Sporting KC has gone from a 7 game winning streak to start the season to a 3 game losing streak. The streak has seen KC go from having sole possession of first place in the East and MLS to being tied for second place in the East and a tie for fifth overall. KC will try to break out of that streak tomorrow when they take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver.
The Rapids are the 3rd straight team that KC is playing on short rest, as Montreal, Chicago, and now Colorado have all played a Wednesday game before their weekend encounter against Kansas City. So far, KC is 0-2 in those encounters. They'll try to break that in the Mile High City. Colorado looked poor against DC on Tuesday, especially in the defensive half. The Rapids are without Marvell Wynne in defense, and Tyrone Marshall filled in for him in defense. They will also be without Omar Cummings who is injured as well. Their target striker, Conor Casey is back though, he got his first start of the season on Wednesday against DC. The question is with Casey coming back from injury if he'll have the fitness to start and be as effective after over an hour on Wednesday.
Kansas City needs to get their act together, while they didn't play great against Portland they didn't play poorly either. But against Montreal and Chicago it's been a little different. Against Montreal, KC got totally outplayed by the expansion side, and against the Fire, KC played a bit better, but they beat themselves with stupid mistakes. One of those mistakes is forcing another lineup change from Peter Vermes as Roger Espinoza is suspended for the game tomorrow. Paulo Nagamura seems the prime candidate to replace Espinoza in the starting 11. The other potential change is that Seth Sinovic could be re-inserted into the starting lineup ahead of Michael Harrington, but Vermes could also play it cautiously with Sinovic as well. There's been talk about starting Teal Bunbury at forward, the question is who he'd replace. Kei Kamara has looked especially poor during the last two games and would seem to be a candidate in need for a break from starting. The other possibility is giving Bobby Convey a break and starting the 3 forwards that played in the playoffs last year for KC in Bunbury, Kamara, and CJ Sapong. I'm not sure that Bunbury will though.
Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Cesar - Nagamura
Kamara - Sapong - Convey
Number to Remember - 3 - KC is undefeated in their last 3 games in Denver, two draws and a win in last year's playoff. KC has only lost two times in Colorado since DSG opened up. Their only win their though came in last year's playoffs when Bunbury scored a brace on the way to a 2-0 win.
Key Match Up - Graham Zusi vs Jeff Larentowicz - Zusi hasn't been as successful in the midfield during the team's losing streak, opposing midfields have been able to neutralize Zusi. He seems to have made it a little worse though by seeming to try to take on too many players and taking one too many touches before getting rid of the ball and losing it instead. With Pablo Mastroeni still suffering from concussion symptoms, Larentowicz will be the main player attempting to shut down Zusi.
PREDICTION - Colorado fans seem as down on their team for this game as most Sporting fans seem to be. Niether fan base seems to have high hopes for their team heading into this game. Teams have figured out KC's high pressure offense it seems, and Colorado is injury plagued at the moment. What KC is going to need to be successful tomorrow is an early goal. If KC can get an early goal as they've been able to do during their 7 game win streak for the most part, they'll be able to get Colorado to attack them more opening the game up for the style of play that KC likes. I'm not sure that'll happen, but I think KC will be able to end their losing streak.
SKC - 1 (Kamara)
COL - 1 (Hill)