The Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City take the the pitch for the third and final time in 2015 and there is quite a bit on the line. For Sporting, a win means they clinch a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs and for the Rapids, it is all about pride now.
I exchanged questions with Cody over at The Blue Testament about this one, and here is what we chatted about:
Burgundy Wave: So the playoffs. SKC is not actually going miss are they?
The Blue Testament: It is technically possible, but highly unlikely. On the other end of the spectrum, they can finish with the 2 seed. They are a point ahead of San Jose with a game in hand. However, the game on the weekend is going to be a tough one. If Sporting KC mess around and settle for a draw Wednesday then they may be forced to get a result out of the Galaxy match to even make the playoffs. However even if they only muster a point out of the two games AND San Jose beats FC Dallas (trying to win the Shield), if Seattle loses to RSL then the Sounders are out. All that matters is if they win both games then they jump up to 2nd place. This league is crazy!
But Vermes is getting his guys back and healthy and they'll be at home in The Blue Hell to wrap up the season. They're in a good spot and I think that 2 Seed is theirs for the taking!
BW: Speaking of the playoffs, I am trying to figure Sporting out. At times they look like they are the best team in MLS, but other times they lose to teams like the Rapids. What is going on?
TBT: This club went through a stretch that was very frustrating. It was a perfect storm of a number of different problems, but the biggest factor was Sporting had just lost Roger Espinoza and Soni Mustivar from the midfield at the same time. They are both unsung heroes most of the time but everyone truly recognized their importance on the field when they were gone. That is what I'll blame the loss on last time around. And don't think I will forget that on the 2nd goal the ref missed no less than three calls including a blatant handball. :)
But really though, we know this team can beat anyone when they are clicking. And now long term injury guys like Ike Opara and Espinoza are coming back. If Vermes can get close to his preferred lineup this team can make a run at the Cup.
BW: Sporting is 9-1-5 this year at Sporting Park. Is there any hope that the Rapids can pull off a shock upset and take the Midwestia Championship?
TBT: The Midwestia Championship... HA I forgot about that!
One problem it seems like this team has dealt with the past couple seasons is playing to the level of their opponent. They can throw out a reserve squad and hang around against the best teams and even pull out results, but then the preferred 11 can struggle to put games away against weaker opponents. So yes of course there is always a chance!
But it does looks like Ellis, Mustivar and Besler will be back in action. At full strength (as close as they ever get at least) and at home, these guys are going to be ready to take care of business.
(4-3-3) Tim Melia, Chance Myers, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Soni Mustivar, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth, Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Sporting Kansas City 3:0 Colorado Rapids
You can see my answers to Cody's questions over at The Blue Testament