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Beleagured Rapids lose three more starters to injury

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids got the bad news they expected Monday about three more injured starters, leaving them with suddenly long odds to rally against Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Defenders Kosuke Kimura (fractured left foot) and Drew Moor (separated shoulder) and striker Caleb Folan (sprained left knee and ankle) became three more first-team regulars named to the injury list following the club’s 2-0 defeat Sunday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and all three will miss the series finale on Wednesday at Livestrong Sporting Park.

The trio join midfielders Pablo Mastroeni (concussion) and Jamie Smith (torn ACL), who have also gone down in recent weeks.

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“We won’t go away without a fight,” head coach Gary Smith said. “But there were numerous things that just did not go our way and, sometimes when you get to this point in the competition – last year our name was on the cup, and maybe it’s not this year, and it’s somebody else.”

Kimura’s injury appears to be the worst of the three, as the Japanese right back could be out to up to six weeks with a broken third metatarsal suffered after a sliding tackle by SKC’s Matt Besler. Kimura, who played all but 64 minutes on the Rapids’ backline this season and was a fixture in their run to the MLS Cup last season, left the game in the 36th minute for veteran Tyrone Marshall.

Moor, meanwhile, is expected to miss 2-4 weeks following a shoulder to shoulder challenge from Teal Bunbury late in the first half. Moor grimaced in pain after he fell to the turf, clearly favoring an injury that required a painkilling injection at half but eventually forced him from the game in favor of Scott Palguta in the 59th minute.

Smith described Bunbury’s challenge on Moor as “absolutely ridiculous,” and noted that Moor was clearly handicapped on Bunbury’s first goal in the 49th minute because of his shoulder problem.

Folan lasted just 23 minutes in the loss, subbed out for Macoumba Kandji after he went down with his injury while trying to cut inside from the left flank against Sporting KC defender Aurélien Collin.

“The two injures in the first half bit into us hard,” Smith said. “The moves certainly don’t help us. The strongest group went out there and they were three players light by the end of the game. Because you have to make changes, it makes you weaker.”

With the news confirming the most recent injuries, Smith will now be forced to make several changes for the second leg on Wednesday. In addition to the injured players, Marshall will not make the trip because of the red card he received in the second half on the foul that set up Bunbury’s second goal of the night.

That’s a total of eight first team regulars unable to participate, including three starting defenders.

“It’s a catalog, a catalog of problems,” Smith said. “It’s 2-0 at halftime and anything’s possible, but maybe [SKC] are going to find themselves in the next round and find themselves closer to the Holy Grail.”