Friday is a big day for Group D in the MLS is Back Tournament as the top two teams play each other, and in this one, Sporting KC and Colorado Rapids go head-to-head after both failed to get a result in game one. A win for either team gets them back into the mix for a top two finish heading into their final group game next week. The teams played rather different losses in their openers, so the mental approach for this one will be massive.
Colorado Rapids beat Sporting KC at home 3-2, and the return game in Kansas City resulted in a 1-1 draw. Rapids saw Diego Rublo score in both contests last season and will need something big from him this week. Sporting KC has not beaten Rapids in six games, dating back to April 2017 as the teams drew twice in 2018.
Sporting KC Outlook: Forget Sunday
Sporting KC dominated Minnesota United on Sunday but ultimately lost 2-1 and saw their starting goalie get a red card, which means Tim Melia is suspended for this contest. Khiry Shelton scored in the 43rd minute, and it was still 1-0 when Melia was sent off in the 74th minute.
Richard Sanchez took over, and a Shelton own goal in added time tied the game before Kevin Molino won it for Minnesota five minutes later.
Sporting KC picked up goals from Shelton, Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda this season with wins over Vancouver and Houston. They won those games by a combined 7-1 tally before the COVID break.
Melia allowed just one goal in over 250 minutes on the season with six saves, but the Colorado game will be up to his backup Sanchez.
Sporting KC suffered last season as they missed the playoffs with just 10 wins in 34 games. Felipe Gutierrez led the team with 12 goals while Johnny Russell had nine. Melia started 32 of the 34 games and allowed 60 goals while securing just six clean sheets.
Colorado Rapids Outlook: Find the Offense
Colorado Rapids had a great start to the season before the COVID break, but that didn’t carry over to the tournament as they fell to Real Salt Lake 2-0 Sunday night. RSL scored goals in both haves and took two more shots than Colorado though the possession was rather even. Rapids got things going late with three shots on goal in the final 10 minutes, but they didn’t score.
That great start in February and March included a 2-1 road win at DC. United and a 2-1 home win over Orlando City. Each goal was scored by a different player, with Kei Kamara, Drew Moor, Younes Namli and Jonathan Lewis each getting their names on the scoresheet.
Jack Price provided two assists in those contests to put Colorado atop the Western Conference table.
Last year was the final MLS season for US legend Tim Howard, who retired after 25 starts, so Clint Irwin is now in charge between the pipes.
Colorado finished ninth in the West last year and missed the playoffs. Kamara led the team with 13 goals while Rubio had 11, and Price tallied 10 assists.
Sporting KC/Colorado Rapids Betting Lines
Sporting KC +110 to win
Colorado Rapids +230 to win
Over/Under 3 goals (O -104, U -126)
Sanchez is no stranger to starting MLS games as he got 24 starts with Chicago Fire in 2018, but he did allow over 40 goals in those contests. Sporting KC’s offense has been spectacular this season, and this should be a high-scoring affair with the game free-flowing from the opening kickoff, so betting on the over might be a good bet.
FREE PICK: Sporting KC to win (+110)