Sporting Kansas City-Rapids Preview
Sporting Kansas City is trying its best to put a positive spin on a three-game losing streak that has followed a franchise-best start.
It's been a long time since it has experienced a defeat against the Colorado Rapids.
Visiting Kansas City looks to extend its seven-match unbeaten streak against Colorado when the teams meet Saturday night.
Sporting KC (7-3-0) saw its current funk continue with a 2-1 loss at Chicago last Saturday. The club gave up two goals during its 7-0 start but has allowed five in the three games since.
"We just have to be careful not to get frustrated," goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen told the team's official website. "It's painful to lose three games in a row, but we're not the first team to lose three games. We just have to get back on track, do what we're good at, play with full discipline for 90 minutes. We all know we're a strong team if we do all that."
Despite the skid, Kansas City is one point behind first-place New York.
"If someone gave us a contract in preseason that we were going to win the first seven out of 10 and have 21 points, I think we all would have signed it," defender Matt Besler said. "We're in a good spot. We're right in the thick of things."
Sporting KC could also be in good position to end its losing streak Saturday. The club has gone 3-0-4 in its last seven against Colorado dating to March 28, 2009.
The teams played to 1-all draws in two regular-season meetings last year before Sporting KC earned a pair of 2-0 victories in the two-game playoff series Oct. 30 and Nov. 2.
Conor Casey scored both of the Rapids' goals against Kansas City in 2011, but tore his left Achilles' on July 16. He made his return Wednesday in a 2-0 loss to D.C. after missing 27 MLS games.
"Physically, it's all positive. The minutes were good. I didn't feel too bad at the end, so that's good," Casey told the team's official website. "I'm really excited about that and getting back in the swing of it. Obviously the game didn't go very well for us, but other than that, physically I feel good. I'm happy with the progress."
Colorado (5-6-0) has dropped five of seven and should be looking forward to playing five of its next six at home, where it's 3-1-0 while outscoring opponents 9-2.
"With where we're at in the season, we've got to be able to adapt quickly because we can't keep dropping points," Casey said.
Sporting KC won its first three road games but has dropped two matches away from home during its skid. Prior to those defeats, Kansas City had gone 7-1-5 in its previous 13 on the road.
"Whether we've won seven games in a row, or whether we've lost three in a row, we're getting ready with the same passion, the same work ethic as we were on the first one," coach Peter Vermes said. "It's the way we go about our business."