Sporting Kansas City fell 2-0 on the road to the Colorado Rapids Saturday night. Former SKC forward Diego Rubio scored the winning goal.
Manager Peter Vermes was forced into making two changes from the 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. With Khiry Shelton injured against Houston and Daniel Salloi picking up a “knock” recently, striker Nikola Vujnovic started at center forward and Marinos Tzionis on the left. Neither player has had much time to learn SKC’s style of play and that is especially true for Vujnovic, who just arrived this week.
SKC could not build a consistent offence early on and it did not take long before Colorado was able to transition quickly and score. A couple quick passes and Rapids left back Lucas Esteves was attacking into the SKC defensive third. Esteves chipped a pass at waist height past Andreu Fontas through to Rubio. A quick touch and Rubio is the SKC box alone where he sliced it past a helpless Tim Melia.
A couple minutes late, Melia was put on the spot again when Michael Barrios recevied an over-the-top ball, putting him in on goal alone. Melia was able to drop and stop that effort to keep it a 1-0.
Are you surprised? @DiegoRubio_ | #COLvSKC pic.twitter.com/lPpPSKtfQI— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) March 13, 2022
With Felipe Hernandez picking up an injury, Cam Duke came on for him in the midway through the first half. SKC started to build more possession, stringing long passing sequences together, getting a bit of a rhythm between new players and veterans as the first half came to a close.
The second half saw the advantage swing back to Colorado initially with pressure on SKC’s defense earning a corner kick for the Rapids. Jack Price perfectly picked out Steven Beitashour on the far side. Betashour played into Mark-Anthony Kaye who re-directe the ball past Melia to make it 2-0 in favor of the home side.
Just tap it in @MarkThEwizz | #COLvSKC pic.twitter.com/epvS6uAhhX— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) March 13, 2022
With the 2-0 lead, Colorado sat back and forced SKC to attempt to break them down, and then countered when they had the opportunity. Tzionis, Vujnovic, Duke and Russell all made attempts to dribble and penetrate but few chances were created.
“I think in the second half, we came out a little bit slow,” Cam Duke told media post game. “That second goal definitely hurt us a bit, but I think in that situation we need to respond and keep fighting because if we get a goal back, we have a chance to tie the game and even win the game.”
For Vermes, it was tough already tough with Alan Pulido out for the year and Gadi Kinda not back yet, but then injuries to Shelton and Salloi forced him to start two newcomers on the forward line.
“It’s hard when you have all the guys out that we have out right now. All of them. I’m talking about (Alan) Pulido, Gadi Kinda, Daniel (Salloi), Khiry (Shelton), just keep going. Having all those guys out - and Felipe, that’s why I had to take him out in the first half - right now it’s just too many guys out and too many changes within the group and a lot of new guys in the team that haven’t been here before. So it’s just very difficult,” Vermes stated.
“It’s hard. It’s not a good opportunity for them to play in the group this way,” Vermes responded when asked about the new forwards. “You put people into games to try to have success. To do that, they need to spend a little time with the team. They need to see the League a little bit. All those things those guys aren’t getting because of the situation we’re in, but we’re going to have to fight through it. They’re going to have to figure it out. We’ll have to keep working. That’s really what it comes down to.”
Former SKC forwards have had success against SKC this season. Both Rubio and Dom Dwyer scored winning goals against their former team this year. They are not the only former players to score on SKC.
B/C I've seen it mentioned, a list of former #SportingKC players who have scored against KC after leaving— Mike (@downthebyline) March 13, 2022
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Andreu Fontas (Kortne Ford 81’), Logan Ndenbe (Ben Sweat 81’); Remi Walter, Roger Espinoza (Jake Davis 81’), Felipe Hernandez (Cam Duke 28’); Johnny Russell (C) (Kayden Pierre 83’), Nikola Vujnovic, Marinos Tzionis
Subs Not Used: Kendall McIntosh, Kaveh Rad, Robert Voloder, Ozzie Cisneros
Colorado Rapids: William Yarbrough; Steven Beitashour (Sebastian Anderson 89’), Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Auston Trusty, Lucas Esteves (Drew Moor 67’); Michael Barrios (Darren Yapi 88’), Jack Price (C), Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jonathan Lewis (Max Alves 89’); Diego Rubio (Andre Shinyashiki 73’)
Subs Not Used: Clint Irwin, Bryan Acosta, Nicolas Mezquida, Collen Warner
COL — Diego Rubio 2 (Lucas Esteves 2, Michael Barrios 2) 21’
COL — Mark-Anthony Kaye 1 (Steven Beitashour 1, Jack Price 1) 51’
SKC — Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 29’
SKC — Cam Duke (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 57’
COL — Keegan Rosenberry (yellow card; time wasting) 62’