Sporting Kansas City have another chance to clinch a playoff berth tomorrow night at Sporting Park as they close out the season with the first of two home games this week. Tomorrow it is the Colorado Rapids that head into Sporting Park in the make up game from May 16th that was postponed due to weather. Sporting is in desperate need of a win at this point, not just for their playoff run, but for their confidence as a whole. Sporting has picked up just eight of the last 30 points available to them heading into this game. The only team with fewer points in their last 10 games is the Chicago Fire, who have picked up just seven of the last 30 available. They'll try to get their playoff berth secured against a Colorado Rapids team already eliminated from the playoff race.
The Rapids come into this game set at the bottom of the Western Conference with 34 points, seven behind ninth place Real Salt Lake. At this point the Rapids are in the role of the spoiler with two games against Western Conference foes who have yet to clinch a playoff berth. Both of those games are on the road, with them traveling to Portland to play on Sunday. The Rapids haven't played since their home finale back on October 10th against the Montreal Impact. Colorado played a few reserves in the game with Zac MacMath and Marlon Hairston making their first appearances of the season. So Colorado's lineup for tomorrow's game will be a big question mark. Do they continue to give some of their younger players more game experience or do they put out more of the regulars?
While KC needs a win to secure a playoff berth, they also need it for a confidence boost. The team's recent troubles late in the season is a big concern for the club heading into the playoffs. And injuries don't seem to have gotten better. While Sporting welcomed back Kevin Ellis and Soni Mustivar to training this week, Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic have both sat out while recovering from injuries they picked up against San Jose. Their absence combined with a return of Ellis and Mustivar could see Amadou Dia or Saad Abdul-Salaam at left back and Erik Palmer-Brown getting another opportunity at center back for KC.
Number to Remember - 3 - That's the number of points that Kansas City needs to clinch a playoff berth this year.
Key Match Up - KC attack vs Colorado defense - Sporting's attack has really struggled during the majority of this slide. They've been shutout in four of their last 10 and scored more than one goal just twice. Heading into the playoffs KC needs their attack to step up. KC's three top scorers, Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber, and Krisztian Nemeth have scored KC's last seven goals. The last goals not scored by one of those three was Graham Zusi and Marcel de Jong in the 3-2 loss against Columbus on August 22nd. But while Colorado hasn't won much, they don't allow many goals, their 39 is fewer than KC has allowed, the sixth lowest in the league, and fewer than all 10 teams in the East have allowed this year. So it's not going to be easy for KC to break them down.
PREDICTION - Even with LA's poor form away from home this is the easier of KC's two final games. The Rapids have nothing but spoiler to play for and while that could almost have more danger, this is a game KC should win. While a loss doesn't end the season for KC it puts a lot more pressure on Sporting to get a result. Better to get the win here, clinch and playoff berth and move from there.
SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Feilhaber)
CO - 0