COMMERCE CITY CO - JULY 17: Goal keeper Jimmy Nielsen #1 of the Kansas City Wizards collects the ball as teammates Michael Harrington #2 and Kei Kamara #23 along with Omar Cummings #14 and Jeff Larentowicz #4 of the Colorado Rapids look on at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 17 2010 in Commerce City Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Colorado has not lost a game in five straight, and despite most of those games being draws the Rapids are still on what could be called a pretty good run of form, especially after that thriller in New York that ended 2-2 after two great set-piece goals by Jeff Larentowicz. Sporting Kansas City isn't quite as good at the moment form-wise after that never-ending road trip has sapped them and left them almost winless on the season, with only a single win over Chivas on the W column for them. Anyone who has watched SKC this season knows that they have a large amount of talent, but just can't seem to put it all together when it counts on their road games.
What's all this mean? This game is the very definition of a trap game, and the Rapids had better be wary of the threat.
Sporting KC have a very, very good offense with names like young US International player Teal Bunbury and rookie CJ Sapong striking fear into the hearts of opposing defenders. Indeed, Kansas have plenty of talent all over the pitch and should almost certainly have a better record than they do. Goalkeeper Jimmy Neilsen has played well enough to steal a few games this season but has always had bad luck or an ineffective offense snatch wins away from him. The 3-3 draw in Vancouver against the Whitecaps where the Caps scored the last two goals for the draw in stoppage time is probably the best example of that this season.
Colorado is likely to run the same formation that we saw against the Red Bulls with Jamie Smith likely to miss this game, an offensively minded 4-1-4-1 formation featuring Pablo Mastroeni as the lone defensive midfielder. Conor Casey is likely to be match fit as well after three first team appearances after recovering from his hamstring injury and after missing the start against New York, so he may get the start as the lone striker up top. This is a Kansas City team that doesn't have a particularly great defense and if the Rapids run a 4-1-4-1 they should get tons of chances out of it and with their finishing suddenly turning into goals again this could be a breakout performance at home.
Or it could be another disappointing summer match that the Rapids let slip away.
UZ'S PREDICTION: 3-0 Rapids