV
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

Sporting Kansas City enter the season’s 8th regular season game (7th for COL) sitting on top of the MLS Western Conference. They hold a four point lead over the Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United (both of whom have a game in hand).

The Colorado Rapids were supposed to play FC Dallas in Texas on Wednesday but that game was postponed due to protests around the shooting of Jacob Blake, the subsequent protests and the violence that eruptedt. Soccer probably doesn’t feel very important at this time but as of this writing, the game appears to be going forward (there is a game Friday in Canada which will be a good barometer). Colorado will have had a week off since their 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake last weekend with Wednesday’s cancellation (though they did fly back and forth to Dallas).

Saturday will also mark the second time in 2020 that Colorado has played KC. The first game was a wild match-up during MLS is Back in Orlando that, after a penalty kick, two red cards and a lot of chaos saw Sporting KC pull out a 3-2 win that was hardly convincing.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from losses with Colorado looking for revenge from a game they arguably played better in, despite losing 3-2 back in July.

Interesting Stats

  • Sporting KC haven’t won in Colorado since 2014! They are 0-4-2 in their last six visits.
  • Even worse, “Sporting has a 5-18-10 regular season road record in the series, winning just three times at Colorado this millennium (2000, 2004, 2014).” — By the Numbers
  • KC and Colorado have played each other a stunning 79 times in all competitions — making Colorado Kansas City’s most frequent opponent. SKC are 32-29-18 all-time.
  • Despite playing one less game than KC, Colorado have conceded the second most goals in the league (13), only better than the Vancouver Whitecaps (16). Houston had one of the worst defenses coming into Tuesday though, so who knows how much that matters. MLS gonna MLS.

What’s Changed for Colorado Since 2019?

These teams played once in 2020 already and since that time Colorado hasn’t made any roster changes. Here is what we wrote in July:

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.

Injuries*

Sporting KC

OUT - Felipe Gutierrez (knee surgery), Ilie Sanchez (family issues)

QUESTIONABLE - Andreu Fontas (achilles surgery) — he’s not technically questionable as much as he isn’t yet fit — he could absolutely play.

*This will be updated with the official injury report.

Colorado

OUT - Kortne Ford (left knee injury)

QUESTIONABLE - Kei Kamara (unknown)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None

Colorado - None

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Gadi Kinda (4), Alan Pulido, Khiry Shelton (3), Johnny Russell (2), Erik Hurtado, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Gerso Fernandes (1)

ASSISTS: Pulido (4), Kinda, Luis Martins, Crossbar^ (2), Roberto Puncec, Gerso, Johnny Russell, Shelton, Jaylin Lindsey (1)

^Pulido put two off the crossbar against Houston and they ultimately were put in. They don’t count as assists, but it’s another way he’s impacting the game.

Colorado

GOALS: Jonathan Lewis (3), Kei Kamara (2), Drew Moor, Younes Namali, Kellyn Acosta (1)

ASSISTS: Nicolas Benezet, Jack Price, Keegan Rosenberry (2), Cole Bassett, Diego Rubio, Kamara (1)

Form**

Sporting KC - L / W / W / W / L (9 points)

Colorado - W / L / L / D / L (4 points)

**in league play

Starting XI Predictions

Go check that out over here. I try to break down a few questions:

  • Where are Ilie and Luis Martins?
  • Will PV rotate his midfield?
  • How much of the defense changes? All of it?
  • Is there more forward rotation?

Plus we tally your fan votes to see if you guys cumulatively agree with me (you didn’t).

Score Predictions

Sporting KC haven’t won in Colorado since 2014. Same day travel, three games in nine days and all that elevation will probably make Colorado a really tough place to play. Plus, Colorado haven’t played in a week after their Wednesday game was postponed. The Rapids playing on short rest was probably the only thing that may have helped Kansas City on Saturday outside of roster quality perhaps.

It’s hard to predict a win on the road, on short rest, in a place that KC hasn’t played well coming off a horrific performance. Getting a draw on the road isn’t the worst result. Kansas City actually haven’t lost on the road all year (not counting the MLS is Back tournament which are neutral site games). I’d be happy with a tie after Tuesday. Even if it was a zero - zero shutout, at least it would show defensive progress. I don’t foresee that considering how a tired Colorado team carved up SKC while down two men when both teams were on short rest.

2-2 Draw

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

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