When: Saturday, March 12th, 2022 at 8:00 PM CT (Kickoff 8:08)
Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
How to Watch/Stream: 38 the Spot | ESPN+ (out of market) | SportingKC.com & SKC App (in market)
How to Listen: ESPN 94.5 FM | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
The season is just getting underway with Sporting Kansas City getting that first victory out of the way to wipe the bad taste of the first defeat out of their mouths. They get a chance to string together some wins as they head on the road to take on the Colorado Rapids.
As our own Mike Kuhn pointed out, Sporting KC aren’t very good in Colorado. They are 0-4-4 in their last eight regular season trips dating back to 2014. The good news is the draws are the last four meetings, but still, zero wins. There is just something about altitude, even when the team isn’t that good, that Sporting KC struggle to overcome (see: Real Salt Lake).
Last year’s draw probably deserves an asterisk as Peter Vermes used it as a game to rotate players and played cautiously, pulling a point from the Rapids. I don’t think it’s implausible they could win, but Colorado under Robin Fraser are a solid team. They did win the Western Conference last year, even if they were bounced in the playoffs in their first game.
Colorado’s Recent Form
Just two games in, but let’s look at those results:
An asterisk should go on that loss to LAFC. Colorado had played a crushing midweek game where they were bounced from the CONCACAF Champions League on penalties. Tired legs, disappointment and going on the road to that rowdy LAFC stadium were probably the perfect storm. Plus Kellyn Acosta needed his revenge.
What’s New for Colorado in 2022?
Instead of my typical ‘breaking down of transactions’ section, I’m going to lean on my co-worker David Greenwald, who already previewed the Colorado Rapids before the season. Check out his work here.
Between his breakdown, and my comments in that article with my takes, there isn’t much more to add. The Rapids have just added a SuperDraft signing and a Homegrown since then, and no one knows who those guys are yet anyways.
QUESTIONABLE - Khiry Shelton (calf)
*This has been updated based on the official injury report. My ‘educated guess’ from earlier in the week ended up being right, except Vujnovic is fully available.
Montenegrin forward Nikola Vujnovic, the new @SportingKC striker on loan from a Serbian club, has received his visa and arrives later today.— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) March 8, 2022
He should begin training with the team soon, but it may take him some time to adjust to Peter Vermes' system, like any other player.
OUT - Braian Galván (right knee), Aboubacar Keita (undisclosed injury)
QUESTIONABLE - Diego Rubio (unk), Danny Wilson (unk)
Starting XI Predictions
This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day. Update: Here is is!
By the transitive properties of prior matchups, SKC lost to Atlanta 3-1 and Colorado beat them 3-0, so Colorado should win, right? It’s probably not that simple.
Sporting KC looked better in their 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo, but they still don’t quite have their finishing boots on. Part of that is surely because Houston put nearly every player on the pitch behind the ball and the passing lanes weren’t there. Fortunately for KC, they found the back of the net anyways.
Once KC took the lead, the game opened up (in both directions). Sporting KC had some chances and Houston did as well (partially because SKC made some more mistakes when they were pressed). However, neither team finished them. I’d expect more of those chances over 90 minutes because SKC almost never bunker and home teams tend to come and play as well.
Diego Rubio (still the worst trade of the PV era I recall, even if I get why he did it) lit the world on fire last time out. He was involved in everything, even drawing a late red from Miles Robinson. I suspect SKC know him well enough to shut him down, but he can be tricky. That plus Jack Price delivering delightful balls should put Sporting under more pressure.
Getting a draw on the road is acceptable. I think KC can definitely win this game, but I’ll say the safer bet is a draw. (For the record I wanted to predict a 1-1 score, but so many said that on the pod I just want to be different now.)
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