Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Sporting KC vs. Colorado Rapids
2017 MLS Regular Season
Children's Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kan.
Sunday, April 9 – 7 pm ET
WATCH: FS1, Fox Deportes in US | MLS LIVE in Canada
It's been a mixed bag for both Sporting KC and the Colorado Rapids to start 2017. On one hand, Kansas City are undefeated in four games and have allowed just one goal. On the other, they've been practically anemic in front of goal and could be missing Benny Feilhaber on Sunday thanks to a muscle injury. The Rapids, meanwhile, have handled business at home and seem to be setting themselves up for a high-profile signing to bolster the attack. They also just traded their captain and drew previously outmatched Minnesota in their last match.
Sunday's match provides an opportunity for both squads to answer the questions dogging them. Can Sporting find a way to convert the chances (40 so far, good fifth in the league) they're creating? Will Colorado be able to build on last year's success without Sam Cronin, their former captain now in Minnesota?
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting's two goals in four games have come via a David Bingham howler of epic proportions and a Feilhaber blast from distance. Feilhaber is a doubt for this one with a hamstring injury, Dom Dwyer has yet to score in 2017 and Gerso Fernandes and Latif Blessing have yet to show their quality creating or scoring goals. To say there are questions about the attack is an understatement. Answering those questions against the Rapids and Tim Howard won't be easy.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: F - Diego Rubio (ACL), QUESTIONABLE: M - Benny Feilhaber (thigh strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-3): Tim Melia (GK) – Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi – Roger Espinoza, Jimmy Medranda, Ilie – Gerso Fernandes, Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad
Notes: Sporting has only converted 3.4 percent of their chances so far this year, the lowest in the league. Only two other teams have a conversion rate of lower than 8 percent. ... Sporting has conceded just one goal in their last six regular season MLS matches, dating back to Oct. 16, 2016 (2W-4D).
What happens when the best defensive team in MLS trades their captain, an industrious defensive midfielder who led by example? The Rapids are about to find out after shipping Cronin and left back Marc Burch to Minnesota. This is 22-year-old Bismark Adjei-Boateng's big opportunity, and Children's Mercy Park won't be an easy place to make his first-ever MLS start.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: GK - John Berner (wrist injury), D - Axel Sjoberg (hamstring)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Tim Howard (GK) — Mekeil Williams, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Eric Miller — Micheal Azira, Bismark Adjei-Boateng - Shkelzen Gashi, Kevin Doyle, Marlon Hairston – Dominique Badji
Notes: Dominique Badji has six goals in his last 11 league appearances. He had four goals in his first 34 regular season league games. ... Colorado has only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 regular season MLS matches on the road (19 total goals conceded).
The series between these two MLS originals is nearly even, with Sporting holding a one-win lead. Both teams have been dominant at home.
- Overall: Sporting KC 23 wins, 94 goals; Colorado 22 wins, 78 goals; 13 draws
- At Sporting: Sporting KC 18 wins, 58 goals; Colorado 5 wins, 29 goals; 5 draws
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Nick Uranga
Fourth Official: Caleb Mendez