Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City - Three Keys To The Game

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MAY 28: Tyrone Marshall #34 of the Colorado Rapids and C.J. Sapong #17 of the Sporting KC battle for control of the ball at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on May 28, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It's going to be a whirlwind of a month, as the Rapids face their shortest rest between games of the season with only two full days off between games. Sporting Kansas City are a tough cookie to crack at their new home and they've shown that every game that they've played there this season.

It's a tall order to expect the ice cold Rapids to go in there and take away anything from this one, but here's three things that will help the cause.

Keep The Defense From Before - The previous game the Rapids used a new looking defense that featured Drew Moor at left back along with Tyrone Marshall and Marvell Wynne in the middle of the field. The defense worked fantastically against a Houston offense that is no slouch, holding them to only three shots on the day with none of them getting even close to finding Matt Pickens. With the left back spot seemingly a black hole this season since Gary Smith steadfastly refuses to play Anthony Wallace, the group we saw against Houston is clearly the best option that we have on defense right now. Hopefully he'll stick to his guns and keep that group out there, or at the very least use the usual defense from the opener this year that featured Wallace-Moor-Wynne- Kimura.

Keep Eleven Out - Three games in a row with a Red Card is an anomaly, but the Rapids have been playing with a little too much desperation lately in their 0-2-1 stretch and it's led to frustration and three red cards - all to strikers, of all people - in a row. Missing Quincy Amarikwa might actually be addition by subtraction, but there's no way that the Rapids will be winning or even drawing this one in LIVESTRONG Sporting Park if they only have 10 men out on the field for any part of this match. Seems like an obvious thing to say, but then again after those last three games nothing seems to obvious to mention.

Just Shoot! - Part of the problem with the Rapids offense this season has been a lack of shots. They've been getting into the area of the net and choosing to pass, just taking bad decision shots from too far away that don't do anything, or choosing to go wide and go for a cross instead of just taking initiative. Pretty much everyone on the offense except for Conor Casey has been guilty of all of these things at times this year. To score, you have to shoot and shoot well; it got a lot better against Houston as the Rapids let loose 17 shots with seven of them on net but it's going to take a bit more confidence in the shooting to get a few of them to rattle the netting inside those posts.

Facing a great goalkeeper like Jimmy Nielsen makes it even more important that they get as many shots off as they possibly can. KC's powerful offense - featuring guys like rookie wonder CJ Sapong, Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury et. al. - might mean that this game will turn into a shootout and with Conor Casey and Omar Cummings it's a shootout that the Rapids do indeed have a chance to win if the offensive confidence stays at the high level that we saw through the first couple of games this season.

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