Rapids-Sporting Kansas City Preview
Led by the league’s top goal-scoring duo, the Colorado Rapids
snapped a four-year playoff drought in 2010 and ultimately claimed
their first MLS title.
This season, the Rapids have rarely had Conor Casey and Omar
Cummings on the field at the same time, but they could get that
opportunity Wednesday night against red-hot Sporting Kansas
Cummings scored a career-best 14 goals last season to finish
tied for fourth in the league. Casey had 13 and scored twice during
his team’s playoff run, including the tying goal in the MLS
championship game against FC Dallas.
Injuries have played a big role in the two strikers being
limited to a combined six goals this season. Since Cummings and
Casey both started the season opener, the only other time this year
they have been on the field together was the second half of a 3-1
loss to Los Angeles on June 18.
That defeat started Colorado’s current three-game winless
stretch (0-1-2), during which it has been outscored 7-2.
“I’m still disappointed that we’re not putting the goals up,”
defender Drew Moor told the league’s website. “You can’t win games
if you don’t score goals … We definitely have the firepower and
the individuals to do that, and that’ll come.”
The Rapids (5-5-8) have been limited to 11 goals in 15 games
since scoring eight during a franchise-best 3-0 start. Cummings
scored twice in that streak, but a sprained right ankle kept him
out of the starting lineup for two months until Sunday’s scoreless
draw against Houston.
Casey, who missed six games earlier this season because of a
strained left hamstring, was serving a suspension for receiving a
red card during a June 26 loss at Columbus.
“We just can’t seem to get everything in place,” coach Gary
Smith said. “It will come together. It’s going to come
Smith’s club has the daunting task of facing a team that is
4-0-4 in its last eight. Plus, the Rapids are 0-7-3 at Kansas City
since winning there Sept. 14, 2002.
Sporting KC (5-6-5) is 1-0-2 in the last three overall matchups
and kicked off its current unbeaten stretch with a 1-all draw at
Colorado on May 28.
It overcame the absence of captain Davy Arnaud (hernia surgery)
to record its second straight win Saturday, 2-1 in Portland. C.J.
Sapong and Auerlien Collin gave their team all the scoring it would
need in the first 19 minutes.
“I think it’s just confidence,” defender Matt Besler said.
“During the 10-game stretch that we had on the road (to start the
season), we thought we were playing well but things just weren’t
going our way.
After traveling for 13 of its first 16 games, Kansas City will
play 11 of 12 at Livestrong Sporting Park, where it’s 2-0-1.
Remaining unbeaten there Wednesday would give the team its longest
overall unbeaten streak since a 6-0-3 run June 5-July 24, 2004.