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

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Two top ranked teams face off in Kansas City.

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

Sporting KC v Colorado Rapids

When: Saturday, August 28, 2021 at 8:00 PM CT (Kickoff 8:08)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: Bally Sports KC (regionally) | Bally Sports Midwest Plus (regionally) | Bally Sports App | ESPN+ (out of market or over VPN locally)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

Coming into the season if you would have told most people, myself included, that a match-up between Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids would have huge implications on the top of the Western Conference standings and the Supporters Shield race, I don’t know how many people would have believed you. But here we are. SKC and the Rapids sit 2nd and 3rd in the West, 3rd and 4th in the Supporters Shield and if you base it on points per game, the Rapids are ahead of Kansas City.

Colorado enters Saturday just two points behind Sporting but with two games in hand. As always, those games are useless if you don’t cash in. If Colorado comes into Kansas City and steals all the points, that would do it right there, with still having those games in hand.

The Rapids are doing all this with one of the lowest budgets in the league. They were the league’s fifth lowest spending team when salary data came out earlier this year. Only they and the Philadelphia Union are in that category and still finding higher levels of success. As a point of reference, Sporting are the league’s 9th highest spenders.

The roster construction in Colorado is unique. They use their allocation money not to buy down huge salaries like many teams, but they use it as a sort of transfer fund within the league. They go acquire under-valued MLS assets, for sometimes huge sums of money and they build a team where there are no stars, but the team is the star. As was evident when none of their players made the all-star game. It’ll be interesting to see how this continues to work as the season wears on with no one to put the load on their back and carry the team when that situation arises.

Colorado’s Recent Form

The Rapids are on fire. They enter Saturday having gone unbeaten in their last five. In fact, their only draw in that stretch, came against Sporting Kansas City.

  • July 31st @ Austin FC - 1-0 Win
  • August 7th vs. Sporting KC - 0-0 Draw
  • August 14th @ Houston Dynamo - 3-1 Win
  • August 17th @ LA Galaxy - 2-1 Win
  • August 21st vs. Real Salt Lake - 2-1 Win

You can also see, three of those four wins came on the road, where Colorado will be this weekend.

What’s changed for Colorado since these teams last met?

Nothing. It was just three weeks ago. For the full breakdown of all their in-season moves, along with their offseason moves, head back to that prior preview.

IN: None

OUT: None

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (hamstring), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring), Remi Walter (red card)

QUESTIONABLE - None

*This has been updated by the official injury report.

Colorado

OUT - Younes Namli (undisclosed injury)

QUESTIONABLE - Unknown

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Daniel Salloi (12), Alan Pulido (8), Gadi Kinda (4), Johnny Russell (3), Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez, Khiry Shelton, Cam Duke, Luis Martins (1)

ASSISTS: Daniel Salloi (6), Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton (5), Graham Zusi (4), Gianluca Busio, Gadi Kinda, Alan Pulido (3), Felipe Hernandez (2), Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins, Jaylin Lindsey (1)

Colorado

GOALS: Michael Barrios (5), Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki (4), Cole Bassett (3), Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Braian Galvan, Jonathan Lewis (2), four with one (1)

ASSISTS: Jack Price (7), Barrios, Rubio (4), Bassett, Rosenberry, Auston Trusty (2), 8 with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

That has it’s own story, as always.

Score Predictions

Saturday is retro night. Kansas City and Colorado are original MLS teams and SKC have played the Rapids more times than any other opponent across all competitions (83). Sporting hold the advantage, 34-29-20.

But recent form matters more. Sporting are 3-0-2 over the last two seasons. That includes a 3-1 home win on June 23rd and a 4-0 home win last season. Kansas City must keep that going heading into the weekend. Sporting managed a 0-0 draw on the road against Colorado, despite fielding a less than ideal starting lineup (and a unique five back formation in the first half). There are questions heading into the weekend of player availability, but it should be a better lineup. Plus Sporting enter on full rest for the first time in over a month (besides Daniel Salloi who played in the All-Star game Wednesday).

This is the final meeting (outside of the playoffs potentially) between these clubs in what is shaping up to be a tight race in the West. There is urgency on both sides, maybe more so for Kansas City who are also undefeated in their last five league games, but that includes just two wins to Colorado’s four. Home field has to matter. KC are just 5-1-4 at home this year and haven’t won a home game since June 26th! It’s time!

2-1 Sporting KC Win

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

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