Colorado Rapids 2, Sporting Kansas City 1 | MLS Match Recap
COMMERCE CITY, Co. – There may have been 10 points separating the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City in the West standings ahead of their meeting on Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, but you would never have known it from the 2-1 Rapids win.
Two second half goals by Maynor Figueroa and Kevin Doyle helped extend Colorado’s current win streak to three in a row, maintaining the team’s pulse in the postseason race. Conversely, Kansas City’s current slide was extended to three games following losses to San Jose and Columbus.
Colorado started the match with another lineup change as rookie Axel Sjoberg got the nod at center back, making his first appearance in three games in place of the suspended Bobby Burling (yellow card accumulation).
Sjoberg, aka “Mountain Man”, contributed early, testing SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia with a header in the 5th minute. It was one of multiple corners Colorado earned in the first 10 minutes of the match, as the Rapids continued their recent trend of quick starts.
Despite a concerted attacking effort from the home side, first half stats still favored Kansas City, who outshot the Rapids 6-4 and held over 50 percent of possession in the opening stanza. The two sides entered the break level at 0-0.
After weathering a first-half storm from Colorado, Sporting took the lead in the early minutes of the second half. A dribble into the penalty area by Krisztian Nemeth would draw defenders before he sent the ball to the feet of teammate Dom Dwyer, who buried it from close range to give SKC the 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.
Six minutes later, Colorado would level the score at 1-1. Vicente Sanchez dribbled the ball on the right edge of SKC’s box, finding Figueroa on the opposite side. The Rapids left back placed his strike well to earn his first goal in MLS since joining Colorado earlier this month.
Sanchez nearly dished out a second helper in the 65th minute, finding substitute forward Dominique Badji in the Kansas City box, but the header by the rookie was rescued from danger by a diving Melia.
Ten minutes later, Figueroa found Sanchez with a long ball, and the Uruguayan playmaker used a back-heel pass to get the ball to Badji. But his ensuing shot went straight into the open arms of Melia.
In the 75th minute, Sanchez would finally get the second assist he was so desperately seeking, finding Doyle in the box on a well-weighted cross. The Designated Player's header gave Colorado the 2-1 lead, their first of the match.
SKC nearly found their own equalizer in the 87th minute, but Dwyer’s feathered shot bounced off the right post directly into the hands of Clint Irwin. The Rapids 'keeper ended the game with four saves on the night, and the home team secured victory in the late stages.
Both Kansas City and Colorado will enter an extended break before they both return to action on Sept. 9. Colorado will take to the road to face the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place (10 pm ET on TSN1, RDS2 and MLS LIVE in USA), while Sporting Kansas City will look to end their slide against the Portland Timbers in another Western Conference road fixture (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).