Anthony Hudson - Colorado Rapids - bundled up
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Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 4
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City
9:00 pm ET – March 24, 2018
WATCH: MLS LIVE | MLS LIVE on DAZN

Sporting Kansas City, who have completely flipped their form from a year ago as a team that floods the opponent’s net with goals while leaking them on the other end, head to Commerce City having won back-to-back games. They will take on a Colorado Rapids team that spent its bye week fortifying its attack with the signing of French-born Ivorian striker Yannick Boli following a 2-1 loss at the New England Revolution to open the season.

Colorado Rapids

While Sporting Kansas City will be without forward Daniel Salloi, who will be with the Hungarian U-21 national team, the Rapids are fortunate not to lose any players during the international break. Their New Zealand trio of Kip Colvey, Tommy Smith and Deklan Wynne are not part of the All Whites squad that will take on Canada in Spain on Saturday.

Instead, following a conversation between the former Kiwi coach in Rapids head man Anthony Hudson and the current New Zealand coach Fritz Schmid, it was decided they wouldn’t get called up. Smith and Wynne were part of Hudson’s three-man backline against the Revs on March 10.

One newcomer who could be featured this week is Joe Mason, a TAM acquisition on loan from Wolverhampton in England. Mason was on the 18-man game day roster despite meeting his new teammates the night before for the first time. He watched from the bench as New England fullback Chris Tierney put a deflected free kick into the net in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.

“There were a lot of positives, obviously it’s gutting at the end to lose the way we did,” Mason said. “I think personally, myself, I want to bring goals to the team. That’s what I’m all about. I want to get in the box and score goals. It’s as simple as that really.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Kortne Ford (left MCL sprain)

Projected Starting XI
(3-5-2, right to left)
GK: Tim Howard — Deklan Wynne, Danny Wilson, Tommy Smith — Marlon Hairston, Johan Blomberg, Jack Price, Enzo Martinez, Edgar Castillo — Joe Mason, Dominique Badji

  • Notes: Colorado have 12 touches in the opponent’s box this season, the fewest in the league. No other team has fewer than 33 such touches. … The Rapids are unbeaten in their last four games at home (2W-2D). They have not conceded more than one goal in a match over this span.

Sporting Kansas City  

Peter Vermes has warned the offense was coming and it has with a vengeance. What was once a timid attack has struck for seven goals in a pair of wins after opening the season with a 2-0 home defeat to New York City FC.

In a 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, Graham Zusi produced a golazo, while Felipe Gutierrez scored his third goal in the last two games and Ilie Sanchez opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

“We’ve created good situations and we’ve capitalized on the ones we’ve created,” Vermes said. “I think that’s something we didn’t do last year. Last year, I thought we created a lot of good chances and we just didn’t put them away.”

The defense? That’s been another story, with SKC conceding seven times in the opening three games.

“i think it’s poor decisions,” Vermes said. “We’ve made some very poor decisions on some very routine plays. Obviously that’s not customary for us.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: F - Daniel Salloi
  • Injury Report: OUT: F - Gianluca Busio (eye), D/M - Brad Evans (back)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3 right to left)
GK - Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic — Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Gutierrez — Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, Yohan Croizet

  • Notes: Last weekend, Zusi scored his first goal since the 2016 season. His last goal came on October 23, 2016, also scored at Children’s Mercy Park against San Jose. … Sporting Kansas City won their last away contest 4-3 after going winless in their prior seven, scoring one fewer than they had scored in those seven games (five goals).

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Rapids 23 wins, 80 goals … Sporting 24 wins, 97 goals … Ties 13
  • At Colorado: Rapids 18 wins, 50 goals … Sporting 5 wins, 36 goals … Ties 8
  • Last meeting at Colorado: Colorado Rapids 1, Sporting Kansas City 0 (May 27, 2017)

Referees

Referee: Sorin Stoica
Assistant Referees: Andrew Bigelow, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Ricardo Salazar