COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― Two of the top teams in the Western Conference will face off when the Colorado Rapids (5-2-1, 16 points) visit Sporting Kansas City (5-3-2, 17 points) on Wednesday, June 23. Kickoff at Children's Mercy Park is set at 6:30 p.m. MT, with pregame coverage beginning on Altitude Sports at 6 p.m. and on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM at 6:15 p.m.
“This is a huge test for us. Kansas City, year in and year out, has been one of the best teams in the league. Certainly their place in the standings shows that this year,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “A very well coached team and organized team. Very talented players all over the place. For us it’s a huge test, a huge challenge. We’ve had some decent performances over the last number of weeks, but you always look at certain teams as real benchmarks as to where you are and certainly this is one of them.”
Colorado and Sporting are third and second, respectively, in the Western Conference. The Rapids host first-place Seattle Sounders FC on the Fourth of July at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
The Rapids enter the match winners of two straight, most recently defeating FC Cincinnati, 2-0, on Saturday at TQL Stadium. Michael Barrios found Diego Rubio for the eventual game-winner in the 21st minute, continuing their burgeoning chemistry in their first season as teammates. 24-year-old Jonathan Lewis opened his 2021 scoring account with a smooth finish in the 72nd minute. Captain Jack Price earned his team-leading fourth assist of the season on Lewis’ goal. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough made a season-high seven saves to post his fourth clean sheet of the season and his second in consecutive games.
Rubio’s goal was his third of the season, the most on the team. Barrios now has two goals and three assists in his last four games. Price’s four assists are tied for third in MLS, while Yarbrough’s four clean sheets are tied for second in the league. The 32-year-old goalkeeper hasn’t allowed a goal in 237 minutes of play, the longest active shutout streak in MLS.
Colorado’s nine road wins in MLS since Aug. 31, 2019, Fraser’s first game in charge, are the most in the league in that time. The Rapids are 9-6-2 (W-L-D) on the road since Fraser’s appointment, which is the best road record in MLS since then (1.71 points per game).
Sporting will look to bounce back from a 2-1 loss at Portland Timbers on Saturday. Jaylin Lindsey opened the scoring in the 28th minute, but Portland’s Dairon Asprilla and Marvin Loría scored before the half to secure all three points. Sporting was previously unbeaten in four, winning three.
Alan Pulido leads SKC and is tied for third in the league with five goals, while Khiry Shelton leads the team with three assists. Veteran Tim Melia and 20-year-old John Pulskamp have each played five games in goal for Sporting this season.
This is the first of three meetings between these teams this season. The Rapids host Sporting KC at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Aug. 7 before closing out the season series in Kansas on Aug. 28.
“We have to be good with the ball and particularly also without the ball,” said defender Danny Wilson, who also picked up an assist on Rubio’s goal against Dallas. “They’re a team that prides themselves on having lots of possession and being able to move you around. We’ll have a plan in place for them and be ready.”
News & Notes
- Colorado can build its second three-game winning streak of the season on Wednesday. The Rapids won three straight between May 2 and May 15.
- The Rapids are 9-6-2 (W-L-D) on the road under Robin Fraser. Their nine wins and 1.71 points per game since Aug. 31, 2019, Fraser’s first game in charge, are both the best in MLS.
- Colorado is one of just two teams in MLS to post three clean sheets on the road so far this season (Philadelphia).
- Since these teams last met on Oct. 24, 2020, the Rapids are 8-3-1 (W-L-D) in regular-season play and have outscored their opponents, 21-12, in that span. Colorado has posted five shutouts in that time, including four on the road.
- The Rapids have won by multiple goals three times this season, which is tied for the most in MLS.
- Colorado leads MLS with eight first-half goals in 2021.
- The Rapids are third in MLS with a 13.7 percent shot conversion rate.
- GK William Yarbrough made a season-high seven saves in Saturday’s 2-0 win at FC Cincinnati, marking the second straight game that Yarbrough posted a season-high save count after making six saves on May 29 at FC Dallas. Yarbrough and the Rapids haven’t allowed a goal since the 33rd minute at LAFC on May 22, a stretch of 237 minutes and the longest active streak shutout streak in MLS. Yarbrough is currently tied for the second-most clean sheets in MLS with four.
- F Michael Barrios is fifth in MLS with 44 touches in the opponent’s box. The 30-year-old has two goals and three assists in his last four games.
- F Diego Rubio’s next appearance will be his 51st in MLS with Colorado, matching his total from three years at Sporting KC. From 2016 to 2018, Rubio scored 15 goals and added eight assists for SKC. Since joining the Rapids ahead of 2019, Rubio has 17 goals and 10 assists.
- D Keegan Rosenberry’s next appearance will be his 60th with Colorado in MLS. The 27-year-old has three goals and six assists since joining the Rapids ahead of the 2019 season.
- D Auston Trusty’s next start will be the 70th of his MLS career. The 22-year-old has two goals and two assists since his rookie year in 2018. Trusty has started all eight games this season, matching his appearance total from 2020.