Preview: Depleted Rapids look to stage comeback vs. SKC
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: David Gantar
INJURY REPORT: SPORTING KANSAS CITY -- OUT: DF Daneil Cyrus (L foot fracture); MF Luke Sassano (R knee sprain); MF Peterson Joseph (R knee surgery); MF Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery) ... COLORADO RAPIDS -- OUT: FW Conor Casey (L Achilles tear); MF Jamie Smith (R knee ACL tear); DF Anthony Wallace (R knee arthroscopic surgery); DF Kosuke Kimura (L foot fracture); DF Drew Moor (R shoulder AC joint sprain); FW Caleb Folan (L ankle /L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Pablo Mastroeni (concussion)
SUSPENDED: COL: Tyrone Marshall (through Nov. 3)
WARNINGS (suspended next yellow): KC: Teal Bunbury ... COL: Sanna Nyassi
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: KC 20 wins (1 SO), 82 GF ... COL 17 wins (3 SO), 64 GF ... Ties 11
2011 HEAD-TO-HEAD: COL 0 wins, 2 GF ... KC 0 wins, 2 GF ... 2 ties
AT LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK: 7/6: KC 1, COL 1 (Zusi 62 -- Casey 32)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: KC 4 wins, 11 GF ... COL 2 wins, 9 GF ... 2 ties
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
- Kansas City won a game in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in five games. It was the first time since 2004 they had scored more than one goal in a postseason contest.
- "It puts you in a good position," said SKC manager Peter Vermes. "The key was to get out of here with a result. We got a shutout, but we go home thinking it's 0-0 and we've got to play again. They got rewarded for their discipline, tactically. The game plan was good and the guys executed it very well. We've got to do that again [Wednesday]."
- Including the final two games of the regular season, Sporting Kansas City have now not allowed a goal in three games. They have a 275-minute shutout streak active.
- "We had a plan before the game. We stuck to the plan the whole game," said goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. "When the first players do their job, it makes it easy for the midfield. When the midfield does their job, it makes it easy for the defenders. At the end of the day, I had nothing to do today. It was fantastic."
- Teal Bunbury became the third player in KC club history to score two goals in a playoff game, the first since Davy Arnaud in 2004. "Teal [Bunbury] is a very strong guy. When he plays shoulder to shoulder with some guys, he can easily dominate in that area," Vermes said. "He holds players off the ball very well. Once he gets a little step by you, with his explosiveness, he can get by you. He showed that."
- Omar Bravo was a late scratch from the starting lineup after suffering tightness in his groin. Bravo had missed just two league games since late May after sitting out five games following sports hernia surgery. "It was better to give him some him rest and get him ready for the next game as opposed to trying to put him out there, he hurts himself and then he's out four to six weeks and he's done for the rest of the year," Vermes said.
- Sporting return home knowing they will host the Eastern Conference championship with a win.
- "There's a second game still. It's not over at all. Yeah, we won this game, but Colorado's a very good team. They've been this position before. They've played in playoff games. We're going to be at home. Yes, we'll have an advantage, but we have to stay mentally prepared," said Bunbury.
- The Rapids will be severely shorthanded coming into Wednesday's second leg. "I'm not sure that the team could have endured many more circumstances than they did. And I've got to say I'm proud of how they came out of the game," said Rapids head coach Gary Smith. "They threw absolutely everything they had at it physically. ... But there's a little bit of life to it, and we'd certainly like to put them under a little bit of pressure and score nice and early down in Kansas."
- Striker Caleb Folan suffered a sprained left ankle and left knee in a tackle early in the game, and will be out 2-4 weeks. The situation is much more dire on the backline. Right back Kosuke Kimura suffered a fracture in his left foot and will miss 4-6 weeks. Center back Drew Moor suffered a separated shoulder in the second half and will be out 2-4 weeks.
- "It's a bit of a strange one that we have as many injuries as we have and then three guys get carried off in a game," said Gary Smith. "I'm not going to say that they were over the top, but I did feel as though the referee could have contained some of the situations a little bit better."
- The Rapids will also of course be without veteran center back Tyrone Marshall after he was sent off just before the second SKC goal.
- The injuries also followed a wild card game when Jamie Smith suffered a torn ACL in his right knee that will put him out of the playoffs, and Pablo Mastroeni missed a second consecutive postseason game with a concussion.
- "I think he's going to be a doubt again for Wednesday," Gary Smith said of Mastroeni. "He's certainly not making enough progress to be a body coming back into the group."
- In 2006, Colorado's last postseason appearance before last year, they lost 2-1 to Dallas at home before winning the second leg 3-2.
- "We have to produce two goals -- that's our task," said midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. "I think that (Sunday) we allowed them to score and it was unlike us in the last couple of games to allow goals like that. The circumstances became pretty tough when we make substitutions for players that get injured and that's going to change the game."