When Sporting Kansas City arrive in Colorado this weekend, they’ll do so in first place in the West. It will be the Rapids’ second home match against first place in the West in just over a month after battling Seattle Sounders FC to a 1-1 draw back on the Fourth of July. Just like that match, this is going to be another benchmark game, and a chance for the Burgundy Boys to see how they measure up against the top of the conference.
There figures to be some changes in this match from the first meeting back in June. Rapids left back Sam Vines has completed a move to Royal Antwerp in Belgium, and Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio has been rumored to a move overseas, as well. And perhaps for the first time in burgundy, we’ll see one of the newest additions, midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye following his acquisition from LAFC.
Despite the evolution of the rosters, the rivalry holds the same heat as ever. The Rapids will be looking to climb the table and make some noise in the West with a victory over SKC. Here’s how they can do it.
Manage the Midfield
As mentioned above, SKC may be without Homegrown midfielder Gianluca Busio, and will definitely be without Spanish midfielder Ilie when he serves a yellow card accumulation suspension. The two of them are top of the depth chart at the defensive midfield position. Expect Frenchman Rémi Walter to get the start. But with the potential for Kellyn Acosta to return from international duty, a potential debut from Mark-Anthony Kaye and the consistent presence of captain Jack Price, the Rapids can dictate the match from the midfield.
The Sporting KC homegrown winger is the only All-Star selection for SKC after Bob Bradley selected him to his side. The Hungarian leads MLS in combined goals and assists with 10 goals and five assists. He’s second in the Golden Boot race, just one behind Raúl Ruidíaz. He’s on a tear and could make a real push for MLS MVP if he plays in the second half the way he has in the first half. It’s a big opportunity for Rapids defender Keegan Rosenberry to show again why he’s one of the most complete fullbacks in the league.
Welcome the New Guy
The Rapids made a blockbuster move for Mark-Anthony Kaye, and this is the first chance he’ll have to play. If he should start, he’s joining the Burgundy Boys with still 19 matches left in the regular season. So while there are only three months left in the regular season, there are a ton of points left on the table. The Rapids intend to compete for trophies, and a strong second-half push heading into the postseason will be the best way to head into the tournament. Getting Kaye familiar with his new teammates, Robin Fraser’s style of play and the club as a whole will be key. And the first opportunity to begin to mesh is Saturday.