COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― Two of the top teams in MLS will face off when the third-place Colorado Rapids (11-4-4, 37 points) visit second-place Sporting Kansas City (11-4-6, 39 points) on Saturday, Aug. 28. Kickoff is set for 7 PM at Children’s Mercy Park, with pregame coverage beginning on Altitude Sports at 6:30 PM and on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM at 6:45 PM.
“Kansas City is one of the best organized teams in the league,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said after training on Thursday. “Their attack is very well-orchestrated and coordinated. As a result, if you can deal with their attack and negate some of their strengths, then the key is to be able to hurt them on the other side when they put a lot of numbers forward. It’s a formula that everyone knows but not everyone can pull off there, certainly because, as I said, they’re a very good team.”
The Rapids enter the match in third place in the Western Conference, two points behind second-place Sporting KC with two games in hand. With 37 points, the Rapids are fourth in the Supporters’ Shield standings and third in the league with 1.95 points per game.
Colorado will take a three-game winning streak into Kansas, after dispatching Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo FC in an eight-day span last week. The Rapids are undefeated in their last five games, winning four, and are 6-1-3 (W-L-D) in their last 10 matches, the best run of form in the Western Conference. A Rapids win on Saturday would be their sixth of the season on the road, matching the single-season club record (post shootout era) set in 2011. Colorado has not won four consecutive MLS matches since 2003.
In Saturday’s 2-1 win over Rocky Mountain Cup rival RSL, Diego Rubio equalized off a corner kick in the 64th minute before Mark-Anthony Kaye’s thundering header seven minutes later secured three points. The Rapids started the week by handing Houston its first home loss of the season before a thrilling 2-1 win at LA Galaxy.
Jack Price’s corner delivery to Rubio against RSL was his team-leading seventh assist of the season and his 27th with Colorado, tying Omar Cummings for fourth on the club’s all-time list. The goal was Rubio’s fourth of 2021 and the Rapids’ seventh off a corner this season. Michael Barrios, who scored the winner in Houston, leads the team with five goals.
The Rapids have been one of the best defensive teams in MLS this season. Their eight clean sheets are tied for the league lead, while their 19 goals conceded are tied for second-fewest in MLS. Colorado’s six second-half goals conceded are the fewest in MLS.
Sporting is unbeaten in five games but tied its last two: 1-1 against Portland on Aug. 18 and 0-0 at Minnesota on Saturday. SKC held on for the point despite being reduced to 10 men in the 21st minute when Rémi Walter was shown a straight red. Sporting KC’s appeal of the red card was denied and will be without Walter for Saturday’s match. Forward Daniel Sallói is second in MLS with 12 goals and leads the team with six assists.
This is the third and final meeting of the regular season between the I-70 rivals. Sporting took three points in the first meeting in Kansas on June 23, while the Rapids picked up a point in a clean sheet draw in Colorado on Aug. 7.
After the match, Kaye (Canada) and Kellyn Acosta (United States) will report to their respective national teams for September’s FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches. Canada takes on Honduras, the U.S. and El Salvador between September 2 and 8, while the U.S. will face El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.
“Kansas City is a good team,” Acosta said. “Well-coached by Peter [Vermes] and we know what to expect out of them. They’re a team that is fluid in mobility. They have guys that are in good form. Danny [Sallói] up top, one of the leading goal-scorers in the league, [Alan] Pulido, Gadi Kinda, they have numerous guys that you have to watch out for. Johnny Russell. If we can contain those guys and build into the game and get into our positions and score some goals, good things will happen.”
News & Notes
- A Rapids win would be their sixth on the road in 2021, tying a post-shootout era club record set in 2011.
- This matchup features two of the best second-half teams in MLS. Colorado and Sporting KC both boast +11 goal differentials in the second half this season. SKC’s 22 second-half goals are second-most in MLS, while Colorado’s six second-half goals conceded are the fewest in the league.
- Colorado’s last win at Children’s Mercy Park came three visits ago in September 2019. The Rapids won, 3-2, in HC Robin Fraser’s fifth game in charge.
- Keegan Rosenberry has 37 interceptions this season, which is tied for seventh in MLS.
- Kellyn Acosta’s next assist will be the 20th of his MLS career.
- Michael Barrios’ next appearance will be his 20th with Colorado and his 199th in MLS.
- Cole Bassett’s next appearance will be his 20th of the season, matching a career-high set in 2019.
- Danny Wilson’s next appearance will be his 70th with Colorado in MLS.