Rapids-Sporting Kansas City Preview
The well-rested Colorado Rapids will try to record the longest unbeaten streak in franchise history while adding to Sporting Kansas City's recent woes.
The Rapids also will look to earn their first win in Kansas City in 11 years Saturday night.
Colorado (10-7-9) hasn't played since Aug. 17, when it beat Vancouver 2-0 to match the club-record unbeaten run at nine, set in 2011. The Rapids have moved into playoff position in the Western Conference by outscoring opponents 16-8 during this 5-0-4 streak.
"We're trying to put emphasis on what we have, and the strengths that we have," coach Oscar Pareja said. "(We) see Kansas City as one more opponent who has their weaknesses, too. They are strong in some other areas, but if we keep doing a good job and keep doing the work on the field, I don't have any doubt that we'll bring the points."
That confidence could come from facing a Sporting KC team that's dropped four of its past five MLS games and has been held scoreless in two straight. Kansas City (11-9-6) fell 1-0 at Chicago last Friday and lost its share of first place in the East the next day, dropping two points behind conference leader Montreal after it defeated Houston.
"We have to battle together to get through these tough times. Every team has a tough period in the season, so it's just all about how you bounce back," forward Claudio Bieler said.
Bieler's club, though, might have gotten a much-needed boost with a 2-0 win in Honduras over CD Olimpia on Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League play.
Sporting KC will try to use that momentum and add to a 13-game home unbeaten streak against Colorado. The Rapids haven't won in Kansas City since Sept. 14, 2002, and are 3-20-5 there all-time, including four playoff matchups.
They fell 2-0 in the most recent visit - during the 2011 postseason - and the clubs played to a 2-all draw in their latest meeting May 19, 2012, in Colorado. The teams have tied in each of the last four regular-season matchups.
Graham Zusi and Matt Besler will try to help Sporting KC win this matchup before they head off to join the U.S. national team for a pair of World Cup qualifiers next month. The club is hoping to get Kei Kamara back from a sprained ankle while Bieler is hoping to start after being left out of the lineup in the loss to Chicago.
Bieler, who has a team-best nine goals, has not scored in the last four games.
"As long as I'm on the field, I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to keep battling. I'm not going to give up," he said.
Kansas City midfielder Peterson Joseph is suspended for this game after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last week.